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I'm trying to gauge what the ratio of "in my experience, _____" and "According to _____, ________" is on this site. For example, rpg.stackexchange bans "in my experience, ______" answers.

Food safety tag guidelines call for relying on expert advice, but beyond that, I'm not sure.

In my answers, should I focus on finding other sources that OP can read further on?

  • Do you have a link for the RPG policy you mention? I'm assuming it's a little more refined than that, given that I've seen plenty of answers drawing on well-explained personal experience there. – Cascabel Aug 23 '16 at 17:23
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Links to additional resources are basically always helpful, though sometimes they may be overkill. On many questions, optimal answers would probably provide more support than average answers do, but it's not something we can really make a policy to change.

So there aren't really specific, universal rules. Sometimes writing about your experience is appropriate, and sometimes solid scientific justification is appropriate. Sometimes you're fine without science and extra sources, sometimes it's essential. The best way to sort it all out is by voting and perhaps commenting.

So, good fragments of answers that wouldn't need any serious scientific backup:

  • "(in my experience) pasta soaks up liquid when stored in the fridge, so you can't expect leftover pasta mixed with sauce to be the same as it was originally." - that's fine, doesn't need expert science to verify.

  • "evaporation is faster at higher altitudes, so baking often requires additional liquid and/or shorter baking times" - good, the scientific explanation is there, no need to cite expert sources or anything.

Again, links to additional resources are likely still helpful even in those already good cases. Deeper explanation may or may not be helpful, depending on the question. (Simple questions don't need a dissertation for an answer.)

Bad fragments of answers that could use more sources, and might turn out to be wrong upon looking for sources:

  • "it's dangerous to eat X" - controversial safety claims should have support.

  • "it's fine to do X, I never got sick from it" - this happens all the time; as you've noted we want expert advice for food safety. If that's all that's in the answer we may just delete it, since an anecdote doesn't actually address safety.

(deliberately not providing complete examples, to avoid somehow starting debates)

If you see something that you think is in the "bad" bucket, please feel free to downvote and/or comment! If you see something that's probably in the "good" bucket, I'd suggest living with the lack of experts/science, and upvoting if the answer is useful, though if you have additional resources to suggest you can always comment or edit. It's up to you to decide what needs backup and what doesn't, and what merits upvotes and downvotes.

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