Mods have a new option to add post notices. There are three basic notices currently available but MO specific notices could be added:

  • citation needed - This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

  • current event - Post is related to a rapidly changing event.

  • insufficient explanation - We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer: please explain why you're recommending it as a solution. Answers that don't explain anything will be deleted. See Good Subjective, Bad Subjective for more information.

You can read about the intended usage and history on meta.SO. (I gather the main purpose was for use on Skeptics.)

Should post notices be used on MO? If so, when?

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    $\begingroup$ Wow... Wikioverflow much. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila fortunately you can only have one post notice at a time. (And I think a total of three banners per post, though that limit rarely gets hit) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/165006/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/172571/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ That was my reaction too, @AsafKaragila, but it made sense when I saw it was intended for Skeptics... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ @François: I'm skeptic about that. rimshot sound here $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ @François, you may want to use the policy tag for questions like this, it will make it easier to find them later. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ One more thing: I don't know if you had it in SE1.0 but in SE2.0 you can protect questions so new users who haven't gained at least 10 points on MO cannot post new answers to them. You may want to try it sometime on one of old questions with large number of answers. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ regarding the post notices, I have never used one directly. The notices that come with locking are more useful, for example, if an old question is no longer considered suitable for MO you can lock it and add a notice stating that this question is here for historical reasons. See this for an example. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ It seems, though, that post notices would serve a different purpose; steering away from closure rather than explaining the fact. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf, instantrimshot.com is what you're looking for. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry: I know. I even installed such app on my iPhone and I'm using the rimshot sound in real life. Although a better usage of this is the crickets sound, when I ask the class something (e.g. "So this set is uncountable, and therefore ...") and nobody answers I'd play it. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 8:47
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    $\begingroup$ Am I the only one who finds the wording of the “Citation needed” notice, copied-and-pasted from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Unreferenced, quite silly? This is not an encyclopedia. The users are not writing “articles”, we do not have any local equivalent of the “reliable sources” policy (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:RS), and while including references in answers is often helpful, posts do not get “removed” here just because of being “unsourced”. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek, this is definitely worded for Skeptics and probably doesn't apply to any other network site. Notices would have to be tailored for MO to make sense here. For example, "missing context" makes a lot more sense than "citation needed" but since post notices are exclusively managed by moderators, neither makes much practical sense. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I see what you did there $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


While it's conceivable that having these might come in handy once or twice, I don't think you'll use them very much. Prior to coming aboard at Stack Exchange, I was a moderator on Stack Overflow for two years, and I think I used them twice, perhaps three times. It was the 'insufficient explanation' banner. The repeating scenario was basically:

  • A very terse, barely informative answer to a question was accepted and highly up voted 'by those in the know' so to say
  • Feedback indicated that people were frustrated with finding that answer while searching
  • The author was asked in comments to expand it, a few attempts to edit helped a little but not much
  • I was considering just removing the answer altogether and wanted to make that clear to anyone finding it that could improve it, and to the author of the answer if they happened to look at it

The first bullet item should generally not happen, it's quite exceptional, and I believe it would be even more exceptional here, I'm not sure if it would even happen. I don't think current event would ever be applicable here as well.

You might find some use for citation needed - though I'm at a loss to come up with a scenario.

They exist, they're in your tool box - so think of them kind of like that screwdriver that works on only one or two irregular types of screws. They make much more sense on other sites.

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    $\begingroup$ The three options are certainly not tailored to MO's needs. However, since MO posts have lasting documentary value, I think similarly minded post notices could be very handy on MO. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 21:36

I find that post notices are a good feature, but are rarely needed.

The first one usually applies to questions which make a dubious claim, and continue on the premise of the claim. They need not be closed, since an answer that says "your claim is wrong, because [...]" is perfectly acceptable (so the question is answerable).

It similarly applies to answers which seem dubious and have received comments screaming [citation needed] -- a post notice is a good way to indicate the dubiousness of a post.

"current event" is pretty obvious: Use it when a question/answer contains stuff which may suddenly become outdated in the near future. I've not had to use it myself yet.

"insufficient explanation" could become a very useful one, especially for science sites. On Physics and Chem, we often get tiny posts that are technically an answer to the question, but quite unsatisfying.

However, the current wording is directed to answers to recommendation questions. I'm actually going to go and request that this be changed for certain sites. You can still (ab)use it to put a sticker on one-line answers with no conceptual explanations :)

  • $\begingroup$ Since it's a mod-only thing, it better be rarely needed. It might be handy for what we used to call "borderline cases" (that happened very rarely) but the three (current) options are not suitable for that. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais You may be able to request a post notice (not sure of that). What exactly is a "borderline case" in this context? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ It's impossible to define "borderline cases" exactly and notices wouldn't always be suitable. There's a bunch of historical examples at tea.mathoverflow.net In some cases, a notice could have easily prevented a close war... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais Oh, want to prevent close wars? Check the mod menu for a "lock" option (in this case the "content dispute" reason applies), and proceed to rub palms gleefully. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Manisearth: to prevent them, not to stop ("postvent") them. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais Ah, right. Still, post locks are immensely useful when people keep editing/rollbacking or close-warring on a post. (Also, you need not explicitly ping me on my own post; I get pinged anyway). $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely! And I love the fine tuning that post locks went through. (Default reflex, when I don't want to care which browser tab I'm typing in.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais ah, I see :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais Keeping you in the loop, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/186087/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 16:11

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