On a recent post, the user offered up his own opinion. Being new to the community, he probably just didn't know any better, but given feedback that he's acting outside of the community-established norms, he thinks his answer is great and doesn't need any citation.

What should ultimately be done with these posts? Should we just down-vote? Or should posts like this be deleted?


For right now, I did just delete the answer in the interest of discouraging future similar answers, but it's a fair question whether downvoting or deleting is the appropriate goal here.


It might make sense to point those people at known philosophers who tend toward their position, and see if that is really what they meant. That way, you might get a citation, setting them on a path toward a good habit, and they might get more clarity on their own thinking.

What I really want out of a citation is the ability to follow an idea, so just a name is just fine, because I can google <\Philosopher Name> <\question> on my own. But I am highly unlikely to have seen the work of even popular philosophers that happen to have more clarity than I do on my own beliefs. (As is evidenced by the number of times I end up referencing dilettantes like Terrence McKenna, Alan Watts, or Starhawk, who synthesize tons of ideas indiscriminately.)

And if someone responds to one of my posts without any names in it with "Do you mean like X said?" then I as an author have gotten more out of the post than I put into it, even if the comment comes with a down-vote. (I am generally grateful to @NelsonAlexander and @MoziburUllah for this kind of thing, even if I never seem to agree with the former, or to fully understand the latter.)

  • It's possibly a function of my not fully understanding the philosophy I'm looking at ie Badiou! Mar 2 '16 at 11:21

Some people can take a hint, others don't; unfortunately, if this happens with a new-comer, there's no track record to go on, to decide which way they might go.

The optimum, would be to remind them to cite; possibly together with a down-vote.

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