I have seen a few questions with what appear to be valid answers, but that don't provide any source. This means as a non-native Spanish speaker, I often have no way of knowing if the answer is correct, and should therefore be upvoted.

The most recent example is:

Although a lack of source doesn't seem fatal in many cases, especially when discussing regional or slang words. Examples:

when should we require siting a source in an answer?

2 Answers 2


I would merely expect such answers to not get as many up-votes, and especially so when they have competition from other answers that do come complete with sources.

It certainly never hurts to post a comment asking if they can back up their statements. I've done it a few times already I think. Plus you can include in your question to please only post answers with references if you expect you might get opinion type answers.

But they may be a teensy bit better than answers that explicitly state they are guesses or assumptions or opinions.

  • I agree. If we compare this site to the mother site, StackOverflow, we can see that "right" answers will be voted up and "wrong" answers will be voted down. Obviously, this isn't always the case, but in situations where there needs to be sources, votes should suffice.
    – Richard
    Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 15:32

My retort to your statement that answers without sources impede a non-native speaker would be to assess whether it is accompanied by the grammatical rule by which to make use of the answer. You will notice that I never cite any teaching source such as a reference manual however, I live on the Texas/Mexico border and I always explain the grammatical rule as it would be in a book.

  • 1
    Explaining "as would be in a book" doesn't really provide much authority to an answer, as anyone can make up a thorough answer (or more likely, thoroughly explain a misconception). I also notice that very few of your answers have up-votes, which tells me they should not be considered poster children for best practice. One of them in fact has 4 down-votes for disagreeing with an official source.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Nov 27, 2011 at 5:39
  • 1
    Not all answers would even have authorities which could be checked, for instance questions about colloquial or slang usage on the Texas/Mexico border. I'm saying this in general - I haven't actually looked through Roman's posts in particular. Commented Nov 27, 2011 at 9:27

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