Consider the questions of User Danny Beckett:

In general, his questions show consistent fear and paranoia related to flying. I don't consider them a "value-add" to the board.

But is there anything we can practically do about it?

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    $\begingroup$ So am I right in saying that (in essence) your question is "should we allow questions that seem to be about a lack of trust of the aviation system"? $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2014 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Qantas94Heavy: Thats definitely part of it. But I believe it will only be a matter of time before we also get users asking about ChemTrails, Alien Technology, and the use of VORs for mind-control. :) $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Jan 7, 2014 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ @abelenky Too late, since you mentioned chem trails yourself in an answer. But why should we do anything? We can't stop people posting, and if questions are low quality or uninteresting they simply won't attract votes and answers. If they're completely off-topic that's a different matter and they should be closed, but the examples you gave are all aviation-related in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jan 7, 2014 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ I mentioned ChemTrail ironically in response to someone asking about the government modifying the weather. :) $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Jan 7, 2014 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @abelenky If you suspect someone is a conspiracy nutter posting links to conspiracy theories only encourages further nuttery.... I'm Just Sayin' :) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 7, 2014 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ Just for the record, I think this is a question worth asking. I just disagree with the implications it makes. :) $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Jan 7, 2014 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


I don't really feel any of those questions are particularly bizarre or inappropriate. From what I understand, this Stack Exchange is not just for professionals. As such, questions from those who are unfamiliar with aviation are worth careful, reasoned answers.

To address your points, one by one, because I feel that is appropriate to do so here:

  1. Passengers often wonder what they can do in the event of emergencies. In the case of some light airplanes, they often will have to wear a parachute.
  2. Did you read the answers? Why is this bizarre or inappropriate? Plenty of non-pilots have seen Airplane.
  3. As a pilot who went to an aeronautical university, and who has a great deal of understanding of the airline system, I am worried about pilots who have been drinking. It is not an invalid fear; airlines battle alcoholism among the ranks relatively often, and it causes incidents or accidents occasionally.
  4. If you had just discovered FlightAware, wouldn't you wonder why airplanes occasionally disappear?
  5. Are you suggesting that most airline travelers are not completely terrified of hurtling through the air, sitting in 30" pitch seats while approaching the speed of sound?

To summarize, I'm not sure there is anything that we can do other than downvote or flag questions that seem low quality. I'm also not sure that there is anything that we should do.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree: the entire idea of StackExchange is that high-quality questions get a lot of attention and become highly visible; low-quality questions are ignored or get little interest; off-topic questions are closed. Unless questions are clearly OT - and I agree with you that these are not - then there's nothing that we can or should do. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jan 7, 2014 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for questions from those who are unfamiliar with aviation are worth careful, reasoned answers. -- that is part of why this site exists. With the exception of a few very specifically "professional only" sites (cstheory, SF, and a few others) Stack Exchange sites are supposed to handle questions from enthusiasts and the "idly curious", within reason. I don't think we're anywhere near the boundaries of "reason" yet (though the weather modification question is kinda pushing the envelope IMHO). $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 7, 2014 at 17:53

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