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In my answer to Are Americans more likely to be monolingual, I cited a reliable source (a Gallop poll that directly measured multilingualism) to provide the statistics being asked for regarding Americans. Another answer had already cited the statistics for Europe, so I didn't include those. Yet, my answer was deleted as "Not answering the question" because it didn't directly include a comparison to other countries. That seems like a bit of an overreach. At the very most, a comment asking to specifically include a comparison seems like it would have been a more appropriate approach, though even that seems pedantic at best. Should answers really be deleted simply for failing to replicate information that has already been given in another answer, even when they provide relevant, reliable information to compare with information in answers already given? Specifically, when that information DOES help answer the question?

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Answers don't only need to help answer the question. They need to actually answer the question.

While the answer is deleted, you can edit it to include the full comparison and then flag for undeletion.

Alternatively, you could suggest an edit to another answer to include the additional data you found.

Each answer is judged on its own apart from any other answer.

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    Hmm... I guess skeptics is much more pedantic about that than most of the other SE sites, then. Most cites would, at most, comment on it, but, at least from my years of observation, it seems to be generally understood on most SE sites that you don't just delete an answer unless it's irrelevant to answering the question or very low quality. I don't think a suggested edit would have been appropriate in this case because it would have greatly modified the meaning of the other answer... completely reversing some of its assertions. – reirab Aug 29 '14 at 15:47
  • On SO, as well as most other SE sites that I've used, there seems to be an understanding that it's not particularly helpful to re-answer portions of the question that have already been answered. At any rate, I just added a new answer that included a citation to statistics for Europe. – reirab Aug 29 '14 at 15:50
  • Yes, skeptics.se is different. – user5582 Aug 29 '14 at 15:52
  • whoops, just noticed a type-o in my comment. I meant "most sites," not "most cites." Thanks for the link. – reirab Aug 29 '14 at 16:13
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Your answer must be supported by references, but you only provided a link about the US in your first paragraph

While we might debate whether you need to repeat the information present in the other answer, in the first paragraph you only speak about the US data, without comparing it at all to the rest of the world.

The rest if the answer, most of if, is about why the claim might be true, and it has no references.

As it stands, the answer does not attempt to answer the question, but it simply elaborates on the claim.

Unreferenced answers are normally marked as such while we give time to the authors to add in support. Your post, unfortunately, was not merely not referenced enough, but was not answering the question.

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  • I didn't include references in the remainder of the post because the things I was pointing out were common knowledge. Even in academic papers, we wouldn't usually cite a reference for something like "Texas is larger than any Western European nation" or "all 50 states speak English as their native language." Those are the kinds of things that it can be reasonably assumed that readers already know or, if they don't, they can verify it with 3 seconds and Google. If you do want a source for such common knowledge, though, I would think that a comment requesting it is more appropriate than deletion. – reirab Aug 29 '14 at 20:23
  • Please read my answer accurately. The reason for deletion is that you are not addressing the question. Whether you need sources is another matter, but in any case it's irrelevant since you are openly speculating, I wouldn't know what you need to reference since it seems guesswork to me. – Sklivvz Aug 29 '14 at 20:25
  • As for answering the question, the link in the first paragraph alone did more to answer the question than any answer up to that point had done. Thus, simply deleting it seemed harsh at best. Again, if you wanted the comparison, you could have just asked. I didn't originally include the numbers for Europe because they had already been posted and posting them again seemed redundant. At any rate, I've included both in my current answer. – reirab Aug 29 '14 at 20:27
  • And I read your answer accurately the first time. I just had to separate my response into two comments due to the length restrictions on comments. – reirab Aug 29 '14 at 20:30
  • Gotcha. Your current answer is very good, thanks (you could have also edited the deleted one and flagged). – Sklivvz Aug 29 '14 at 20:32

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