Check out this comment.

An acceptable question would have been: "This is a peer reviewed literary analysis from a reputable source, showing this, that and thus example that the writing style clearly doesn't match the rest of author's books, and/or matches another author".

Is it just me, or is this somewhat of a high burden for a person who's just wanting to ask a casual question? Especially considering that at that point they'd already have their answer in about as bulletproof a form as society knows other than an actual judicial ruling?

  • 4
    "Peer reviewed" was a hyperbole. Basically something to emphacise "Not something a random whackjob made up on some GOOD LSD". There are claims that are worth taking the time to debunk. There are claims that aren't. Nov 27, 2012 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


No, you don't.

However, the Upvote/Downvote alt tips indicate that the level of research you put into a question should guide voting.

I've never heard this theory before, and, without any supporting claims to provide a reference, it does seem completely unfounded and out of the blue.

Peer reviewed literary analysis seems like overkill as a requirement for an upvote, and it certainly isn't a requirement for asking, but some form of reference indicating where you came across this theory, preferably with some sort of justification (even if purely speculative in nature), would go a long way towards making your question better.

You mention in your first sentence that you've heard and read this from more than one source. That's a cue right there that the question would benefit from links to one or more of those sources.

Skeptics.se has a policy that any question requires the claim to be "notable" in order for a question to be on-topic. While this isn't a categorical rule here, it makes sense for these types of questions. Proving a question is based off of a notable claim involves providing references to those claims. Linking to the claims isn't an answer. It's providing an appropriate framework for people to work with to research answers.

  • If it were already founded, I'd have no need to ask... I could select an opinion or answer I felt correct from the many that would then already exist. I did not include links to the many easily google-able sites because doing so might poison things and make it impossible to get any decent answer at all. Besides, I'm not trying to answer my own question... asking me to include sources that do that is ridiculous. If I had, it's no longer a question, it's some sort of advocacy of a position.
    – John O
    Nov 27, 2012 at 14:34
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    I'm not saying you should answer the question in the question. I'm saying you should clarify the position you wish to debunk. You said yourself that speculation is not an answer. However, by providing links to speculation in the question, you'd be giving people a basis to find actual, non-speculative answers that confirm or debunk the specific claims.
    – Beofett
    Nov 27, 2012 at 14:37
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    The links that I could provide would show a 1000 comment thread where more than one science fiction writer shows up to flamebait and antagonize the person who initially makes the claim. Other links are problematic in that they only show partial threads, or refer to materials you might not find outside of a university library. If I link to those, then they only become a target for yet more hostility, and then there is zero chance that it will ever be answered, whether or not an answer is indeed possible.
    – John O
    Nov 27, 2012 at 14:53
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    If you can't provide a reference that shows even a remote possibility of there being credence to the claim, then the answer should be relatively self-evident, and the question itself isn't particularly useful.
    – Beofett
    Nov 27, 2012 at 15:00
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    @JohnO I think you should err on the side of showing more research effort where possible. The fact that you chose not to include links to the sources you got this from made your question seem less serious than it otherwise could have been. Nov 27, 2012 at 15:37

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