Several 'top' users of this site are fond of commenting: "Please provide some references to support your claims."

Alongside is usually provided a link to this Skeptics.meta question.

Said meta question was in turn written precisely by one of the aforementioned 'top' users. It has precisely one answer, which was selected as the 'correct' answer by the asker.

The question was then locked, so that there is apparently no possibility of adding further answers to the question (or comments below the original question).

So it seems as if this is the iron-clad law.

Am I correct to say so? If I am not correct, then why are deviants always referred to that Meta post, even though that Meta post is locked and closed off to any critique?

And if it is indeed the law, I would like to challenge it, by requesting the powers-that-be to unlock that question and allow me (and possibly others) to add our own answers (and opinions) to that question.

  • 1
    Not sure what your encounters were, but if these were proper checkable (!) answers and you just disagree with the referencing part on it's own, then please check meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2895/… Nov 23, 2014 at 3:55
  • 1
    I agree with the point you make there. Right now the rule is the stupid and inflexible one of: "No references bad! References good!" Answers with no references, even if well thought-out and very sensible, are automatically given a warning by lords of this site and are encouraged to be dismissed as non-credible. Answers with references, even if all garbage ones, are given a pass. What we need is wisdom and indeed skepticism -- not some iron-clad rules. This is the only SE site with such an iron-clad rule.
    – user17967
    Nov 23, 2014 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


First, let's get the vagueness out of the way. It is I!

I post this comment so often, I have it as a template:

Please provide some references to support your claims.

(That makes it a little less personal, but stops me from getting snippy about having to post it all the time.)

I also am the author of the locked FAQ question, and I accepted the answer - that wasn't written by me, but @Fabian.

Yes, this is a locked question. FAQ questions are not intended to be a place for discussion and debate. It had been crafted to offer new users a distilled, easy-to-understand rule to follow.

So it seems as if this is the iron-clad law.

I'm going back and forth on whether I agree with that description. Yes, it is like a law, in that it is the result of discussion and debate, and the reaching of a community consensus. It is also like a law in that it can be revoked if the consensus no longer holds.

The place for that discussion is this question:

It is not a locked FAQ question, but an open discussion area. Feel free to post your challenging opinions on what the rules should be, and encourage others to upvote your opinions to change the status quo.

So, I'm not sure whether "iron-clad" is a good adjective, but "law" seems a good analogy.

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    I would say it is the constitution of our site, not simply a law...
    – Sklivvz
    Oct 22, 2014 at 13:41
  • I see: So it is like a sacred rule on some sacred document, written by some founding fathers, whose wisdom cannot be questioned. "Love it or leave it," you'll probably say. I will leave this site, after this comment. Your invitation to 'discuss' the matter is a joke. That 'discussion' page has 277 views (after 3 years). The preponderance of upvotes in that 'discussion' are NOT in favor of having this cast-iron law - yet what has come of it? Likewise, the top vote-getter on the locked Meta Question is a contrarian comment by Tormod - yet what good has it done?
    – user17967
    Oct 25, 2014 at 18:54
  • @Kenny LJ: Sorry to see you go over this issue. I reject your classification of it as a sacred rule. I do think that it is a rule that has served us very well, and around which this community has formed, so changing it would require serious debate, and reassurance we wouldn't turn into Yahoo! Answers (shudder).
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Oct 26, 2014 at 10:37
  • @KennyLJ: this site was pretty much created ad-hoc to be evidence-based. You see little evidence of discussion because that's question number 5, belonging to private beta with very few users present at the time. That's when the major site features are decided. If you want to argue against compulsory evidence, feel free to do so, but you need to propose something better, and need to understand why that rule was chosen in the first place. The post ...in question has 3k views and 24 up votes.
    – Sklivvz
    Oct 27, 2014 at 9:57

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