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I understand that links to external resources are encouraged, but there does not appear to be any requirement to provide a source for every answer given. Why should there be? Many people have different approaches to parenting amd a big part of having a Q&A is so parents can be exposed to different answers and decide what is best for their children.

When people merely demand a citation and that is accompanied by a downvote without additional explanation or even their own citation to support why they disagree with an answer, it gives the impression that they are very disingenuous and ultimately serves to derail from the topic.

Recently I have had such comments left for on topic, common sense answers that have long been commonly accepted axioms of healthy parenting. A source is usually not expected for things that have been accepted for years. If somebody is genuinely so out of the loop on something like the importance of having a father figure or the that having an unstable home environment can result in serious behavioral problems, a cursory web search will return plenty of sources. These are examples where the person is so far against the status-quo that, best case scenario, the burden would be on them to provide a citation supporting why they disagree. Anyone has a problem with the consensus that a father figure is important part of many aspects of raising a child had better make a pretty compelling case before down voting centuries of conventional wisdom and that probably dates as far back as the infancy of the study of psychology.

This assumes they are even genuine. I don't believe they are sincere in their display of ignorance or contrarian beliefs. If so, they are outliers, but in either case it's generally not appropriate to merely request a citation for answers on a parenting Q&A. There just aren't scientific studies for evey aspect of life and every unique situation that arises while raising a child.

Here's why I feel this is a problem for the community. Not only does it serve to derail from the topic, but it severely limits the type of answers accepted here and would lead to less posting overall. A mother sharing her anecdotal story of what worked for her and her child probably is not going to have a citation showing that it worked for 67 out of 92 participants in a study. Does this mean we don't want her to share her answer? Does this mean the asker and others with the same question can't benefit from her answer? No, of course not. If, for example, someone claims that putting Tabasco sauce on their kid's fingers helped to curb thumb sucking, it should be up to the asker and others who have tried this to determine whether the answer is helpful without requiring a formal study be conducted. In a way, this site community even has the potential to serve as an informal survey of what works and what doesn't by allowing such answers. Imagine 52 upvotes from parents who tried the Tabasco trick and weened their child of thumb sucking. I believe that to be the spirit of why this Q&A exist and that this is the spirit that will lead it to grow beyond a beta Q&A.

Let me be clear that I would be obliged to help anyone who is genuinely seeking additional resources on a given topic, provided they did display at least a minimal effort to find it themselves. I also encourage posting such resources in answers. However, it would be a great disservice to this particular Q&A to demand it. Otherwise it gets out of hand real fast:
"Smoking is a terribly unhealthy habit and I don't want to see my teen become addicted. How do I keep her from smoking?"
"Sorry, but I down voted your question because you didn't provide a citation that smoking is unhealthy."

While I'm hoping this is not an ongoing issue, I will be flagging such comments from now on which appear to be disingenuous and show no effort to conduct their own research while offering no constructive criticism of the answer itself. Such comments display no interest in helping the asker or genuinely improving the quality of the content or context of an answer. I hope this is something people will consider doing when confronted with such comments rather than being turned off to the site and leaving. It is quite discouraging to take the time to post a well thought out, on topic answer only to have some random third party downvote and comment that they don't like your answer based on not posting a citation of something which has abundant resources available.

Edit: What is being down voted exactly? Is this not the appropriate place for discussion with the "discussion" tag? You know, I just got done reading another meta thread where a user felt that much of parenting is based on opinion. They went on to say there are a lot of "attacks" on answers based on users having a different opinion. Maybe the opinion based sites just don't fit in well on SO. Instead of a conversation about this problem in meta, I'm met with down votes and no real feedback. "It gives you the impression" whatever am I supposed to do with this? Being told that flagging posts that are off-topic is abuse of flagging is not helpful or eveb remotely addressing anything I wasted my time writing here today. If you aren't going to take the time to read and understand what I'm saying, then just be on your way instead of being unhelpful.

Edit: In light of the overwhelming negative and generally unhelpful feedback I've received, I am left to conclude that a reference must be cited for every answer on this particular Q&A. This sounds like a bad idea overall, but I would appreciate a refernce indicating that a sources must be supplied for every answer here.

closed as off-topic by Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 20:45

  • This question does not appear to be about Parenting Stack Exchange or the software that powers the Stack Exchange network within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Please note: ...it gives you the impression. Not true of everyone, I hope. Also, please don't assume a downvote comes from the person requesting a citation. This is a major reason people don't comment when leaving a DV or when there already is one in place. Finally, please do not abuse flagging. There are proper reasons for flagging; that you just don't like something is not one of them. Asking for sources is perfectly appropriate on most SE sites, including this one (within reason.) Flagging such comments can be viewed as abuse. – anongoodnurse May 4 '18 at 15:38
  • Oh i didn't see this comment. Yes i believe it's a proper reason that goes beyond me not liking something and affects the quality of the site – user27219 May 4 '18 at 16:52
  • I attempted to make a clear distinction between somebody genuinely seeking information and somebody making no effort to find information while using it to detract from genuine contribution or discourage participation. Please don't abuse down votes while we're at it. – user27219 May 4 '18 at 16:56
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    It is the obligation of the user answering a question to provide a source for claims made, not that of the commenter asking for them. It is courteous to provide a source when differing with the user in a comment, but not when simply asking for a source of support. You might review the topic on Meta.SO. – anongoodnurse May 5 '18 at 2:42
  • That's reference supports this topic exactly. "When shouldn't I comment? Suggesting corrections that don't fundamentally change the meaning of the post; Criticisms which do not add anything constructive; Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point;" Can you please remain on topic? I have stated clearly that I am not referring to people "simply asking for a source of support." I'm talking about the type of comments mentioned in your link. Nowhere on the aite os it suggested that sources are required for every post. Is this a joke? – user27219 May 5 '18 at 4:32
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    @lyrin - no, it is not a joke. And no, sources aren't required for every post. But when you are asked for citations, providing them will really help, as it is obvious they are needed for those (otherwise they would not be asked) – Rory Alsop May 6 '18 at 22:08
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    See for example your point that a "father figure is required" is common knowledge. I'd suggest that is nonsense, based on the happy, healthy and successful individuals brought up in households with one or two female parents, but if you have a study that has strong evidence, providing a link will help educate me. Without it, you'll get downvotes. – Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 17:49
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's just an opinionated excuse to post a rant and an answer supporting the rant. – Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 20:45
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Bottom line, up front, the downvotes to this post probably result directly from the fact that you openly call members, active, readily available, helpful members of this community, trolls. That, in itself, is a recipe for disaster on any website on the internet, much more on a website dedicated to parenting where we've dealt with being insulted by our very own children.

Now, let's take a look at the content in question, your answers. In one of your currently downvoted answers, you compare a 5-year-old who bit a brother over a toy argument to a child psychopath who murdered family pets and threatened to stab her adoptive parents. In another you say that a behavior of a 10-year-old is similar to serial killers. Immediately off the bat, if those were my questions, I would have downvoted them. "Don't compare my child to psychopaths and serial killers" is the reaction you are most likely receiving, regardless of the rest of your answer. If people highlight this part of your content as being negative, rather than sticking to your guns, calling everyone trolls and being argumentative, instead edit your answer and rephrase your point.

In other answers, you project the argumentum ad populum logical fallacy by stating unverified theories as universally accepted. Two such that I found include "It's very difficult for kids to go back in forth between different households with different rules and values." and your answer about male influences pretty much being a requirement in a stable home, specifically your comment to that answer "Where did you get the idea that it is not factually correct that children benefit from having both parents in their lives? This has been the consensus for a very long time." These aren't universally accepted and somebody else may disagree either based on experience or studies they have conducted. Remember the scope of StackExchange's user base is very large (more than 95,000 visits to this site last month alone). Someone is bound to disagree with blanket statements.

Finally, you yourself specifically mention studies and polls in one of your answers that didn't include links or references to any studies. Quotes like "But all of the studies showing stay at home moms are happier..." and in the comment section "There are plenty of polls indicating that women who choose to stay at home with children are happier, if you care to look into it." show that you know of studies related to this topic yet you don't include them. While no one is directly challenging your integrity, saying that these things exist without including any sort of reference to them is suspect.

Now, to address the rest of your discussion topics:

Anongoodnurse already put one aspect succinctly - "It is the obligation of the user answering a question to provide a source for claims made, not that of the commenter asking for them." Put your studies and your sources up front. This is a question and answer site. Saying that you will provide sources or references upon request leads to discussion which is not what we do.

You certainly don't have to provide a reference for every answer but as you explained in your question here, someone should at least provide something anecdotal. None of your answers provided anecdotal evidence.

As far as commenting, comments are provided to users to ask posters to provide clarification or to tell the user why they are downvoting/voting to close. You may certainly flag as many comments as you want but as far as how many of those will be accepted vs. denied is up to the moderator to determine. Flagging outside of the scope of "No longer needed" or "Rude or abusive" will most likely be denied unless the moderator sees fit otherwise.

If someone asks for a reference, please either provide a reference or clarify your point better. Otherwise you will be left with downvotes. You are not allowed to dictate what people do with their votes and those users certainly have no obligation to give an explain for their votes.

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    Well done and well researched sir. This is one of those times when I wonder why the +1 button only works once. – Becuzz May 7 '18 at 14:06
  • "you compare a 5-year-old who bit a brother over a toy argument to a child psychopath" No, I didn't. Do any of you even read the things you reply do? – user27219 May 7 '18 at 15:49
  • Here's the answer you mentioned where I made it abundantly clear that the asker's child is not being compared to a psychopath and it was posted as an example of extreme cases being treated. Calling people "trolls" was giving them benefit of the doubt that they were only being disingenuous and not that they were failing to understand simple English. Please not that I have not edited this post since your reply. I even put it in italics. Who downvotes recommendations of professional help for behavioral problems? Does anyone here care about kids? parenting.stackexchange.com/a/33878/27219 – user27219 May 7 '18 at 16:13
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    @lyrin - okay: Someshiny was very polite and articulate. You are being rude - we have a Be Nice rule and you are not adhering to it. If you continue like this I will assume it isn't accidental. – Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 17:42
  • Please tell me what you find to be rude. I've read my comments here and they are sincere. I stand behind them. I find it rude, however, to make claims that are inaccurate, whether intentionally or as a result of not taking the time to read the items being commented on. I do not perceive it as "being nice" to disregard things I've stated clearly and pretend something else was stated or implied. People have repeatedly ignored the distinction made between genuine requests for information and trolls. People have insisted I said things I never said. Accusing me of being rude is not helping. – user27219 May 7 '18 at 18:44
  • If you are unable to address my concerns directly, please don't resort to accusing me of being rude for wanting to address them. You are under no obligation to comment if you don't have anything to say related to the topic and I'm already struggling to get a clear, honest response for some of these things. – user27219 May 7 '18 at 18:52
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    @iyrin "Does anyone here care about kids" -- was that a sincere, serious question that you want an answer to, or rhetorical? – Acire May 7 '18 at 20:21
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    @iyrin also "Do any of you even read the things you reply do?" – Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 20:43
  • That's a typo. It should say to*. People have been ignoring the distinction made between those genuinely asking for sources and trolls. The point itself is moot as I have my answer, but it's a fair question to ask when I get replies that are not based on things I wrote. @Erica, both. – user27219 May 7 '18 at 20:57
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    Yes, users here care about kids. – Acire May 7 '18 at 20:58
  • But that doesn't answer the question in the context it was asked. Why take it out of context? – user27219 May 7 '18 at 21:03
-5

It has been made clear that no distinction is acknowledged between trolls and those genuinely seeking sources supporting an answer. You may expect down votes on answers that don't provide resources that are up to the standards of other users.

Edit: I don't think it's the best approach for the site either, but this is the overwhelming consensus so I'm willing to leave it at that. If we can't discern between trolls and people genuinely asking for additional information, then all requests will be treated as made in earnest. I don't think this particular Q&A should be quite so pedantic about sources when a lot of parenting answers are matters of opinion, but just about all of you who have responded make it clear that that's the way it is and shall remain. Down votes aside, this is the final answer to my question/discussion.

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    Okay, so this demonstrates that you are not actually paying a real question looking for an answer. It is simply an excuse to rant. Closing. – Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 20:44
  • What kind of accusation is that to make? This answer represents the consensus of the responses I've gotten in comments a concise manner. Which part of the answer do you not agree with? – user27219 May 7 '18 at 20:59
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    No it really doesn't represent any such thing. The consensus from comments is very much the opposite as far as I can see. Your first sentence is completely wrong.. Yourond sentence is kind of the right direction, but it's not "standards of other users" - it's community standards. – Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 21:06
  • Well, it's not community standards. I mentioned that in the question. Unless you can direct me to the source on that. I was unable to find it. And yes I'm genuinely asking for a source. The standards I found were against the kinds of comments I was talking about in the question. – user27219 May 7 '18 at 21:16
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    Your best bet to understand this at a simple level is to read and understand @someshinyobject's answer. It has upvotes because the community sees it as valuable. – Rory Alsop May 7 '18 at 22:04
  • His answer starts off by conflating people who genuinely ask for help with trolls as if I'm talking about one and the same. That doesn't work for me and I disagree with the community. People going through and down voting all of my answers in main Q&A since posting here is real classy though. I've revisited the posts and can't find any way to improve on them. No feedback is being left. What's that about guys? Can you at least keep it in this post? I highly doubt multiple people just randomly went through several posts of mine to downvote without comment. Come on, guys. Lol – user27219 May 7 '18 at 22:26
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    Remember that a downvote without a comment means exactly what the downvote tool tip says. If someone means something different the usually do leave a comment. – Rory Alsop May 8 '18 at 11:33