I'm already expecting several downvotes on this questions and probably others...

I've been perusing some answers on this community, and compared to others (e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Christianity, Economics, etc) it seems here many users without proper 'formation' who are able to give answers about what they think it's right, and not get downvoted as long as they answer from the right side of the 'fence', even if their answer is clearly poor either in references, or basis. In itself there would be nothing wrong with this, if the point of these type of communities weren't in some way academical/encyclopaedic. What can I learn from people just voicing their opinion about their personal beliefs, instead of ground-founded research, even if we may disagree with some notions. This phenomenon is really intense in questions related to God and Religion...

I'm not here to criticize in a bad way this community, in fact, I would like to participate intensively in it, in the only way I can at first, which is by asking questions, and to educate myself, and then if possible, to meaningfully answer some questions.

The way the users will answer to this critique(intended in a positive way) will most definitely show the current state of maturity of this community, and the way how this critique will be dealt with will show in what sense/direction the users would like to develop this community.


1 Answer 1


The SE model is designed so the best answers find their way to the top; naturally those answers with citations and those which are true should be recognizable as they withstand the test of time and voting.

We encourage citing questions but do not require it. In reality, it can take a good deal of time properly citing every claim we make in our answers, and it's just not reasonable to expect people to link much more than SEP or something like that here. Even without citations, however, I think our system still works because naturally the more correct answers should be upvoted more than those which are incorrect, provided our community is of sufficient size. The bottom line is, will our answers help someone who stumbles on them? Honestly, I would say they are helpful.

  • 2
    If a community isn't diversified enough, many will take for granted/given many things they should not. Actually, this type of attitude seems to go against what I would expect from philosophers. But then again, I don't think I'm one, so I wouldn't know. I'm not sure people can answer any way they want... From philosophy.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer «Not all questions can or should be answered here. Save yourself some frustration and avoid trying to answer questions which... ...solicit opinions rather than facts.» Dec 8, 2014 at 14:10
  • (Resuming) Sometimes, the question may not even solicit an opinion, but some users will just answer them with one... Dec 8, 2014 at 14:12
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    A recommendation to save your frustration is only that — a recommendation. You have the freedom to answer any question you want to answer, but as the FAQ warns you might get frustrated if you answer some types of questions. You also have the freedom to type whatever you want as an answer; just note that poor answers will naturally be downvoted and good answers upvoted. Also, if your answer is too controversial (makes bold claims) it may be flagged and a post notice added, or if it's otherwise against our terms of service, it can be removed. But you a free to try to write it nonetheless.
    – stoicfury
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:23
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    I see your point about diversity, and I think it is a valid point in that such a concern is a real concern for communities like this, but I don't think it's a problem here for the most part. We have many people here who have Bachelor's degrees in the field which should provide (it did in my case) a very broad coverage of most established areas of philosophy, and some specific coverage in one or two areas. We also have a handful of Master's, Ph.D. students, and a few professors who lurk here who provide us with their more in-depth expertise and training.
    – stoicfury
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:28
  • Ok [a few characters to make 'ok' publishable] Dec 8, 2014 at 20:22
  • "I think our system still works because naturally the more correct answers should be upvoted more than those which are incorrect" wow haha
    – user6917
    Jan 25, 2015 at 6:09

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