is by far one of the most popular tags on our site, and its usage guidance excerpt states that it should be used:

For questions asking for a published journal to be included as reference in your answer. Please avoid answering questions tagged [reference-request] without referencing a published journal.

(emphasis mine)

If this is the case, should answers to these questions that don't reference journals be deleted?

  • 1
    Does this also cover questions tagged reference-request for which no studies can be found? (It's hard to prove that no studies exist, but sometimes none can be found.)
    – Tsundoku Mod
    Aug 14, 2017 at 18:08
  • @ChristopheStrobbe I think we should make an exception in those cases.
    – fi12
    Aug 14, 2017 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


IMHO, no. But we should set the bar higher.

It's possible that there will be a brilliant, commonsense answer, without a reference. Those, we should keep.

But an answer that ignores a specific request like that already has "one strike" against it. Going forward, we should apply a "two strikes" rather than a "three strikes" rule.

Put another way, we might consider retaining a mediocre answer with references (which may be helpful beyond the answer itself), while eliminating similarly meh answers without references. Plus the fact that one answer has shown respect for the parameters of the question, and the other hasn't.

  • This was my original thought, but following this course of action would require a separate meta question about what would be considered mediocre and what would be considered brilliant. I'll wait to see what the rest of the community has to say.
    – fi12
    Aug 14, 2017 at 17:15
  • 1
    @fi 12: Three people such as yourself (with sufficient rep) can vote to delete questions that you judge to be mediocre (or worse). I was just articulating the "Okkam's razor" I would use.
    – Tom Au Mod
    Aug 14, 2017 at 17:17

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