I had an interesting discussion with the poster of a popular answer that has been in the Hot Network Questions for a couple of days. I think the discussion is important, so I'm copying it here to Meta as a means to get the views of others.
I'm not saying the answer is wrong (or correct.) I'm talking about requirements for sources.
I'm wondering what the community thinks.
The reason I'm including my comments here is because they summarize perfectly the views I wanted to express in this post.
Fiksdal: IMO this answer could be improved by including the actual numbers and hard statistics these statements are based on. Or at least some notable examples of numbers.
SalvadorDali: In your answer you told Numerous studies but provided nothing to back it up. All you have is some NY times article, and report that tells that innumerable studies have confirmed.
Fiksdal: The question is about statistics, this answer cites no statistics.
Fiksdal: @SalvadorDali Exactly. Can you imagine if someone posted an answer here, but the sources of such loose statements were Breitbart or Fox News? They would have (quite rightly) been downvoted and asked to provide hard numbers and statistics. Why should we hold the WSJ to a different standard? We know FN and BB are ideologically biased and dishonest, but are we just going to give the WSJ carte blanche? This is inappropriate for a skeptics site. This answer desperately needs hard statistics, and in the absence of that, it's very low quality as per the help centre, IMO.
rougon (OP): @Fiksdal, you are right, the WSJ journal is definitely biased--it's a conservative paper. If you look at the sources, they discuss the difficulty in looking at national crime statistics. Or how about: there are 0 legitimate places that provide statistics that undocumented immigrants commit more crime.
Fiksdal: @rougon I don't care what political affiliation the WSJ purports to have. I don't care who says what. This is Skeptics and for a question about statistics we need answers that cite hard statistics. I don't know why this is upvoted so highly. You're saying that there are no credible statistics on this. (I think I agree, BTW.) If that's the case, then how exactly did the WSJ come to their conclusions? Do you know? Or did you just take the WSJ at their word? Because that would be the opposite of skepticism, and completely contrary to the help centre. CC: @SalvadorDali
rougon: @Fiksdal Your comment seems to charge the WSJ with bias. If you reread the question, it only mentions statistics at the end. Also, if you look at the studies mentioned, stats are discussed, albeit more in passing than you would like. They may not have smoking gun stats, but the various studies and reports seem to show that there is a clear trend. Now, you are more a math person than me, but it still looks like pretty solid evidence, certainly enough to make it appropriate for the site.
Fiksdal: @rougon It's human nature to be biased. I'm charging all of us with bias. I know nearly nothing about the WSJ. And I haven't read the whole article you link to either. If the article cites hard statistics, then you need to include those in the answer itself. Yes, the question asks for statistics in the title itself by the word "likely". Probability is only assessed by hard numbers. When I Googled this, I found a Fox News article saying the opposite. But I didn't find the statistics convincing enough to be included in an answer. And you don't even mention a single number in your answer.
rougon: @Fiksdal Fair enough. I think we have different expectations about sources, evidence, and what the answer calls for.
Fiksdal: @rougon Clearly we do, if taking someone's word for how likely something is is your idea of skepticism.
rougon: @fiksdal I don't think I'd characterize my answer as blind trust in someone's word, but I respect and appreciate your commitment to quality statistics.
Does this answer have solid sources in accordance with the requirements put forward in the help centre?
The answer is highly upvoted, but so is the other answer saying "we don't know". Also, it seems likely that the Hot Network Questions has something to do with the scores here.
The OP has claimed that the question doesn't ask for statistics. The question asks for how "likely" something is. This is a scientific site, and what can "likely" mean, other than "statistically likely"? Do loose statements from a number of "credible" or authoritative people suffice?