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User benn's answer to this question What-plant-is-this-does-anyone-know-name was fine and appears to be correct, but he provided no corroboration for his answer. In the comments, he states that he's grown the plant that he identified for 20 years; this is all well and good, but just stating "It's a yucca" without a species attribution and no citations is really a useless answer to others who may have the same question. And with 20 years of experience, I would hope that they could've added cultural information of their own, rather than a link, such as the soil medium used, watering schedule, watering amount, sunlight, etc. so that the person who asked the question (and any future readers) could have as much success they've had.

So - is there a way to require users to provide some sort of evidence for their claimed answer? Is there a way to encourage this, at least, in the site's policies? Do we even want to go down that route? I'm looking at this from a position of "what's most useful to users of this site", and I find unconfirmed, anecdotal answers - especially those with no cultural information, if appropriate - as not being particularly helpful. Am I being too pedantic here?

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"Unconfirmed anecdotal answers", great phrase, so typical of many answers on this site and in many gardening books. There is definitely an area of opinion in gardening and I feel much of it revolves around location. That prized perennial in your garden is a nasty invasive in mine. The qualities of growth, resistance to pests, height, width, hardiness, suitability all seem to be up for debate depending on where you are or what point in time. I recall the Bradford Callery Pear heralded as a good plant in your garden, twenty years later it is rightfully looked on as a bad choice for most urban environments.

However I do agree that identifying the plant is a pretty low bar that is attainable and mods do have tools to encourage people to add details although they rarely work. The number of users who come back to add more details to their answers is vanishingly small.

So that leaves the community with the choice of deleting poor answers or hoping that comments will encourage them to do better.

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    I think the only way that the site could "force" at least a weblink citation is to have a required field on the Answer page for the link; a user couldn't post the answer without completing the field. BUT I believe that we would massively discourage answers from a large number of users who won't be bothered to do the research. I think a better option would be text on the answer page that says something like "For plant identifications, please add at least one link that confirms your identification." Not required, tho. Maybe use one of Bamboo's answers as a template in the How to Answer section?
    – Jurp
    Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 1:12

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