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I understand that you need to cite a notable source for the claim you wish to have verified/falsified, but if you can cite a notable source, isn't that enough to have found the answer to your verification/falsification issue?

For example (just using this because it was the last question I was looking at), from Was Australian colonisation started as a penal colony?, the asker includes three sources:

As I see it, those links either establish the answer to the original question, or the asker doubts the reliability of the sources used to establish the claim.

Is an asker allowed to use what the asker necessarily admits as unreliable sources to establish notability?

Could an answerer who does trust the reliability of the sources of the claim simply point the asker back at the sources they used to establish the claim and say "that source was reliable; the claim is true"? This seems not very useful to the asker, but I could imagine a question where a claim (for example, "the pacific salmon population is increasing") is supported in the question by a few notable and reliable sources (for example, the Globe and Mail, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and a peer-reviewed article).

  • I found a question that is related to but doesn't quite answer my question: meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1406/…. One answer says that no matter how reliable the original sources (scientific consensus, even), there is no burden on the asker to show a notable reason for their doubt. The other answer said that if the reliability of the original sources reaches that of scientific consensus, a burden does exist on the asker to show reason for doubt. – user5582 Apr 6 '13 at 17:13
  • Can you explain how that does not answer your question? Case in point, there are tons of notable sources of claims that are simply bogus. Clearly those do not answer the question. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 6 '13 at 18:00
  • It doesn't answer this part: "Could an answerer who does trust the reliability of the sources of the claim simply point the asker back at the sources they used to establish the claim and say "that source was reliable; the claim is true"?" – user5582 Apr 6 '13 at 18:10
  • Ah, alright then. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 6 '13 at 18:12
  • Also, your point that "there are tons of notable sources of claims that are simply bogus." does help answer my question. I didn't know we accept "bogus sources" as notable sources. It's clearer now that skeptics.SE notion of notability is different from Wikipedia's (which I'm used to). Wikipedia rolls reliability into notability. For something to be notable there, it needs to have a reliable third-party source. Anyway, this discussion was helpful. – user5582 Apr 6 '13 at 18:14
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Could an answerer who does trust the reliability of the sources of the claim simply point the asker back at the sources they used to establish the claim and say "that source was reliable; the claim is true

Yes, that does happen. In particular, some questions doubt newly published peer-reviewed research. At this point there’s essentially nothing anybody could respond, unless said paper has clear and obvious flaws (such as the recent Séralini paper) – short of doing their own research and getting it published in peer reviewed journal.

In other cases it’s a judgement call: not all phenomena are covered by properly published research, or are a matter of public record. Is it enough that major newspapers report on it? Maybe.

In this context it’s worth nothing that we have different standards for notable resources (actually reliable) in answers: a quote from the “Daily Mail” (or “Fox News”, for the American audience) is an acceptable notable source in a question – it is not a reliable resource for an answer (of course the same is true for other media but these two cases are particularly egregious).

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