We have some excellent answers that substantiate their claims by adding peer-reviewed, scientific articles. This is especially important when answering questions about facts, i.e. questions regarding nutrients and environmental impact, as opposed to questions asking for e.g. substitute recommendations.

There are also questions about facts with good answers that only have some nonscientific sources, or no sources at all:

I think the upvoted or accepted answers there are good, and I believe the claims they make. But they could be better by adding references.

It is already a lot of effort to write an answer, so let's help each other by finding and adding good references to each others' answers.

The benefits would be at least two-fold:

  • The existing answers would be improved.
  • The general tone of discussions on this site perceived as scientific. Newcomers will see it and adapt.

Why is this "scientific" stuff important? There are lots of prejudices about vegetarians and vegans out there, they are often perceived as esotericists. We should and can stem against that, by being precise and reputable when talking about facts. We're already doing great, and we can do perfect if we support each other.

Just to be sure and not to give a false impression: There are a lot of questions that don't need scientific underpinning, i.e. recipe recommendations.

What are your views on this?

2 Answers 2


Maybe. Sometimes. Yes, with qualifications...

In general I am all for editing, and I love the way you propose this as helping people who are making the effort to write posts but for whatever reason find it difficult to get references (this is totally me, and please do help me find references for my posts :D ) but if someone is active on the site, I think it would be better to suggest the reference in the comments rather than edit it in, or better, ping them in chat and mention it, so they can edit it in themselves. I'd consider approve that kind of edit if I saw it suggested, but filling someone else's post with links might sometimes go against their intent. The post author should get a chance to read what they're signing, if you see what I mean.

Also, while I totally agree that many posts will benefit from adding references, not everything on the site is or should be scientific. Some topics and some perspectives just aren't like that, and there are other epistemologies and ways of producing (and evaluating) knowledge. I hope the site will be inclusive enough to respect and make space for that.


I'm semi-onboard with this, but I don't think edits are the way to do so.

You didn't explicitly say "edit them in" that I saw, but you implied that's what you meant (sorry if I'm reading into something that's not there).

I explained some of my views here, but to sum them up in short:

If you have a big change to the content of the post, comment regarding them. If it would be too big, create a chat. SE prompts you to create a chatroom anyway. (if you don't have enough rep, ask a user in the main chat to create one for you)

Edits by other people shouldn't change the content much, only fix formatting, grammar, typos and possibly move some content around to clarify. The maximum you should do is rewording if it's bad grammar or unclear.

TL;DR: Don't edit in links to somebody's answer. Comment or invite them to chat regarding it, but don't edit. These edits will be rolled back or declined as "deviating from the author's intent".

  • I guess adding a reference is not a big change, or is it?
    – Turion
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:50
  • @Turion it is. It can completely change the answer from bad to good, and that really should be on the poster. For an example, read the comments here.. Somebody tried to add a source + clarify, and the answered rolled back and staunchly refused.
    – Riker
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:51
  • yes, that's exactly the kind of situation where I'd like to have the community agree upon. As I witnessed the situation, there were different issues with the answer, and when OP rolled back one change, many other, unrelated changes were gone as well.
    – Turion
    Feb 10, 2017 at 8:17
  • If something can change the answer from bad to good, why should the OP have anything against it?
    – Turion
    Feb 10, 2017 at 8:17
  • @Turion I completely agree, but it does happen. In the few times it does provoke the OP, it's best not to start an edit war, and 99% of the time comments work as well.
    – Riker
    Feb 10, 2017 at 14:42
  • yes, edit wars should always be avoided. But I've experienced worse success rates for comments. Many people "abandon" their answer once it's posted, and the comments are not considered. In those cases it becomes necessary to edit.
    – Turion
    Feb 10, 2017 at 19:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .