So apparently this site has some strict rules about answers. As best I can tell they are something like some of these lines:

  • Answers must include references.
  • Answers must include citations.
  • Citations and references must be to credible* sources.
  • Answers may not include research*.
  • Answers may not use logic or deduction.
  • Answers must be essentially nothing but a collection of citations with just enough text written by the author to make a coherent whole.
  • Answers must at least be related to the topic.
  • Answers must answer the question at least partially.
  • Answers must answer the question fully.
  • The rules are the same as on Wikipedia.
  • Answers that are complete gunk are deleted by moderators.
  • Answers that are wrong* are deleted by moderators.
  • Answers that to some unspecified degree break the above rules are deleted by moderators.
  • Answers that aren't perfect* are deleted by moderators.

The problem is, I can't find any such rules on the site. Various meta topics hint at some of these rules, but none of them spell them out in detail.

The closest I have so far is FAQ: Welcome to New Users

The biggest surprise to new users is our insistence on references in the answers. Many forums will appear to simply accept at face-value the word of a random internet denizen. Here, we expect to be able to independently check what you are saying — that is a key aspect of being a skeptic — as we want to chase down the evidence, rather than relying on authority or personal expertise. You should expect that people will actually follow up and check your references say what you claim they say.

That means anecdotes, personal stories and testimonials are to be avoided. Answers that rely on logic need some evidence that the premises/assumptions are valid. Ideally, we would like to see links to peer-reviewed empirically-based evidence. This makes writing an answer much harder, but the good answers are appreciated much more.

This page doesn't even use the word 'rules', the citation use informal language and largely look like a quick summary of the rules I can't find.

There is a further link to FAQ: Must all answers be referenced? which has two contradicting answers, one is accepted (id: 522), one is upvoted more (id: 692). The upvoted answer clearly marks itself as a suggestion. The accepted answer doesn't, but it is written informally. The first part of the accepted answer is about stealing the rules about No Original Research from Wikipedia, whether that means those exact rules also apply on this site, or they are merely a source of inspiration, is unclear. The answer thereafter seems to conflict with itself by citing a part of the FAQ (a citation which I am by the way unable to find in the alleged source): It's for researching the evidence behind the claims you hear or read. Followed shortly thereafter by the following claim: The community needs to enforce the idea of no original research to encourage healthy voting. The thing is apparently an edited slurry, the original is a bit more coherent in scope, but the reason for comparing the FAQ citation with Wikipedia rules seem quite unsubstantiated, I certainly can't find the "same idea" in these two citations:

From https://skeptics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/343 rev 1:

Nutshell http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Nutshell.png This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia does not publish original thought: all material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Articles may not contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources.

The very purpose of this site as defined by the FAQ contains nearly exactly the same idea (my emphasis):

Skeptics - Stack Exchange is for skeptics, rationalists, free thinkers, or anyone who questions pseudoscience. Skeptics is about applying skepticism — it's for researching the evidence behind the claims you hear or read.

Are there any proper written rules concerning the strict moderation of answers?

If so, where can I find them?

If not, why?

I emphasise that this is not a request for the rules as per the memory of some moderator. Neither is it a request for a general pointer like "read the FAQ". I expect any reference to any rule to come with a URL and a citation of the relevant phrase or phrases.

I also emphasise that this thread is not for discussing the rules, it is solely for establishing what and where they currently are.

*The contextual definition of these words is unknown.

  • Your question seems to be, what rules if broken will result in an answer being deleted? A related question is the opposite, i.e. FAQ: What makes an answer good on Skeptics.SE?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 21:00
  • The policies of this site have developed over time, and there is a huge difference between the start of the beta and now in the actual rules. Older meta posts might not be representative of the current rules.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 8:29
  • @Fabian That is good to know. But it doesn't exactly make rules archaeology easy to know that old posts might not be representative. Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 8:36
  • @ChrisW Why did you delete your answer? Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 19:33
  • Because I think you're mostly asking about "when/why are answers deleted" and I don't think I have a good answer to that question.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 9:25
  • @ChrisW The answer you provided is incomplete and somewhat circular, as is this list of rules. The FAQs also have "rules" about what makes for a good question, which aren't included in this list or on that page.
    – user70848
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 20:30


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