I had a question put on hold.

Did the Constitution of the Confederate States of America ban the slave trade?

I provided some sources for the claim. Oddthinking replied "I went to include all of your links as notability sources, but the last one - for example - completely answers this question, including references to the specific text. What further question do you have?" and then placed the question on hold.

It is a good source, but the truth is not always the whole truth. I don't really have further questions beyond what's already in the question. If I had avoided having too good a source for a claim at the start, would this question still be open? Or is there something else that makes this question unclear what I'm asking?


As a general rule, an answer has to provide evidence that is both:

  • at a minimum standard (e.g. we don't accept anecdotes, we eschew Wikipedia and other tertiary sources), AND
  • at a higher standard than the original claimant.

If someone questions a claim with a very high standard of evidence to support it, it means anyone who wants to answer the question, must produce extremely high standards of evidence.

In this case, you cited a claim about the constitution of the Confederate States. You mentioned your sources, including a reference to an essay that explicitly linked to a copy of the constitution of the Confederate States, and pointed out the exact text which answered your question completely.

(The essay went further, and examined the historical context behind the apparent motivations for the unexpected laws.)

It is difficult to imagine what higher evidence there could be that a law existed than an explicit copy of that law in context. So, the minimum bar for answerers appears to be set too high here.

More importantly, it is difficult to imagine what further evidence you would need to be convinced of the claim. I put the question on hold while that was addressed. Why do you remain unprepared to provisionally accept the claim given the quality of evidence supporting it? Why are you still doubtful?

Deliberately omitting the best evidence you have in a question wouldn't help. It would just mean that you will get the same evidence in the answer, and you would remain unconvinced and no-one would know why.

  • I wouldn't make those assumptions on my motivations. If I'm being embarrassingly honest, I just skimmed the third source, I just wanted 3 sources to my claim instead of 2. Not good, I know. The comments in the question were very informative, convincing, and answered my question perfectly. Still, I think it's a good question that could be more useful for future visitors if opened. Thanks for taking the time to explain you're reasoning though.
    – Goose
    Oct 5 '17 at 23:14
  • I'm sorry if I assumed your motivations - I guess the reason for putting the question on hold is to get those motivations. Perhaps the best solution now would be to re-open based on the first or second reference, and then have you answer the question based on the third ref you found? That would make it a good marker for the next person who comes across the claim. What do you think?
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Oct 6 '17 at 1:39
  • I'd give it a try.
    – Goose
    Oct 6 '17 at 4:21
  • Thanks for reopening, will tackle it tonight.
    – Goose
    Oct 6 '17 at 13:46

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