"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." - Carl Sagan (Wikiquote, which is generally reliable in evaluating whether a quote was really made, and a link to a page that has a video clip of Sagan saying it)

Occasionally I come across answers that make extraordinary claims without any references to back them up. Rather than providing a flag with a complaint that the answer is wrong, I merely state that they are unreferenced. Is that appropriate behaviour?

Related question: Should we have a "back it up" rule for answers?

  • 2
    Just for clarification: What exactly makes "extraordinary claims" extraordinary? Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 10:55
  • 1
    @Trilarion something that is wildly inconsistent with what I currently know.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


Basically, flags should be used to signal moderators about severe problems that, indeed, require the moderator's intrusion — usually, by deletion the offending post.

So your question turns into "is it appropriate to delete answers with unbacked (bold) statements or claims?"

IMHO, the answer is — in most cases, no, since such posts do not violate the SE rules.

However, we have a legitimate flag reason "very low quality". But I use it in these rare cases when the post is, indeed, of a very low quality, and the poster was warned first and failed to improve their post.

So, casting your downvote (with an accompanying comment) seems to be the best approach in most cases.

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