Related questions: Should there be stronger notability criteria for claims about living people? and Claims involving personal information about notable people and Victims of crime

In Did a man get heckled for dressing up as a Nazi—and dressing up his son as Adolf Hitler—at a local Halloween event in 2018? , part of the question was about whether a person dressed up as one of history's worst dictators, associated with an ideology that is still followed by some today:

First, while I believe the photo of the adult man and some children is a real photo, was this photo actually taken in 2018 during a Halloween celebration? Where did it come from? Additionally, a screenshot of supposed claims of violence made against the man and the children are made. But did this all actually happen? It seems like the claims allude to this happening in the U.S., but the avatar for the screenshot of the complain clearly shows a German flag.

He's not Prince Harry, who is a member of a royal family, and he's not Marc Garlasco, an analyst in Human Rights Watch who investigated Israel. He's not even a notable hatemonger, just a member of the public.

In the original question, the only source for notability was a since-deleted tweet, and in the answer, the only source directly related to the claim was a local news source.

Compared to public figures, should there be stronger notability criteria for claims of a potentially negative nature, which are not in the public interest (eg someone committing a newsworthy crime), for people who are not public figures?

I raised this concern in the comments section of the question, and while some people agreed with my concerns, nothing's been decided either way.

  • Might there be a concern of defamation with such claims? We might need to ask a lawyer, but even if the defamatory content was already widespread it seems that Skeptics could get implicated for spreading it further. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


In summary, no, I think the question quality with the current rules is fine.

What is the purpose of the notable claim rule? This isn't entirely a rhetorical question, since the discussions I'm seeing from around that time don't really explicitly say. In any case, I'm pretty sure it's a means to an end, so we should focus on what gets us to that end instead of the rule itself.

What I think is a good reason for the rule is it's a somewhat objective way to keep out low-quality questions such as "Was Marilyn Monroe a Dude?" as mentioned by Jeff Atwood here.

The other thing is back then Skeptics was more of a wild west, with many more questions being posted per day. Back then there were apparently 3-4 bad questions being posted per day, now there are less than 3 per day total, good or bad, in subjects that interest you or not.

I think we're doing good in the way of question quality (the rule is working!) but we could do with more questions. It might even make sense to relax the rules a little maybe.

Excluding notability, what's the actual problem with questions like the one you linked to? How would closing such questions make the site better?

That specific question

The closing procedure to follow recommended by Mad Scientist (albeit way far back in 2012) is:

If you suspect that a claim is not notable, you should perform a minimum amount of research before acting. Performing a quick google search using search terms taken from the question is a good idea. If you don't find any evidence of notability that way, [comment & vote/flag to close].

I was the one who posted the answer to the Nazi Halloween costume question. I performed a Google search and found that the question was notable enough that it had a good answer. So I answered. I used what I think is the primary source for the information, but there were other sources that were of lower quality that also reported on the event:

What's also significant to note is that the question received close votes, but no downvotes. I have to assume from this that a few people found the question useful or worth reading and nobody found it to be truly bad.

The solution

When you see a question that you think is bad, boring, or a waste of time you can downvote it. For free. It's really that simple.

Good questions float to the top, bad to the bottom when you sort by votes, otherwise the score gives an indication to the passerby if the question is worth their time or not.

You must log in to answer this question.

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