I'm seeing a lot of questions on this site that

  1. Are really basic fact questions, e.g.https://mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/61/how-strong-and-big-was-hercules or https://mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/24/was-hera-and-zeus-siblings
  2. Stories that cite a specific myth, but don't quote from that myth or otherwise link to it. e.g. What is the meaning of not giving clothes to supernatural helpers?
  3. Answers that don't cite sources and just state mere speculation: https://mythology.stackexchange.com/a/71/62

I think the problem with all of those things is they aren't talking about specific stories. I think this is bad for a number of reasons:

  1. There is no way to independently verify claims that are made.
  2. For me, mythology is about stories, and not about "Is god x married to goddess y".
  3. It's hard to answer questions if you don't know what story the asker is talking about.
  4. There are a lot of basic fact questions that aren't very interesting to answer.
  5. We don't know what version of the myth the question is asking about unless we can see the translation.

My proposal: every question and answer needs to quote from a specific myth or an outside source. I think that will make the cite a better resource.

  • 3
    I'm going to plug Keshav's mythology answers on Hinduism.SE again. While I think that holding all answerers up to the Keshav standard is a bit onerous (since most people are not anywhere near as mythologically-well-read as he is), it's a good thing to aspire to.
    – senshin
    Apr 28, 2015 at 20:11
  • 1
    Although I wouldn't want this to be a requirement, I think it would make sense to encourage posts that quote from actual stories with our upvotes and discourage those that don't with our downvotes.
    – yannis Mod
    Apr 30, 2015 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


I do see your point, but I'm not sure that saying you need to quote from a myth or a source necessarily helps (though in a lot of story-specific cases, it will). Also, do you mean that the asker needs to state "As in XYZ, 1980, Title", or that "In the famous myth of Zeus and So-and-so..."?

In your first example, "fact questions" can be answered by referring to different sources. The asker's point (that Hercules is generally described as big and strong, or that Zeus and Hera were siblings) are answerable by looking at a range of stories, regardless of where the asker got the original information from. In other cases, the question will be wrong (such as here), in which cases, comments are useful to clarify the source, but otherwise, I don't think citing a specific myth or source would necessarily help the question, especially if they're seeking a "consensus" answer that requires consulting lots of sources.

In your second example, I personally think that the question was quite clear - it was about a class of mythical creatures that show up in a myriad of stories. This can be answered by seeking answers by creature, rather than by myth. I don't think adding a specific story in this case would necessarily enhance the question.

In your third example, an answer not citing sources and being mere speculation is more of an issue. This should definitely be discouraged, as I think it is currently being at the minute.

Basically, I think there are two separate issues - should questions require mention of a specific story, and should answers require sources and be more than speculation. I think the answer to the second should be yes, and the answer to the first can be discussed. However, I err towards allowing questions that don't quote a specific source, as I don't think it's necessary in all cases.

EDIT: I've seen a couple of your comments on questions, and when it is unclear what mythos the question is about (e.g. vampires, which appear in many different mythologies), then it is definitely worth specifying which "version" one is discussing. However, I still believe that your second example does not describe this issue.

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