For questions not being too opinionated, we expect them ideally to be backed up with facts and references.

But when a question explicitly asks for references like research papers or statistics, it will usually get closed as off-topic (for being a third-party resource request). That looks somewhat contradictory to me.

Any suggestions how to resolve this contradiction? Don't get me wrong, I am strictly against allowing questions which are exclusively third party resource requests. But can we find a way to avoid making questions automatically prone to downvotes and closevotes just because they contain a buzzword like "research paper/ link /example for ...."?


Unfortunately, the dont-ask page, where the "backed up with facts and references" line comes from, is not editable. However, I don't see a contradiction here.

Questions should not ask for resources, including articles, blog posts, books, or papers. Instead, the question should be focused on a problem that someone is facing. When writing answers, answerers should be encouraged to not only share the experiences but back up their experiences with references to things that others have said as well. A question that has a lot of answers that cannot be supported with references is likey to be a poor fit. An answer that expresses opinions without supporting facts is also likely to be a poor fit.

Automatically downvoting or closing questions because they contain buzzwords is highly inappropriate. I think it's hard to change behavior, so I would encourage anyone who sees a question that is casually asking for a reference to consider editing the question to remove those buzzwords and help focus on the problem at hand. This could help alleviate some of those downvotes and close votes.

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    "Automatically downvoting or closing questions because they contain buzzwords is highly inappropriate." - I cannot agree more. Unfortunately, I think we have way too many community members here who give me the impression they believe it is appropriate and have no interest in editing buzzwords out, though they have more than enough rep to do so. Just look at the previous meta question asked before this one. The result of the "buzzword closing" was that the asker was driven away from here and asked at a different SE site. – Doc Brown Feb 17 at 20:07
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    @DocBrown Yeah, I'm not really sure how to solve that particular problem. There is a problem with explicitly asking for references, and that is the ease of which people can just throw references in without addressing the problem. But the solution is for editing to refocus or reframe the problem, rather than down voting and voting to close. Downvoting is a problem since too many downvotes and it's off the homepage for people to see, write good answers to, and hopefully edit to be an example of a good question. – Thomas Owens Feb 17 at 20:18
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    To be honest, I always feel a little guilty about removing buzzwords from questions. I always feel like I am fundamentally changing what they are asking. I always get the feeling that requests for papers, references, blog posts and such are really what the OP is after. But I also feel guilty about down-voting and closing these questions. It all depends on how much effort they put into the other parts of their question. – Greg Burghardt Apr 5 at 20:25

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