Do "nightshades" and tomatoes cause inflammation?

is a question that is based on a stated opinion of a supermodel.

On one hand, it's likely that a lot of people know of that opinion, coming from a supermodel via a published article in Business Insider.

On the other hand, our rules of notability seem to be based on people believing a claim, not merely hearing it - and there seems to be no evidence presented that people believe the claim stated in the question.

Absent such proof of belief, should the question be allowed under notability rules?

  • Question: Do people get medical information from celebrities? If so, then the question is on-topic. If not, then Jenny McCarthy has presumably been wasting her time on her anti-vaccine crusade.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 5:15

1 Answer 1


You have a good point; it is a weakness of this site's rules that we acknowledge and accept as necessary.

In an ideal world, we would have a nice strict rule. Something like:

At least, say, 500 people have to accept a claim as likely true before we think it is worth mentioning the claim and researching the evidence behind it. The OP has to prove that at least that number of people "believe" it.

Of course, that is almost impossible to do. We can only guess at how many people believe a claim. So we have to rely on proxies.

If it is on Twitter and has thousands of positive re-tweets, that seems like a reasonable proxy to suggest many people believe it.

But sometimes, we don't even have evidence that strong, so we accept even poorer evidence of belief.

If it is printed in a major newspaper, so tens of thousands of people read it... well, even if they don't believe it, it is worth having a place where they can check whether they should.

If it is stated by a politician or celebrity or someone who similarly has many people listening to their words, we accept that as a proxy measure that many people might believe it.

(Note that we want the claim to be notable, but we are using the less valuable a proxy of the person who said it being notable.)

So, your point is very valid: It might be that all of the readers of Business Insider rolled their eyes when reading about the diet and none of them believed it. No evidence has been provided to dispute that.

But to make things tractable for the question askers, we accept spoutings from a celebrity as good enough evidence of notability.

  • 1
    This seems to lead to a slippery slope problem of accepting any idiotic thing said by any celebrity as ontopic as long as it was published somewhere. That's a LOT of things. I like the retweet criteria much more, at least it shows that someone actually believes the claim worth distributing, whether true or not.
    – user5341
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 12:00
  • @user5341 it doesn't metter whether it's idiotic. That's a matter of opinions. What's important is that there are people believing it that would benefit from a skeptical perspective.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 22:03
  • @Sklivvz - I agree that "idiotic" is subjective and, for that matter, irrelevant. The issue is volume. We have 3 metric tons of celebrities, each one spouting opinions nonstop. Making everything they say ontopic just due to their celebrity seems drastically at odds with the policy on non-celebrity claims, which is explicitly requiring that people believe it (e.g. satirical or film origin claims, or posts from random blogs, aren't accepted unless there's evidence people believe it).
    – user5341
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 23:47

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