I recently had to search some historical facts and used History Stack Exchange. I noticed that community there requires people to provide evidence of attempt at finding solution even to non-homework questions. For example, questions lacking any demonstration of attempt at searching answer will commonly get following notice from mods:

Welcome to History:Stack Exchange. Thank you for your question; please consider revising it to be more in line with our community expectations. Like many other stacks, we expect questions to provide evidence of prior research. That helps us to understand the question, and avoids our repeating work you've already done. Our help center, and other stacks provide additional resources to assist with revisions.

Moreover, the same posts also often get notice that Giskard suggested would be worthwhile using on our site.

I think it would benefit our site as it would reduce number of questions that essentially boil down just to 'please google this or that for me'. I noticed that there is non-trivial amount of such questions on our site (e.g. see here - (just casual googling reveals GDP datasets by sectors), or requests for literature without any prior google search (like this one, sometimes even from higher rep users). Or this fresh post.

The post notice would not mean immediate closure/deletion - that is not what they do at History.SE as far as I can see, but it would serve as a reminder for community to consider closing down, and feedback for the user that the question is sub-par with links to useful post offering further guide on how to improve it.

In addition, following Giskard suggestion we already expanded the use of the post notice for unsourced answer. However, many of you might not even noticed because this was usually till now done only for answers/questions that received one or more low-quality flag or were severely deficient (and often further mod investigation showed user was troll so question/answer was deleted), but on History.SE they have further rule that if answer refers to external knowledge it should provide source for it.

I think adopting the practices they use at History.SE in our stack would help to increase quality of both the questions and answers as they evidently did at History.SE (I recommend anyone to just take a look at their stack).

I would like to know if there is any support (or lack of thereof) for doing this form the community.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd need to hear more from the other users on this site, but prima facie I like the idea, and would be down to add this in. $\endgroup$
    – Kitsune Cavalry Mod
    Feb 9, 2021 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ I think its an excellent idea $\endgroup$
    – EconJohn Mod
    Feb 10, 2021 at 1:24
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    $\begingroup$ Meh, sometimes that may result in a more noisy question with not much improvement otherwise. See e.g. recent discussion on biology.SE biology.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4166/… I personally find the aggressive way in which mods spam the "what did you research" on history SE quite off-putting. I literally had a question closed there because I did not read a book and just asked for a summary. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2021 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ The question by "Old man" that you lined to is more a book recommendation question. Some sites exclude those (politics SE) and some don't (math.SE). $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2021 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Fizz we don’t need to do it in the same aggressive way as there. Also that question got edited in the mean time - originally the question did not asked for book recommendation but asked for ‘bibliography’. We can allow people to ask for the summaries of books (there we can ask user for show that the summary is not already just available on the internet e.g. you will find summaries on most classical literature) or recommendations $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1 Mod
    Feb 11, 2021 at 10:53
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    $\begingroup$ This should probably be an answer, but it is quite minor and specific, so I will shy away from that and post it as a comment instead. One thing we could learn specifically regarding tags and tag synonyms is having a dedicated thread for current tag synonym candidates. This has worked very well on Cross Validated. I have implemented it here just now and hope the users and the moderators will find it helpful. $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2021 at 11:56
  • $\begingroup$ @RichardHardy thank you for the suggestion, I will look into it $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1 Mod
    Feb 22, 2021 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


Since this suggestion was well received by the community (as judged by number of upvotes) and all mods are on board we will go forward with the suggestions.

Generic responses to questions lacking any show of effort and unsourced answers that can be used by users were created here and here respectively.

In addition, we (moderators) will expand the use of post notice as well.


From practically dead SE sites (ChemSE and BiologySE)

Don't be an *** to users (common sense I know) but I think overtime, the old users get impression that they can be *** to any new users


From politically contested SE sites (MathSE)

Also don't allow the rude people in community to dominate the conversation, and delete their comments if they start pushing it.

See eg: User deletes account after being acting out as a reaction to hostile treatment.

There are many such cases, this is just one.

Also sometimes, it's better to take a populist approach (see how it's done in Mathsoverflow) and see effect of mods trying to go against it in MO

  • $\begingroup$ The last link is not to MO-Meta. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2023 at 17:10

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