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My question is in regards to the following sentence and has two parts:

Bitcoin is a clever solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem[2], which describes the issue of trusting data transmitted over a network where there exists the danger of faulty or dishonest broadcasting nodes.

  1. Is this comma necessary? It's hard for me to tell whether or not I am using a comma correctly in this sentence. Removing the comma makes it seem like a run-on sentence, but I can't tell for sure.
  2. The word "which" seems unprofessional / awkward, is there a better way to reword this entirely without having a comma and without using the word "which"?
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    Fine as it stands. The comma is necessary; without it, the which-clause switches meaning to 'that particular BGP describing the issue ...'. You could also put the whole clause in brackets, a parenthesis giving an explanation (or arguably an appositive). Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 7:30
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    The only thing I would add is that I think I would put the citation reference at the end of the sentence. Placed mid-sentence I think they tend to distract the reader.
    – WS2
    Commented Apr 6, 2014 at 7:38

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The comma is necessary; without it, the "which" clause changes its meaning to 'that particular Problem (out of several) that describes the issue ...'. You could also put the whole clause in brackets, a parenthesis giving an explanation. [Paraphrasing Edwin Ashworth.]

The comma serves to say: "I'm now going to add extra information", such as in the second sentence in the previous paragraph (and this one for that matter).

The lack of a comma serves to say: "I'm going to add qualifying information (to narrow things down)."

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