Here is a similar question, but it is about answers: Should answers without references be removed by the mods?

I ask this for questions. Often, questions make assumptions and expect everyone to agree on those assumptions. Mostly, agreement exists but not always.

For example, this question starts with the assumption that "government employees have a separate pension fund". Most of us do know that this is true but there maybe cases where the question makes assumptions that are not "obvious" - especiallly in potential not-asked-in-good-faith questions.

Sometimes, on asking for reference in a comment, the questioner would oblige. But they have the power to ignore such a request.
I've even encountered an arrogant user who made a controversial claim in the question (which they expected everyone to agree on) - and when I asked for a reference on that claim, they replied with a straight up "No" - those comments have since been deleted.

My question is:
Should questions based on assumptions require references for those claims?
This does not have to be a strict requirement - just a guideline on "How to ask a good question" which users should be expected to follow at least when explicitly asked.

3 Answers 3


Questions based on assumptions do not require references, but good questions should include references. In other words, when the assumptions in the question are not obvious, ask for references. And if the user then refuses to back up a controversial claim in their question, vote down the question.


We’d love to help you. To improve your chances of getting an answer, here are some tips:

Search, and research

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer

How do I ask a good question?: https://politics.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask


No, we should not required for the simple fact that if someone is asking a question about something they are unlikely going to be able to find references for this.

If there is a question that appears to be looking for an answer it should be closed as a push question. This would cover your case of a user making a claim and expecting everyone to agree with them.


A question that involves a foundation of belief should be answered as if that belief is true. Requiring sources is putting a barrier to questions based on falsehoods or dubious beliefs (which is wrong as I will explain).

If someone asks:

(1+1=3). How do I solve for 2+2?

Then an answer treating (1+1=2) would be irrelevant.

The point of a question is not to arrive at the absolute truth,

What is gravity?

is going to have completely different answers depending on the context of the question being asked. Young children if they ask this question will typically be told the technically wrong answer, but its still a valuable question and answer.

Furthermore, we do not neccesarily know what facts may be true or false, certainly there are some more likely than others, but without absolute certainty it provides a benefit to build a tree of answers for each branch of theory (obviously this should be proportional and practical to the situation).

For this reason, the sources of a question do not neccesarily matter as long as they can provide value.

  • This is not the case at all, if someone posts an question based on an assumption that is not true the answer should address that fact and explain why it is not correct.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 15:25
  • @JoeW Then its not answering the question, so who is it helping? "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" - Aristotle Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 15:39
  • If someone asks a question based on incorrect assumptions and beliefs it should be answered in a way that corrects that. In your example of 1+1 = 3 how do I solve for 2 +2 that is based on incorrect math and the answer should address that.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 16:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .