(thanks to Pieter Geerkens for motivating this question)

I recently asked a question on History SE. In that question I did some prior research, and found a paper with what seemed like a close-to-complete answer.

But I still thought that the question was worth asking, because I didn't have the expertise to determine whether the paper I found was missing out on something important, whether it reflected the historical consensus, whether it didn't mean what I thought it meant, etc.

So I asked the question. Because of that one paper, I thought that I had done enough prior research. However, based on community discussions, I think I have come up with a guideline and I am wondering whether you agree with it:

When asking whether a particular source conclusively answers a particular question, I should almost always try to include multiple sources in the question.

The idea would be that this would a) demonstrate that the question is non-trivial if the two sources disagree, b) give people answering the question a starting point for tackling at least some of the issues in evaluating any sources that may be out there.

Tangentially related question: Is it okay to ask a question where you feel you "know" the answer, but fear what you DON'T know?

  • 1
    Interesting question. I'll be interested to see the community view. – sempaiscuba Oct 25 '20 at 19:51
  • (1/2) Haha thanks @sempaiscuba. I found my one paper, posted my question, then somebody commented with an obvious google result that would constitute another source. And I was like "hmm, maybe I should have included that too." – capet Oct 25 '20 at 20:08
  • (2/2) Now it seems to me that I can't be expected to include "all obvious google results," since the set of obvious results is often very large. But maybe I should be expected to include "multiple obvious results," if available, especially if my question is about where my sources fit in the context of "broader human knowledge." – capet Oct 25 '20 at 20:10

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