The question Is it true that Canada doesn't stamp foreign passports by default? currently has three 'answers' that are only anecdotes about one-time incidents:

...I recently drove into Canada and I got a stamp in my passport...

...Just arrived in Canada yesterday... My passport was not stamped...

...I have not had my passport stamped...

These do not prove a thing either way. We are dealing with too many variables (people) to conclude anything from one incident.

What do we do with these answers?

Downvote and leave a comment? What comment so that it does not sound too rude?

  • 5
    We can easily conclude that stamping is inconsistent at best, which is something.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 22:53

3 Answers 3


Doing nothing is also a completely reasonable option. The question got other more comprehensive answers, which got more votes than short anecdotal answers, the system worked.

Now, looking at the answers one-by-one, the first answer you listed was useful as a counter-example for what initially presented as a rule (and as such does in fact prove that the rule isn't absolute), pending more information. The other two were typical me-too answers from new users, as happens sometimes on popular questions.

No need to do much about that in my opinion, but commenting or having them converted to comments are certainly options too. A downvote seems needlessly hostile, it's not like the answer is wrong or actively harmful and, with many highly voted answer, there is no need to move it down the list.


Drawing on the sorts of comments I often see on English.SE I'd suggest something along the lines of:

We're looking for detailed well-researched answers drawing on authoritative sources. While individual anecdotes are interesting they don't answer the question of "What is the default behaviour". One data point does not define overall behaviour, and answers on this site should stand alone. Anecdotes generally work better as comments rather than answers.

English.SE comments might also include something along the lines of:

Please edit your answer to include relevant references/sources

but I don't know whether that seems a sensible thing to say to someone who just wanted to share an anecdotes.

You can also flag as low quality, and if something pops up in a review queue click the "This doesn't answer the question. Once you have enough rep you'll be able to comment."

  • 1
    I'm stealing that comment. Sounds great.
    – user40521
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 12:08

For many questions about immigration-related issues, such as this one about passport stamping, it's not possible to provide canonical answers because the canonical rules are not published to the public. So anecdotes are the best we're going to get.

And if the sample rate is high enough, an anecdotal answer can be good enough: for example, I feel pretty confident about stating "your laptop's contents are highly unlikely to be inspected when entering Singapore", because I've entered >100 times and lived there for years, and never had it happen to me or any of my fellow heavy traveller expats.

Obviously duplicate "me too!" answers are useless and should be discouraged/downvoted, but other than that, may the best answer win.

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