In Was there ever a cannibalistic butcher/meat pie/restaurant... shop?, I tried to ask a question regarding a topic that did not seem to have any factual basis but just because it was a possible action that could be perpetrated by a human, would make one wonder wether it had ever benn commited for real.

My question is such things that are not like cryptic or alien sighting claims where the subject without some visual/physical/official verifyable evidence is worth an iota of brain cycles, but is something that is like a lingering shadow based in rumors in too many non neighbouring cultures, in posession of some archetypical idea that is althoug highly improbable but yet possible, should be discussed on this forum?

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  • As I pointed out in the coments to your question, that was a decent question IMO, as people (and a book) do actually claim Sweeney Todd existed as a real murderer (i.e. it was notable). You could take the link from my comment (the crime library one) and put it into your question to make it clear it is a notable claim. – NotJarvis Jul 29 '11 at 8:09
  • @NotJarvis : Thank you, But I was hoping that just like math.exchange people be able to edit my posts for the better, if that is possible it would be greate, otherwise many improvements will remain buried in comments. – jimjim Jul 29 '11 at 8:46

No, questions certainly do not need to be about paranormal claims.

However, we expect questions to include notable claims.

Typically, we ask for references for that. We don't expect the sources to be scientifically valid, but to demonstrate either a lot of people have heard of the claim, or that some notable person(s) make it.

There are several reasons for this:

  • If a volunteer is going to go to the effort of researching a question, they generally want to know it isn't just an idle thought someone had in a bar, and has already forgotten about. We want this site to have definitive answers to doubtful claim that others might be interested in and search for.

  • If the site has a goal of (at least slightly) reducing the number of claims out there without evidence, we don't want to reward people with reputation points for making up more of them on the spot.

In the case of your question, I arrived too late to take action, but I have never heard such rumours, and from the way it was originally worded, it made it look like it was just some idle speculation on your part, instead of a claim you had heard. You can address that by editing the question to include some reference to (non-fictional) web-site, book, newspaper or documentary making the claim (or at least showing that other people actually believe it.)

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I think it’s perfectly on topic, given that notable references to this rumour exist. The problem with rumours in general is notability: if only you and your close friends have ever heard of a particular rumour, this site is not a fit place to discuss it.

But since Sweeney Todd (and similar stories) are circulated widely as urban legends, I see no reason why it should be any more amiss here than UFO sightings, telepathy or homeopathy.

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