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I have been giving this some thought since the discussion of Freud and pseudoscience came up and I have come to the conclusion myself that maybe a different approach needs to be made to what we are currently looking at.

With questions in meta such as Should we close questions about Freud? and Community-answer for questions on Freudian psychology and the main site's question Is Freudian Psychology a scientifically valid contribution to the Cognitive Sciences? there seems to me that there is a bit of bias in having these questions towards the possibility of banning or not banning discussions on Freudian and maybe Neo-Freudian theories.

There was a question regarding pseudoscience withinin the subject of NLP when discussing Removing NLP tag and within that discussion there was a response whereby it was felt that along with , we should have and removed.

As demonstrated in my extensive answer in Should we close questions about Freud?, for reasons outlined in the answer, my thoughts are that "pseudoscience" within Psychology should not be considered off-topic within Psychology.SE if Psychology is on-topic. Plus when discussing a Community-answer for questions on Freudian psychology in meta, I pointed out in the comments that

This proposal would be the start of a slippery slope. If you stop discussion of Freud, what happens to Carl Rogers et al.?

Carl Rogers and many others could be considered pseudoscientific and therefore off-topic on this site.

My proposal: Lets get the whole issue of pseudoscience sorted out once and for all.

I propose we do the following:

  • Let's stop the Is Freudian Psychology a scientifically valid contribution to the Cognitive Sciences? debate

    It is biased against Freud and could be seen to be isolating the psychodynamic and psychoanalytical theorists and therapists out there. It is also counterintuitive to scientific debate if you shut discussions down like that.

  • Let's set up a new community-wiki debate on "What is considered Pseudoscience within Cognitive Sciences"

    This again can be linked to within comments, questions and answers, while allowing for further scientific discussion within questions on the main site and within meta at a later date when new or alternative theories come up.

    This also then, is not biased against Freud, and it would be completely unbiased.

  • We do not close or hold questions on the basis of pseudoscience unless it is pseudoscience outside of the scope of this site (Psychology and Neuroscience). We use the community-wiki not for closures, but as a preamble or adjunct to comments and answers on anything considered pseudoscientific

    This then is not isolating anyone from the debate and questioning within the subject of psychology and neuroscience.


As another possibility, it is suggested in the comments that we also have a custom post notice stating something like

Whilst this post is on-topic, it needs to be noted that the topic may be considered pseudoscience within the community as defined in


What are everyone's thoughts?

  • I appreciate the initiative (+1), but I see some mixed messages here. You both argue to stop the 'is it a scientifically valid contribution' debate, but then argue a discussion should be opened on what is 'considered Pseudoscience within Cognitive Sciences'. Isn't this essentially a superset of this discussion? I would agree with your third point (not close/put on hold questions on the basis of pseudoscience), but perhaps the question to ask is, which answers do we allow to questions which the majority on this site labels as pseudoscience? – Steven Jeuris Jun 25 '18 at 11:51
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    To reiterate, I totally agree questions based on pseudo-scientific premises which fall within the domain of Psychology and Neuroscience should be allowed; I much prefer them over questions which do not make their premises explicit, which should be put on hold as 'not framed within ...'. But, we could put guidelines in place on how to deal with such questions. For example, we could try to request a custom post notice to be added on such questions, redirecting to a community-wiki debate on what is considered pseudoscience by the majority. – Steven Jeuris Jun 25 '18 at 11:57
  • To clarify @StevenJeuris I'm saying stop the Freud debate and make it an unbiased pseudoscience debate which is your last point – Chris Rogers Jun 25 '18 at 12:01
  • A post notice does not close questions. I would allow them to remain open, but add a notice that the question being asked is from a viewpoint which is held to be pseudoscience by the majority in the x and x community. – Steven Jeuris Jun 25 '18 at 12:05
  • Oh, I see now. That is indeed what you meant by 'preamble'. :) So, perhaps as per the link I linked you to you could create a separate feature-request for a custom post notice (and concrete description) like that to be added to Psychology & Neuroscience. – Steven Jeuris Jun 25 '18 at 12:08
  • I could do that if everyone is in agreement. However, if someone doesn't put the preamble on pseudosciences in their answer, it could be added in by someone through an edit. – Chris Rogers Jun 25 '18 at 12:20
  • One category of questions that pops up over at biology.SE and I've seen a few of them here as well are those that effectively pose an unanswerable question because the question is of zero scientific interest. That is, it is impossible to produce a source disproving a claim that is so poorly framed in science. I think there has to be at least some control on what sorts of pseudoscientific premises are allowable. – Bryan Krause Jun 29 '18 at 21:45
  • @BryanKrause - Hmmm I see your point. That does need some thought – Chris Rogers Jun 29 '18 at 21:54

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