This question fits together with:


The problem is, if this site takes on the tone of a middle school science club, we're not building a site for experts. It's really too early to judge, but this site has the early earmarks of our failed Artificial Intelligence site, with a conspicuous lack of expert-level questions (and answers) posted mostly by the merely curious. I hope we can overcome that hurdle because I like this subject, but I don't find the questions (or answers) all that intriguing or insightful.

What should we do with unprofessional questions? Downvote, close, ignore?

  • $\begingroup$ DV and close. Simple as that. $\endgroup$
    – Undo
    Jul 21 '13 at 0:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Even if they're well-researched and could be interesting? $\endgroup$
    – gerrit Mod
    Jul 21 '13 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ If they're off-topic, at least vote to close. Upvote if you want, but at least close. A question could be a very interesting one about verbs and nouns and such, but still wouldn't be on-topic. $\endgroup$
    – Undo
    Jul 21 '13 at 1:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ By definition "there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers". Also applies to unprofessional questions. Improve the question or help the OP to do so and give a sound answer! $\endgroup$
    – s-m-e
    Jul 21 '13 at 5:13
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I must have misread the spiel about this site, I could have sworn I saw 'enthusiast' there, my mistake. $\endgroup$
    – user92
    Jul 21 '13 at 6:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not a space exploration professional, so it seems to me that my questions are not "welcome" here..but I am professional developer and I'm wondering what if in SO only pro questions are accepted..I see that question per day are slowing now, so I would encourage every kind of question..when there are more questions you can be more selective.. $\endgroup$
    – user55
    Aug 2 '13 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ @trapo It's normal that the number of questions are slowing down around this time. I can't speak for SO, but I don't think we should encourage every kind of question. If we are dominated by poor quality, we will lose or fail to attract experts, and get in a downward spiral. I'd rather have a smaller number of good questions and answers than many poor posts. Blindstaring on Area51 statistics might motivate otherwise, but I think — I hope — the Stack Overflow team also looks carefully at quality. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit Mod
    Aug 2 '13 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ Every kind is pro and not-pro questions. Just wanted to specify if not clear from previous comment. $\endgroup$
    – user55
    Aug 3 '13 at 6:31

I want to add another component to this discussion. This was prompted because I checked the Stack Exchange Network-wide list of hot questions, and I saw that the nuking Jupiter question is on there. That's a way that traffic is driven from other Stack Exchange sites to this site.

As I glance at meta, I notice some backlash against certain types of questions. Notably, crackpot theories and well as sci-fi topics. There is a longing to see "day-to-day problems" of people in the industry. I think this wording captures the thinking well enough:

If we want to be on good terms with space agencies...

For people in this camp, I come bearing bad news. I can only find two questions with over 1,000 views.

I just want to point out that the degree of disconnect between what the site pioneers want to see in the site and what drives traffic to the site almost comically huge. There's a disconnect between what drives traffic and solidly industry-related material.

I think that our active users understand site policies well enough. But we also need to consider the reality that if 90% of our traffic should eventually come from Google (as per Area 51 suggestions), then content that drives traffic may be at odds with the site objectives.

Just wanted to throw that out there...

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I have been struggling with similar thoughts. I have made a couple post on meta, about this topic. I have a couple more similar questions brewing and will not be offended if they are voted closed when posted. (*and I am feeling kind of embarrassed by my entry into space.stackexchange.com/help/badges/26/popular-question *) $\endgroup$ Jul 31 '13 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ Good news is that the original sensational title "Will colonists on Mars have superhuman abilities?" did not grow wings over night with only 22 visits. Now it is "Will colonists on Mars appear to have enhanced abilities?" has reasonable title a great scientific answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 1 '13 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesJenkins I try to avoid this "political" view in my meta answers, but I'm fairly strongly an inclusionist - meaning that I really hate deleting or even discouraging additional content. But I don't have a problem with closing questions, because they aren't deleted. Closing should be a part of the back-and-fourth of defining a site. The correct answer to the gunpowder one is quite technical and has to be dealt with sooner or later. I'm not against sci-fi questions myself, they range from good to bad. $\endgroup$
    – AlanSE
    Aug 1 '13 at 12:29

This sort of goes back to the should science fiction type questions be an allowed question.

Personally I think it should be allowed and my reason why is because science fiction is just a theory or idea as anything else in science. Just because we can't do it now doesn't mean our future wont make it so.

I also believe that we will limit our community base if we make our site completely professional. Some of us might take interest in space and read the occasional NASA front page or be subscribed to ESA but we are not experts. Personally if a question interests me I am going to research it and if it's someone else's question and I find research on it I am going to read it and share my new knowledge about it but I'm not a professional when it comes on space exploration.

I think we need a better set guidelines of questions but space exploration isn't like Math on SE. We are not going to have people posting homework questions (at least not as often) but that's because our topic is still such a new idea to most of us. I think we should see how questions keep going through this experience and let the community decide these guidelines, and if it become really obvious what exactly is an unprofessional question then we will address it.

Plus I bet more people have become professional developers/programmer through Stack Exchange then an other platforms and thats people at first there were programmers but what really made it was the ones interested in learning it or asking help with the less professional or even normal programming questions. I know I did.


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