I based a question on what I considered to be an implicit claim. What's more my question was based on a widespread assumption.

In a discussion with Sklivvz in chat, he stated that a claim cannot be implicit.

This seems silly to me as implicit claims are something that are dealt with in many philosophy and critical thinking classes in universities around the world,in various books on logic and reasoning and in many other sources.

Put simply, an implicit claim would be a claim an argument relies on but is never explicitly stated.

(Of course now that I have shown claim being made that claims can be implicit I guess I could ask the question on the site itself).

I found this page pretty quickly which gives a good example.

Should an implicit claim then be enough grounds to ask a question on this site, or do all claims need to be explicitly made or stated?

  • 1
    I'm closing this as off-topic. It's more a debate about semantics than s debate about site policy, as evidenced by the fact that this answer is considered on-topic. Feel free to reopen another conversation about how much of a claim should be left to interpretation.
    – Borror0
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 19:07

4 Answers 4


Sklivvz was pretty clear about what he said:

a claim is explicit by definition

Another, more common, phase for what you call an implicit claim is an assumption.

To answer your question: yes, assumptions can be questioned on this site but it has to be claim such an assumption was made in the first place. The fact that it isn't clear that such an assumption was made is why your question isn't reopened.

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    To be clearer: it can't be the OP making the assumption.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Dec 25, 2011 at 11:30

I think we should be pretty liberal about the questions we accept. There have been questions that were common beliefs in some areas and not in others. A question about a general truth(Do closed doors keep out moths) should be able to be gleaned from an implication.

Certainly the answer is fairly simple and it can provide an opportunity for people to get involved which helps build the community. Sure its a softball but it feels good to knock one out of the park once in a while. Leave these questions for new people to cut their teeth on. It would be good practice for someone wanting to get involved in the community to research and make a good answer.

We can keep questions about the age of the earth being ~6k off the site with votes for not constructive.

  • Does anyone actually stand up and say "I think that moths are kept out by closet doors"? If so, then the question is acceptable. If not, then why bother?
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Dec 17, 2011 at 9:14
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    @Sklivvz - But what does it really hurt either. But I see no down side to allowing it. (Moved part of my comment to amend my answer)
    – Chad
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 15:03
  • The point would be that non-notable questions fall in the "What if" group of questions which are banned by any SE FAQ.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 17:22
  • 2
    How is "are moths are kept out by closed closet doors?" a what if question? There is no subjectivity in what is being asked. Closets already have doors. Moths have been a problem for as long as we have made clothes out of spun fiber. I Think the question needs to be is there Harm that comes from the question being here?
    – Chad
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 17:29
  • "What if someone stated that closed doors would keep moths out?"
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 17:36
  • @Sklivvz - I miss your point i guess. No one asked that question. I would reword that question if it were asked or vote it closed becuase yes it is expicitly what if. but that has nothing that I can see to do with the real post about closet doors keeping moths out. You are just creating a straw man to burn down.
    – Chad
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 17:31
  • "You are just creating a straw man to burn down." A straw man is knocked down, not burned down. Wikipedia says, "The typical straw man argument creates the illusion of having refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition through the covert replacement of it with a different proposition (i.e., "stand up a straw man") and the subsequent refutation of that false argument ("knock down a straw man") instead of the opponent's proposition." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man Commented Sep 9, 2023 at 14:16

The page you link basically repeats my point:

  1. Claims presented in the page are only explicit.
  2. Only "reasons" in the page can be implicit.

But let's forget about the word claim for a moment. What kind of "stuff" do we want here? Explicit or also implicit?

The problem with implicit stuff (claims, or "reasons") is clearly stated in the page you link:

The hardest part of this process is usually identifying the Implicit Reasons for the simple reason that these are often, as the name implies, not actually stated in the argument itself; they are only implied (implicit = implied = assumed but often unstated).

So if we want to avoid troll questions like "Did the Big Bang happen 6,000 years ago? Creationists say the universe is 6k yr old, however that implies that the Big Bang happened 6,000 years ago." we need to ban implicit assumptions.

So—find a notable site that actually makes the "implicit" claim explicit and you'll be alright—but if you can't present anybody making that claim, then sorry, we will assume your identification of the Implict Reasons is not correct.

Another way to see this: how can a claim be notable if it's only implicit? Literally, there is exactly zero people promoting that point of view explicitly. So, by definition, the (implicit) claim is not notable.


I asked this question on the English SE site:

Does a claim have to be explicit?

in case anyone may be interested. The answers seem to indicate that a claim can be implicit.

If we accept that as the case, then I think implicit claims should be allowed.As long as a sufficient amount of people reach the same conclusion then I don't see a problem.

The goal of this site is in part to seek knowledge. The more questions and answers we allow can help to meet that goal.

Broadening the scope of what constitutes an allowed question does not mean we have to sacrifice quality control.

  • I've "asked" this question to the Oxford Dictionary: "to claim: to state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof" -- So a claim must be stated or asserted. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/claim?q=claim
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 19:26
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    @Sklivvz, your interpretation is incorrect. As the answers on the English SE explain there is nothing in the definiton that prevents a claim from being implicit. The use of "implicit claim" has been around for centuries. You may not like it, but there it is. What's more, it's hardly a skeptical attitude to ignore evidence that you disagree with. That's confirmation bias. Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 20:19

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