On reading this excellent answer it made me wonder why that answer is allowed but this one was deleted. Why is one "theoretical", and rapidly deleted, and the other not? Or has something changed about the rules on theoretical answers? I've read the FAQ and both or neither seem to qualify.

They're both about a theoretical claim ("if we did X we could do Y"). They both cite primary sources. They both do simple math on those sources to reach their conclusions. What's the key difference?

Furthermore, why was nearly the same answer a few days later, but lacking primary sources, allowed?

At the time I was told by moderators that even doing simple division on primary data was considered a "theoretical model", but had I cited an article that did that same math it would be ok. Not wanting to be a Google bot, I lost interest in Skeptics.SE. I would be very happy to learn the definition of what is a "theoretical answer" has been revised.

1 Answer 1


No, the definition has not changed - keep in mind all happened today.

I've added a banner to two answers. The answer by DavePhd, in my opinion, is not really theoretical since it's only verifying the claim directly across different sources and this requires changing units. The other two are wholly theoretical and are going to be deleted if they are not fixed.

Update: After ensuring the owners saw the notices and leaving them a few days I've soft deleted the answers until they are fixed.


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