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A comment on a recent question:

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about pseudoscience.

received numerous votes and noting we have no "official" policy on this I am proposing the following:

Pseudoscience is explicitly off-topic and questions should be immediately closed

The alternative, as I see it, is to debunk the pseudoscience, but I feel this would be better served on skeptics.se than on this site.

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    $\begingroup$ I suggest migrating to skeptics.se, where the question is suitable for that site (i.e. not a dupe there, has a clear cited claim that can be addressed, etc - they have quite stringent criteria). Otherwise, close it. (EDIT: Er, if the Skeptics.se people are happy for us to do that....) $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Feb 10 '15 at 9:56
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    $\begingroup$ If such questions were to be closed immediately would it be done with or without an explanatory note such as "This question has been closed because it no scientific basis" $\endgroup$ – Fred Feb 10 '15 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred That is up to the closers, but ideally they would say that and link to this meta post. $\endgroup$ – casey Feb 10 '15 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ I fully support this idea. Let there be no question or uncertainty as to how these type of questions are to be received on the site. $\endgroup$ – user889 Feb 10 '15 at 19:30
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This is always a difficult issue. In some cases, the source of these questions is not some crackpot who seems to spread his or her theories, but rather a general member of the public who wants to understand.

We should be careful here - closing such a question would only serve to distance the asker from science and perpetuate the "scientists-in-ivory-tower" idea.

These are the kind of questions that lead people to ES.SE from search engines, and a well written answer can keep them here to read more. This is much better than "this is not science, go away". One of the main problems of modern scientific practice is the lack of proper science communication. We can do our small bit here to improve it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, very pertinent points - these questions provide an opportunity to objectively disprove crackpot theories - and as I have seen, several sites (even here on SE) have the ivory tower problem. $\endgroup$ – user889 Mar 26 '15 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ Definitely agree. Ideally we should first try to get the OP to improve their question, by backing up claims (as Michael did here), or see if an actual answerable question can be split out into a new question, before closing. Ideally this site would help increase scientific literacy among the general public. Closing questions without a good reason (that is understood by the OP) is as good as a middle finger to a scientifically illiterate person. Polarised views of science are already a big problem. We should avoid making that worse. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 1 '15 at 2:49
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Such questions should be closed. Science is science, pseudo science is not. The name of this site is Earth Science, not Earth Pseudo Science.

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  • $\begingroup$ 100% agree with this $\endgroup$ – user889 Feb 19 '15 at 13:28
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    $\begingroup$ Who decides the truthiness of a claim? It's happened many times that the scientific majority has held a consensus view that is later found to be wrong (NB: this statement does not cast any aspersions on any existing claims). I think this kind of rigidity is overly simplistic, and not helpful. It is the edge cases that are important. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 1 '15 at 2:52
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I think that pseudoscience questions and religious questions should be accepted as long as the answers are scientific. Earth SE could be a place where people can get conspiracy theories explained.

Answers that don't use scientific methods and, if needed, trustworthy references should be deleted.

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With this, I would state that unsubstantiated or long-discredited conspiracy theories (including chemtrails) should be closed on sight.

However, I would suggest not to delete them, as invariably there will be future posts of the same that could be closed as duplicates.

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