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If this is a duplicate, let me know but I looked around Meta and couldn't quite find this exact question.

When I first dropped into this site, I was unsure of what it was. Then I started reading some questions and thought, "Neat, I'm learning some interesting stuff about some things I'd wondered about."

But after a while I began to wonder if a fair amount of questions weren't really the kinds of things you'd ask on Snopes. I have found some other well written posts on how Snopes is a possible resource for many of the users here and also some discussions on the validity of urban legends topics on the site.

I'm concerned mainly about the fact that Skeptics could prove to feature lots of duplication with Snopes, though the FAQ seems to indicate that Skeptics is both more open and is supposed to be less about urban legends than really any kind of commonly accepted truth that can be challenged. Is this correct?

  • Hopefully our more open and reviewable system can help prevent things like the eight spiders story - in which it seems that the key basis for Snopes' conclusion is an article that noone can verify was ever written, in a magazine that may or may not have ever been published, by an author whose entire corpus of work has dropped out of existence in less than 20 years. – Joel Rein Feb 2 '12 at 17:27
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I'm concerned mainly about the fact that Skeptics could prove to feature lots of duplication with Snopes

This is true. There is one essential (the essential) difference, though:

Skeptics is a forum, in that the community asks and answers questions. By contrast, Snopes is edited by a few select people.

Furthermore, answers on Skeptics are voted on by the community, and the community decides which is the best answer to a given question.

In this way, Skeptics is much more democratic than Snopes, and above all it relies on community work.

Oh, and the website is far more usable than Snopes. Non-selectable, non-copyable content? Opening in-site links in a new window? Ugh. Snopes.com is the epitome of an ugly 90’s website.

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    TL;DR: Snopes is web 1.0 whereas Skeptics is web 2.0. – Borror0 Jul 19 '11 at 16:15
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    We also require references. Snopes editors can write whatever they want and get away with it, whereas we can openly question people to back things up with sources and appropriate quotes from those sources. – John Lyon May 2 '12 at 23:34
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    @jozzas They also strive to provide notable references on everything. And – like us – they occasionally fail. We have the big advantage that a whole community actively searches for mistakes in other posts. More eyes spot more errors. – Konrad Rudolph May 2 '12 at 23:42
  • @Konrad agree, but the "8 spiders" example is particularly telling. Snopes do not answer emails asking for clarification, and in that particular instance it appears that their answer is flat out wrong. Whether or not that's deliberate I don't know, but I'd like to think in a lot of cases answers here are more rigorously checked, and if they're wrong people can at least comment saying so. – John Lyon May 2 '12 at 23:50
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I'm concerned mainly about the fact that Skeptics could prove to feature lots of duplication with Snopes

There nothing bad about replication. It's good when people who want to inform themselves about an issue have multiple sources of information.

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Given how much nonsense is readily available on the internet, I'm sure that it helps out "reality" to have more pages out there that take a critical eye to amny claims. Trying to have just one source of information for a topic would make it hard to find.

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