Can a notable claim be made based on a URL of an article, even if meaningful information differs between the URL and the actual claim in the article text?

This just came up as a topic in comments, and I realized I don't have a specific meta article to point to as a policy despite knowing intuitively what the correct answer should be.

  • Please note that this is a more specific case of another question that I may ask separately, about basing a claim on a title of the article that is sensantionalitically edited to mismatch the claim in the body.
    – user5341
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 18:33

3 Answers 3


A notable claim is a claim that numerous people believe. By their own nature notable claims are never "exact", since different people will interpret them slightly differently. Furthermore, confirming or debunking a claim based on an exact wording, by dissecting definitions and carefully looking at a vocabulary is never a very convincing way to address a claim as experience shows it tends to convince no one.

Let's always try to address the substance of the claim, it's "spirit", and not the wording.

  • If someone looks like they are misinterpreting the question's claim in an answer, you can add your own answer and provide your own interpretation.

  • If a question appears to be misinterpreting a claim, you can justify this point of view in your own answer, supported by references, as long as you also answer the question.

  • That said, questions should be neutral and not straw men.


If many people believe the claim in the URL, even though the evidence in the article doesn't support it, the claim is notable and worth debunking.

It should be a simple one to debunk, because the reference is right there in the question.

I suspect this doesn't match with your intuitive knowledge!

  • 3
    p.s. Sometimes an article will be posted with an incorrect headline, which is incorporated into the URL, and then a subsequent edit will correct the headline, but the URL is preserved so links don't break. I don't think that continuing to use the URL as a notable claim, when even the claimant no longer holds the position is reasonable.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 22:15

patrick87 Contradicts himself, Is Wrong and Should Feel Bad

by Anonymous

(Three paragraphs of nonsense.)

We are all human. Surely it is reasonable to expect patrick87 contradicted himself sometime in the past, has been wrong about something and given the suffering in the world should feel at least partly bad for the condition of his fellow man.

(Three more paragraphs on something unrelated.)


Now imagine this article has been copy-pasted a dozen times on the Internet, with the URL "http://.../patrick87_hypocrite_always_wrong_should_be_ashamed.html".

I would say that asking whether patrick87 is a hypocrite and is always wrong and should be ashamed is a valid question for the site, even though the article doesn't strictly say so - indeed, the article is completely factual, and the title is maybe only misleading.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .