I came across this answer on looking at a question in the sidebar. The answer was accepted and upvoted 6 times. There is a linked study, but it is a counter example (it is cited as a demonstration of a case where the answer doesn't hold), and even so, it (the study) doesn't directly address the question or the statements made in the answer.

I've noticed a banner on some questions to the effect that an answer is not supported by sources and can be challenged. How would I request that banner for an unsourced answer?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think you should comment as you did. The banner can only be added my moderators. You could flag the answer to make the moderators aware of it. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ Mod here - Flag it and we'll have a look. In addition, and arguably even better - downvote. People are reluctant to do it, but it's the SE system. I downvote frequently, especially in case of poor answers like unsourced material. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD Thanks! I downvoted it straight away. People seem reluctant to vote at all on this SE, down or up :) Only 112 of 32000 users have voted over 300 times... $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ @DeNovo After reading that answer, I can see where Alan got confused (and then I think you followed the lead of his comment). However, I don't think that answer actually disagrees with yours. I just think it is not written very clearly. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ I read that answer as having three parts: A) Oxygen moves via diffusion, B) Diffusion is not instant, but the only way you would get RBCs with different oxygen concentrations after they are mixed is if they are in contact only very briefly, and C) This very brief contact and then separation does not happen. I agree the referencing is a bit indirect, though, and I like your approach that compares to gas exchange in the lungs. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause interesting. You may be right, that could be what he meant. $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


As discussed in the comments, the resolution here is:

Users who would like to challenge an answer that doesn't have references should

  • downvote (this is particularly important)
  • leave a comment explaining the concern about references
  • flag as "in need of moderator intervention", with an explanation describing the lack of references and requesting a banner, (e.g. "needs citation banner", per @theforestecologist's comment)

I'd add a note that I'd encourage more users to vote on answers and challenge those without adequate references (or with references that don't support the answer). Generally, answers here are good, and many are excellent, but I'd personally like to see as much of a focus on voting on and cleaning up low quality answers as there is on voting on and cleaning up low quality questions. (Hence the bump today).

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    $\begingroup$ I generally flag with "needs citation banner" to keep it quick for the mods. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 22:02

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