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Many answers on this site don't really have tangible sources such as citations from scriptures or the internet. My question is, if someone's answer is based on their practices growing up and conversations they have had with family members and gurus, is there a need for a source to verify that information?

I think that there's a lot of variety in practices within the Hindu community, so it seems useful to hear from multiple angles; some questions will simply have more than one correct answer depending on whom you ask.

Also, sometimes it can be very hard to find an internet source or passage from scripture to support an idea that you internally understand and have been brought up with, but have never sought concrete verification for besides word of mouth.

Should we allow answers based on personal experience and teachings? If so, would it be important to declare that in the answer itself, assuming that no other source is provided (obviously we don't want blatantly incorrect guesses based on nothing at all)?

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  • If they are professional then they should be in a state to mention the scripture name with verse or chapter. IMO. – Mr_Green Aug 11 '14 at 7:22
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    I feel personal experience based answers should be allowed. But it should be backed with some scripture OR words of an established great guru. – Bharat Aug 13 '14 at 19:28
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No, "Personal Experience" alone can not be considered as a source. Since we supposed to provide correct information we need to cite some authoritative source. Visit Can we revisit the sources required rule?

Some information from an answer may help you regarding why we must insist on sources, how sources are useful and If you don't have reference to cite at present and personal experience

Concerning the various points from question:

If you can answer the question based on what you have learned from your guru, you can quote the teachings of your guru but it is better and recommended to find and cite relevant source from scripture or well known scholar/guru. If you're not getting sources, you can ask to your teacher/elders and they will definitely can help you in finding sources from scriptures or scholars.

Now talking about allowing answers based on personal experience, If you think that you can correctly answer the question, you can answer the question but start for finding sources to back up your answer with sources. You can also add a comment like "help me to find and cite some sources" so-that high reputed or knowledgeable and can help you if they find your answer deserves it. You can also discuss in chat-room like Vedanta and Philosophy to get help from knowledgeable users.

☞ So, Your answer needs to be backed up with authoritative sources

In other words, answerers should strive to share their own interpretations but back them up by references to verifiable sources. - Shog9

Note that the answer based only on personal experience can be deleted if lacking of source. See Official policy for deleting answers that don't cite sources for further information.

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IMO personal experience based answers should be allowed. But since in Hinduism there are multiple variations to almost everything, following things should be kept in mind.

  • The answer should clearly mention that its based on a personal experience.
  • The answer should provide more details on the personal experience like, it is commonly practised in X region, it comes from the teachings of Y guru.
  • The answer should share knowledge out of the experience and not the experience itself. SE is not a blog.

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