I have a question Would NASA be financially self-sufficient if it could keep revenues from patents? which was put on hold because it seems to be opinion based.

To me the question is pretty straightforward: take the budget (which is easy to find), take the revenues (which are hard to find) and compare them.

I think the comparing is probably the main reason for putting question on hold (could you confirm that?), so I would rephrase it to ask only about the amount of revenues (as the fact that I cannot find this number is primary reason for this question). But this would change the question heavily.

What is the suggested procedure? Shall I delete the original question (and delete answers, which already are valuable) and ask another one, completely rephrase the question to ask about revenue amount (and turn answers pointless) or leaving as is and asking another one (and risk closing as duplicate)?


3 Answers 3


tl;dr: edit or respond quickly to helpful comments about phrases or words in your question.

To help things along I've made some small edits to your question, left a comment there, and clicked the "vote to reopen" button.

Here's my personal take on this. It's a good question to ask, and there are good answers.

The good answers demonstrate that answers would not be primarily opinion-based and so now leaving the question closed for that reason is not the right thing to do.

It's not a travesty, but I personally think it sends the message to others that closing or at least leaving something closed for the wrong reason "because it's easier" is somehow OK.

Very occasionally a question might be closed out of concern that it will attract problematic answers from new users. The procedure is to make the question protected rather than to close it though.

That said...

Starting with the phrase "Somewhere I read that..." and then leaving it there after the very first comment says:

It would be helpful if you could supply a link for Somewhere I read. Maybe that shows more than just opinions.

made your questing more vulnerable to closing. You could have simply deleted those few words and just asked "Could NASA be self-sufficient..." But you chose to leave it there, and so...

Also it seems you didn't heed the third comment's insightful suggestion:

According to NASA's patent website, they do charge fees for their patents.

Of course that requires babysitting your question, which it seems you did based on the timestamps of your subsequent comments, which is great! Next time I'd recommend considering editing your question quickly if you see suggestions like that, or replying in a comment explaining why in this case you don't want to edit because that phrase is key to your question.

If it were me, I'd say "I've gotten several up votes, two good answers, and plenty of experience there and in meta, and if I really have more to ask, I'll ask a new question which draws from this but is new."

While incredibly well optimized to work well with large, diverse groups of imperfect humans, Stack Exchange is imperfect as well.

Having a question closed smarts at first, but after a while, as long as it doesn't happen often, we realize that there's no stigma to having an occasional one. There's no inherent negativity in it.


The purpose of closing a question is to encourage the poster to improve the question by editing it. Asking another one is not the idea. Take cues from the comments left, and from the reason for closing. If that isn't enough, ask for clarification in the comments under your question.

The answers to your question, in this case, also explain why one can only speculate on this topic. If you refine your question, those answers may become out of date, depending on how you edit it. That's okay, though. The answerers have the option of editing their answers, or they can let them stand as is, and others may answer the refined version.


Edit it and make it better! That is sort of the point.


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