Shortly after Sustainability went into public beta, I asked on its Meta Do we want sustainability to be an evidence based stack exchange site? based on the references policy I'd seen work so well here.

We rapidly reached the consensus that while we might want to require all claims to be referenced eventually, for the moment we were happier without the more strict standard, in the hope that this might encourage participation in the site.

This got me wondering how Skeptics came to have this standard and when it was introduced. Was it here from the start? Was it introduced later, if so when? Is there anything Sustainability can learn from the experience of Skeptics having already created what I consider to be an evidence based stack exchange? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot hoping that we can introduce this rule later if we don't enforce it from the beginning?

Note, that Sustainability doesn't even have protem moderators yet, but I'm trying to think ahead for when we do.

1 Answer 1


Skeptics had this from the very beginning - i.e. private beta. The relevant question is here and as you can see it has an Id of 5 (!).

That was the basic idea. All other policies surrounding it, i.e. how to actually enforce this agreement and what constitutes a valid reference, etc., these were all discussed at length during beta.

I think that we've been lucky enough to have a core of 10/15 people that understood the policy to perfection and set the gold standard initially - once you have that core set of people I think the site can work and attract similarly minded experts.

It would have been very hard to enforce such a policy afterwards because of the sheer amount of unreferenced answers standing as broken windows.

  • Thanks @Sklivvz, I thought that might be the case. If you have the time to pop over to my Sustainability meta question and help us understand why sooner might be better than later, then I think we would benefit from it, even if it's not what people want to hear.
    – Mark Booth
    Mar 11, 2013 at 13:05

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