I visited the review queue today and found this answer: How to drop weight. That resulted in a chain of meditation that I thought I'd move to review, because it certainly wasn't appropriate for a comment.

One of the things that attracts me to MA:SE is the notion that answers should be researched. Researched isn't a boolean value; there are answers which are researched, and there are answers which are models of how to do and cite research.

The answer in question is, in my opinion, closer to the low end of that scale; it presents an unattributed anecdote. There are sufficient details to be useful, but it also includes some material that is (based on my research) questionable (e.g. "don't eat after 6:00").

How high do we want to set the bar? Am I overemphasizing the value of research? Am I interpreting "researched" too narrowly? Is this answer closer to "discussion" than research?

I certainly could suggest that the answer would be more valuable with citations. That would be true, but I'm not sure how constructive it is, and whether the benefit outweighs the probable chilling effect.

So I'll click on the "not sure" button, and come here to ask those wiser and more experienced than I. What is the desired community standard?

2 Answers 2


I edited the original version of that question, and I am a little surprised that it has been accepted.

I think anecdotal experience is an awesome and valuable answer. I also think this is a totally "well I heard this at the gym" unsupported mish-mash of methods.

I don't think we should downvote or delete it, or prevent it from being posted. But I don't think it's a great answer. That's not because it's anecdote, however. Anyone who has done a weight cut for an MMA fight has an instant leg up on me and most (if not all) the people answering that question. I just would prefer more backing on the "why" of the method.

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    On subsequent reflection, I looked back at many of my answers which are no better researched than this one was. I believe that many of the best answers I've seen have had significant research. Research is a big value add but not a "floor".
    – MCW
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 12:22

The thing with Martial Arts is it's a really niche topic, so there isn't that much research on it at all. The exceptions would be widely practiced Olympic sports, so if it's not Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Tae Kwon Do or Fencing, good luck finding research on the topic in question.

Try to find anything conclusive on exactly how blood chokes work. I can say with certainty that it's not blocking blood flow in the carotid arteries, but aside from that I can't provide a definite answer for what's going on instead. I can suggest several alternatives, but that's as far as it goes. Even the studies that have been performed on chokes don't explain what's going on, and some falsely assume that it is blocking blood flow through the carotid arteries.

It's also important to remember that there's two types of research - lab research, which is the context of most studies since you can control it and test for a single variable, so it lets you give a definitive answer about something (even though that definitive answer might not apply outside the narrow constraints of the test) or field research, which consists of observing things that happen and trying to draw conclusions about it. That's what most people are doing when answering questions, except we usually haven't documented everything that we observed.

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