I am interested in celebrating the rich historical culture of Western New York. Because of the holiday, particularly ghost stories that happened in Buffalo, New York. I am Organizing an event for students about the "haunted" history of Buffalo New York.

So I started a google search of course, but I want to be legit and put some more effort rather than just copying and pasting from random websites.

I was going to ask in the regular History Stack Exchange if people can point me to legit material on the subject. Scholarly & Peer Reviewed articles. I backed down, thinking that it may look like I am just a lazy person, and do not want to do my research.

Is it okay for someone to ask in a question to be pointed to a specific type of resources? I didn't want to ask "Hey who knows about historical ghost stories in Buffalo New York?" I would have asked to be pointed towards articles or books so I can do my own research

1 Answer 1


I would count this among the hotly debated questions. H:SE has strong opinions about source requests; unfortunately we also have diverse opinions.

The "Source requests are bad" community point out that most source requests are (a) ephemeral - tomorrow the best source could be different and (b) opinion based (what you think is the best source and what I think is the best source may differ, and both may be legitimate, (c) frequently imprecise; how you ask the question can significantly affect the "best" answer.

The "source requests may be good" consensus points out that history is about sources and that much of the job of history is to find and analyze new sources.

The compromise position is that requests for canonical sources are ok; the sources that every serious scholar of the event/period/theme/topic will point to as authoritative and necessary.

Requests for sources on haunted W NY: * Probably not ephemeral; I doubt there are many new serious publications in the field. * Definitely opinion based - different scholars will probably disagree on which source contains the best ratio of fact to fiction; they will probably disagree on what is fact and what is fiction. * Probably imprecise - specific words in the question can lead to answers dealing with mentalism, spirtualism, occult practice, deaths, murders, hauntings, fairy tales, and a host of other phenomena.

If you can phrase your question to avoid the pitfalls, I think you can ask it here. BUt I suspect that it will generate some meta-discussion.

Could we at least agree to do the meta-discussion here and leave the man site for Q&A?

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    Well indeed, I rather avoid having downvotes on a question. Oct 11, 2015 at 17:39
  • I'm sorry, but... "I doubt there are many new serious publications in the field." Did you know Pepsi burns when it comes out the nose? :p
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 15, 2015 at 17:05

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