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47

It is not reasonable to start with the assumption that statements by the 'leader of the free world' are not notable. Every nontrivial thing said by a person with that much power and influence is 'notable' unless proven otherwise. Note that 'notable' does not mean the same thing as 'credible' (and even then we have good evidence that nearly 62 million people ...


11

You are correct that this site is not for learning about scientific skepticism. In fact it's a place to apply it. However, scientific skepticism is different from rational debate. It is a discipline based on examining evidence and balancing it against propositions. In a way, it is dissimilar from science because skepticism is not about discovering new laws ...


8

I have quite enjoyed answering a few of them them: I learned a little more about history. If you only want question on topics that affect purchasing decisions then you should probably outlaw history questions too. I find it especially interesting when it's a misquote, i.e. there is something like it but not exactly what's claimed. You can ignore a topic ...


6

I don't see how this rule could be stated: "we allow claims that in the opinion of the OP are believed by many people, but they never stated explicitly in writing"? No, claims need to be explicit. There are a few reasons for this but the main motivation is that we want to avoid debating straw men. More in detail, and expanding on my comment on Nomen ...


5

Just tackling the fact-based parts to the question: 6-Sep-2010: It was initially proposed by @rjstelling - Thanks, Richard! 24-Feb-2011: Private beta started. 4-Mar-2011: Public beta started. 16-Mar-2011: Initial pro tempore moderators were initially appointed by StackExchange (based on community nominations during the beta. The initial round was @Sklivvz, @...


5

The solving of puzzles - i.e. toy problems designed to test ingenuity - should not be considered on-topic. Simply finding the answer is not the role of this site, even if the puzzle itself may be notable - e.g. Rubik's Cube or any of those interminable arithmetic questions that create a buzz by revealing people's ignorance about the order of operations in ...


5

If the claim is specific and notable, then bring it on. If it's such a vague claim that no one can possibly address it meaningfully, then it's probably better to spend some time researching what is actually claimed before asking. Also, the claim needs to be notable, if the BBC claimed that there's a pink unicorn orbiting the planet, I guess people would ...


5

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 ...


5

Uninteresting questions get punished by a lack of upvotes. Questions get upvoted based on how interesting they are, not how well-researched they are. If this wasn't the case, this poorly researched question (the answer was in a link in the very next sentence) wouldn't have got a net score of +57: Do sea otters rape baby seals to death? I don't see an urgent ...


5

I see two parts to balance. The first is if the retraction means there is no evidence that the claim is widely believed, we should consider it no longer notable. To give some extreme examples, I think both of these claims would be off-topic: Warren Beatty claimed that La La Land was the winner of the 2017 Best Picture Oscar. Joseph Priestley claimed that ...


5

I believe this is a pretty similar question to If a claim is commonly accepted, does questioning it require a notable counter-claim? My proposed answer there I think applies here too - in summary: TL;DR: We should only demand evidence of notability in one direction, and accept genuine disbelief of the claim by the OP as being sufficiently notable in the ...


4

First, let's get the vagueness out of the way. It is I! I post this comment so often, I have it as a template: Please provide some references to support your claims. (That makes it a little less personal, but stops me from getting snippy about having to post it all the time.) I also am the author of the locked FAQ question, and I accepted the answer - ...


4

Yes: a notable claim must have believers in the present. It has to be an actual problem that people face. These are our current guidelines: A claim is 'notable' when a significant number of people believe it is true. With no burden of proof on the asker that someone else believes the claim they're asking you to fact-check, you risk losing your specialty... ...


4

In the interest of clarity and indexability I would leave puzzles to the appropriate sub-site, unless the solution is part of refuting/confirming a larger claim. ("Is there a cat?" vs "Is it true that only the thrice sworn monks of quala lumpur can solve this puzzle?")


4

You can make almost everything fit into the literal description of our scope, but I think solving puzzles here doesn't make much sense. We usually deal with finding answers to "real world" questions, a puzzle is an artificial challenge. I personally don't think we should solve puzzles here. There are probably cases where questions about puzzles might be on-...


4

I voted to close as primarily opinion based. Whether one of the animals looks like a cat, or looks like an owl, is a matter of opinion. I reckon the cat looks like Totoro!


4

I want to add a few things to @DJClayworth's answer. We need to remember that there are people on this world who really beleave in a world wide conspiracy by alien Jewish lizard people that control the banking system through mind control and the Iluminati. Everything that a president of the United States, acting, elect or former says gets a lot of exposure, ...


4

Please don't put them all in one question. That makes it nigh impossible to answer, even when you have great evidence for or against one of the claims. Multiple questions are preferred. Please consider spending a few minutes on each claim yourself to see if the Internet already has a good answer. If the top hit on the obvious search words lead to a reliable ...


4

As the help center says, Skeptics is all about challenging notable claims. If someone came across an image of a headline like that, then there are a number of questions I could imagine a person would have: Is/was this a real headline? Is what the headline saying true? Was this a typo, or was the wording intentional? Any of those questions could be on-topic ...


4

Notability is about the number of people who believe it, not its source. Proving people believe it is difficult, so we use proxies to at least give us the feeling that a large number of people believe it. A suitable proxy can be the source (consider the numerous tweets by famous people), but you are right that the circumstances of the claim matter as well. ...


3

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

It's a good idea to find an exact quote for several reasons, including: If the source is popular, notability is established. If the OP is vague, we can look at context to establish the specifics of what the original claimant meant. If the OP has misunderstood the claim, we can look at exactly what was said to ensure we aren't tackling strawmen arguments. ...


3

This SE is really named too generally. It's not about most things that skeptics would discuss. It is not about skeptical analysis, but for looking up and consolidating analyses posted elsewhere. This SE should be named for being "a curated index of skeptical debunkings" and not imply "for asking questions on the subject of skepticism". Yes. We apply ...


3

Almost certainly not As mentioned in the Help Center, this site is almost exclusively for "challenging unreferenced notable claims". It is not a site for obtaining stats on arbitrary subjects. It's possible you could find a relevant notable claim, and then the answers to that question might contain information you wanted, but that seems extremely ...


2

In line with the FAQ: Welcome to New Users page, I don't think these questions are categorically off-topic, but instead poorly posed 'A guy in my class says...' is insufficient justification to be posting on Skeptics.SE, however, given the body of past philosophy and science around flat Earth and extramission vision in the past, a little research could lay ...


2

This answer should be automatically sent somewhere, rather than just deleted and/or berated. Where is "somewhere"? There is no migration path from Skeptics Stack Exchange to any non-Stack Exchange web-site, apart from cut-and-paste. This is appropriate. I cannot see it being changed. It isn't clear what such a migration would look like, or what ...


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