For instance, opaque governments like Pyongyang's or the Islamic State's. How much weight should we accord to claims made by them.


If someone asks if Tiger Woods has scored the most hole-in-ones in a single game, would it be acceptable to cite North Korean media as saying Kim Jong-il had scored 11 hole-in-ones out of 18 in his maiden game?

Or what about if invisibility is possible, with an answer citing the invisible mobile phones invented by the same dictator?

“Kim Jong-Su, the general secretary of the North Korean FA, has said the Dear Leader gave ‘in-depth guidance’ on how to develop the game in the country and the coach himself has claimed he received regular tactical advice during matches, apparently using mobile phones that are not visible to the naked eye.” source

More seriously, when discussing issues like the impact of natural disasters in such countries, should the word of international humanitarian organisations be given greater credence than the local government?


2 Answers 2


If a source doesn't have a reputation of fact checking and accuracy, don't treat it as a reliable source.

If two sources that are ostensibly reliable have conflicting reports, present both perspectives, present their evidence, and follow the evidence deeper if possible. Look for additional, independent sources.

Shortly after the occurrence of an event, questions about the event are off topic in order to avoid dealing with factual inaccuracies during the breaking news cycle.


The site doesn't need a stance on that subject.

The stance is (only) that answers require references/evidence: so if an answer references a government source, then that's sufficiently referenced and the answer is allowed.

Readers vote on the answers. If users don't like an answer they may down-vote it. An answer which cites North Korean media as saying Kim Jong-il had scored 11 hole-in-ones should, IMO, be allowed; but it might attract downvotes from readers.

  • Problem is, that while it "should" attract downvotes, usually such answer attract tons of upvotes (where "usually" is possibly heavily biased for me by survivor bias :)
    – user5341
    Apr 24, 2015 at 0:41

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