There is a potential to have a separate version of every question or topic that focuses on: scientific evidence, research, or some other reference.

Shouldn't this get handled in the OP's evaluation of the answers? Answers that include support should be encouraged.

Is this a work-around to appear to avoid a flame war? "What are some references to scientific evidence supporting that Java is the greatest language?"

Example: This question wants Scientific Evidence about variable length.. Another just asks can variables be too long and does give specific examples which I hope the focus is not on the particular variable names themselves.

  • 5
    Slapping a request for scientific literature onto the question "Is Java the greatest programming language" doesn't really make this question any better. It still is enormously vague and unanwerable, there is no objective scientific measure of "greatness", it remains a question that should be nuked on sight. You actually need to make the question more scientific if you want better answers. Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 15:28
  • @Fabian - I should have given a better example.
    – JeffO
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 19:24
  • see also Why are “reference request” questions off topic?
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 11:51

2 Answers 2


Sprinkling "Science" on top of something does not automatically render it correct. As an example, one of the best and clearest introductions to Haskell is "Learn You A Haskell for Great Good" which is decidedly informal. However, it doesn't matter if you use that or directly grok the Haskell documentation, it's still an overly broad question to ask for a list of resources for a language. It's also fairly redundant as Stackoverflow maintains legacy and tag lists for such things.

With any learning process, it's important to be correct sure, but it's also important to be clear and to be usable to the learner. The usual reasons for asking for "Scientific Answers" is the idea that math can't be argued with. This is a colossal fallacy, particularly when Statistics are involved which is what many of these kinds of questions mean by "Scientific".


I think that a question should be about something, not asking for a specific type of resource. Depending on the wording, it might be OK to say "I want to learn about X, what are the best places to start learning?" (depending on topicality, subjectivity, and ensuring that it actually adds community value and not easily findable on Google).

Answers should contain a combination of personal experiences, reputable references to books and websites (with appropriate links and summaries), and academic research. I wouldn't expect one answer to contain all of the above, but these should be found across all answers to all questions.

Stack Exchange is not a place for someone to do your research, but at the same time, it might be of importance to the asker to have things other than personal experiences. For example, if I'm trying to learn something that I need to present to management, I can't really say "because people on the Internet said so", but I can point to accepted and published writings. In those cases, it's very much OK for the asker to call out for published work. However, I still feel the question needs to be accepting of personal experiences.

In addition, the subjective guidelines and topicality always apply.

You must log in to answer this question.

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