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The help center's What types of questions should I avoid asking? says near the top that:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

Does apsidal precession rate have any dependence on the argument of periapsis? Perhaps higher order?

Full disclosure; I do not currently have a spacecraft in orbit around a planet who's apsidal precessions is a problem that I am facing.

In all honesty, I think that this question is simply interesting, that reading the answer will provide insight and understanding to me and future readers, and that another user will benefit both in reputation for posting an answer and just might learn something or have a "refresher" experience when they go back into the annals of perturbation theory to find out how the equation I've cited was originally derived and if any higher order terms were dropped.

This meta answer seems to suggest that each question I ask should satisfy the "actual problems that you face" criterion before I post it. Suppose we started applying that to every single question asked in this site, not just to me, but to all users, new and old, what would happen?

Isn't that realistically too high of a bar to set for asking questions here? What about users who are just interested in these topics for the pure joy of understanding, does this site's mission really exclude them?

I think that we should modify this working and remove "that you face". It serves no useful purpose, and if it were actually applied rigorously to each question the impact would be substantially negative.

Since when is intellectual pursuit for the pure joy of learning a bad reason to ask a Stack Exchange question?

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I agree, to take that wording literally would wipe out hundreds of interesting questions about space exploration history. (Unless, I guess, the questioner is writing a book about space exploration)

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    $\begingroup$ I'm relieved to hear this; it took a lot of guts and courage for me to finally admit both to myself and to the world that I don't currently have any spacecraft in orbit. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 22 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Unfortunately that page in the help center is one of the ones we can't customize. That text comes from Stack Overflow originally, and I think I would have phrased it differently if writing for a site like Space Exploration. The intent of that phrase is to discourage asking questions about vague hypotheticals, like "What would happen if you flew into a black hole?" $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jan 22 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Organic, we can't take it too literally here. Most of the users of SX would use the information here merely to gain a better understanding of what they read about space exploration, which is still a very noble goal. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jan 22 at 15:50
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The practical problems bit was placed for Stack Overflow. It doesn't apply to every site. Very few questions on this site are facing real life problems, and that doesn't apply to this site.

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There is a new-is alliterative user who has asked a whole series of "list" questions. This would pass your "pure joy" test.

I judge each one, and unless I can see a point to the question I select the "not useful" option. If the user were to present some context for the questions, that may well sway my judgement, in just the same way as adding context to a question to show relevance can sway the judgement on whether a question is on-topic.

separate answer, because it's a separate issue

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  • $\begingroup$ It's the one that appears under the number on the left of the question $\endgroup$ – user20636 Jan 22 at 14:55
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This is a question and answer site, not a discussion forum. Crafting a question because you find a factoid "is simply interesting" is not really appropriate.

The question you chose as your example isn't a particularly good one, as it shouldn't be caught by this guidence, as there is an implicit "I have a problem understanding the implications/application of the formulae"

As the text stands, it seems it could preclude self-answers (which are very welcome) so I would suggest the text be modified to somethingmore like

... questions based on actual problems that you face (or have faced, in those cases you are posting an answer with the question.)

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    $\begingroup$ yes, there are. $\endgroup$ – user20636 Jan 22 at 10:40
  • $\begingroup$ Could the person who believes this is a discussion forum please stand up? $\endgroup$ – user20636 Jan 22 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, well played... you had me do more research for you. $\endgroup$ – user20636 Jan 22 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @JCRM I've deleted your answer because I think it is taking things too personally. Uhoh was asking if we should rephrase the "actual problem that you face" part in "how to ask", but most of your answer is unrequested personal advice for uhoh, in a tone that isn't super-friendly. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Jan 22 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JCRM Ok, I undeleted it, but please make sure to keep the discussion here civil, limited to the matter at hand, and as brief as possible. If someone else is behaving out of line, use flags rather than extended comment discussion. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Jan 22 at 15:41

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