I have a question about my Medical Sciences Stack Exchange post: Why does an infectious disease move into an area, and then out of it?
A moderator instructed me to provide proof that I researched the topic. When I declined to do so, I was told that it is a rule. I'm surprised by this rule (and truth be told I dislike it), but if that is the rule here, I understand I have no grounds for objection.
What really struck me about this though is that the links I was given (the tour, the help center, a meta question, a specific help center page, and guidelines on good references) do not anywhere describe this as a rule. Consistently, the language is of a strong suggestion: "tip", "to improve your chances of getting an answer", "should" (rather than, e.g., "must").
I understand, of course, from all the above links, that my question is unlikely to get an answer if proof of research is not provided. I understand that, as advice, it is sound. What I am asking is for clarification on the background of the decision to close my question as "off-topic". In particular:
- If there is a rule which makes this advice into a requirement for an "on-topic" question, where can I find it documented as a rule?
- If it is generally understood to be a rule but is not explicitly documented as such, what can I do to help improve that documentation?
- And lastly, if it is in fact not a rule, can another moderator review this decision?
The question of whether this should be made into a rule was raised five years ago. No consensus was reached at the time.
The question of what kind of research is expected was raised six years ago. Both answers suggest, again, that demonstrating research is simply a good practice for attracting answers, and not a firm rule.