As a science-based stack, we do and will inevitable get questions that are, to put it mildly, not based on "mainstream science". Some examples:

Over on Physics, such questions are off-topic and specifically closed as not mainstream science. We have discussed the same here before, and it seems the community agrees that it should be off-topic.

Should we add a custom close reason for questions not based on mainstream science?


2 Answers 2


I agree with adding this close reason as it better highlights why this type of question is closed rather than a generic "off-topic, see the help center" message. We have had a few questions on meta about scope and consensus seems to be that we don't want to have questions like this (Should pseudoscience questions be closed on sight?).

My thoughts are not to apply this close reason to questions that are curious but have the wrong initial thoughts that we can address. I am also not meaning to apply this to potential new theories that have evidence, are controversial but don't have full mainstream support (plenty of our current best theories have been in this phase before).

I am instead targetting those questions actively pushing nonsense physics and, who rely on links to blogs and self-published books for all "evidence" that supports them.

The physics close reason is:

We deal with mainstream physics here. Questions about the general correctness of unpublished personal theories are off topic, although specific questions evaluating new theories in the context of established science are usually allowed. For more information, see Is non mainstream physics appropriate for this site?.

We could adapt this by changing the link to a local meta question. From theirs:

Is non mainstream physics allowed here?

No, questions and answers about non mainstream physics are not allowed here.

We are not a substitute for peer-review, and cannot evaluate new theories. While some questions can lead to legitimate new theories, the question will need to be specific in order to fit this format.

What defines mainstream physics?

Mainstream physics is physics which has been accepted by a significant portion of the physics community. In the case of modern physics, if a theory has not been published in a reputable journal, it is not considered mainstream.

What sort of questions and answers are disallowed by this policy?

Any post that attempts to work within the bounds of what we have determined to be "mainstream physics" is considered on topic for this site barring any other issues. For example, a question that proposes a new concept or paradigm, but asks for evaluation of that concept within the framework of current (mainstream) physics is OK. Similarly, a wrong answer that makes false statements but claims to work within the bounds of a mainstream theory is also allowed.

On the other hand, if a question or answer uses a non-mainstream theory as its premise and attempts to go forward in that direction, it can be safely closed or deleted.

I agree with the above take on the issue from physics.se and would be happy to implement it here.


I agree that we need a not mainstream Earth science close option, and I especially agree with Casey's definition of such in his answer, but I would like to take some exception to the example: https://earthscience.stackexchange.com/q/6928/6. The original presentation of that Q had several problems, but the Q as expressed in the title is legitimate in my opinion.

Of course it is accepted science that the Earth rotates at a certain rate, but it is also true that the Earth's atmospheric circulation is explained in part by the effect of it's rotation. The Earth used to rotate a lot faster.

Exactly that sort of Q is a legitimate tool for understanding Earth-like exo-planets, which we have determined elsewhere is a proper subject for this SE. See Is planetary science on-topic?

  • $\begingroup$ I think there may be many cases where it can be debatable whether or not something is mainstream science. Climate scientists like to test their climate models on peculiar input scenarios, for example. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit Mod
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ I agree that the Q in that title is legitimate and the way it is currently worded is probably acceptable. The presentation the led to the closing was a different case and as is stands now I would support reopening it if It gained at least a couple reopen votes from the community. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ @casey I am getting a 404, page not found, when trying to get to it. $\endgroup$
    – Eubie Drew
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Aabaakawad it was auto-deleted. I've undeleted it so now you can see/edit/cast a reopen vote on it if you'd like. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 13:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Personally I think the title itself is a legitimate question, but the scope of the question is too broad : "Would Atmosphere and life survive?". Once he has the answer to "how would the atmosphere change", then he could ask if life could exist in that atmosphere (e.g. in a different post... but it would need to be much more specific about what type of life). Guess that's a long winded way of saying I would not vote to reopen as it is currently worded. $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe Mod
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ The question is deleted again. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 9:02

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