I suggest that for this site and particularly in the private beta that we avoid asking questions that can be answered by Wikipedia e.g. 'Which groups arrived in Australia before the arrival of the first fleet'.

These types of questions, although are historical and are interesting to a large group of people are too easy to answer and will not draw visitors to this site once it is public.

The main reason these questions are bad for a site like this is because wikipedia will be guaranteed to provide a more concise and detailed answer than someone on this site can.

Try for something more challenging, the aim for the public beta is expert level questions, why ask an Australian historian a question they can answer in their sleep? Our aim should be to draw experts who have questions they can sink their teeth into and visitors who feel they are getting unique questions and answers that they haven't heard in their backyard BBQ with their mates.

  • 2
    I totally agree with you. I think, wikipedia-quotes should only be used to give a small overview when needed/reasonable, while providing deeper information (with other sources)
    – GNi33
    Oct 11, 2011 at 23:10
  • 1
    Definitely agree. Oct 12, 2011 at 15:36

3 Answers 3


I think it depends. One of the requirements to posting a question is that you have done at least some amount of research before asking the community. With the popularity of Wikipedia, it is almost certainly going to be a good jumping off point for any research. With this in mind, it is expected that someone who is posting should have read the relevant portions of the Wikipedia article, or some other article that yields the same information.

This is not to say that some fact being in Wikipedia revokes its eligibility as a question. Questions about how and why are going to bring out an excellent answer even (perhaps especially) when the who, when, and what are factually available. Often times, these how and why questions are available in the Wikipedia article, but are suspect or incomplete.

So I do not believe a blanket statement of "anything answered by a Wikipedia article" to be correct as you state it. I do, however, believe the spirit of your request, which I interpret to be "to keep the level of expected excellence of questions sufficiently high to bring experts", to be spot on.


We are not talking on maths. History very often has different versions. So, this one in the Wiki needn't be the correct one. So, everything depends on how deep we want to look into the question.

For example let't take the question "when did WWII started?" If the questioner seeks for a school answer, the official date from Wiki is enough. But he or she could be interested in the deeper understanding. Was Czechoslovakian annexe a real start? Or that of Czechoslovakians border regions after Munich? Or Austria annexe? Or, on the contrary, the war in Poland was only the preparation and the real start was in Norway, where really the Germans began the battle with one of the future winners? Or the June of 1941, when the sides were finally set? Wiki doesn't know the answer, it only could help with some information.

So, I would set it otherwards. We could make a new tag, as "official history" or "homework" and if a question has it, the questioner needs the explanation on the schoolbook level. And let's not refuse a good answer for him or her. Children also need help. Maybe, the explanation in wiki on the question is too complicated for them. But if there is not such tag in the question, we should take it that the author seeks for a deeper knowledge and wiki could be taken only as one of many secondary sources.

  • I don't agree with you, there may be different interpretations until there is one agreed upon but there are NOT different versions. Unless I am misunderstanding your English. Homework questions or not there doesn't need to be detail, if the question is vague it may get edited or closed or the answer may be more detailed. To pull in contributors we don't want to be seen as another Yahoo Answers where people go for simple answers to simplistic questions.
    – MichaelF
    Feb 2, 2012 at 16:05
  • Easy example: I Wiki is said, that the military losses in SU during WWII is 10.5 mil. This is the number taken from the Soviet "History of WWII", the book, that was official in soviet times and possibly, is official again, but was not official in 90-ties in Russia. It is full of lies - so I think and many other peoples do.
    – Gangnus
    Feb 2, 2012 at 16:12
  • And what about my example of WWII start?
    – Gangnus
    Feb 2, 2012 at 16:12
  • What about it? If the question gets asked some people may give a date, some may give a more detailed answer, the person asking the question will determine what answer suits them. If the answer is incorrect it will be pulled out by others on the site.
    – MichaelF
    Feb 2, 2012 at 16:42
  • @Gangnus - Well said. I have a big problem with Wikipedia becoming the de-facto source of historical information. Wiki is notoriously inconsistent and often quite biased. I try to avoid using it as the lynchpin of any answer I might post.
    – user2590
    Sep 10, 2013 at 21:12

I Agree. It's not necessary!!!

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