It seems that every time there is a major airplane related incident, there is a minor flood of questions related to that particular incident.

Sometimes the posters try to couch it in general terms; sometimes the question is clearly specific to current incident.

Should this board deal with questions about specific current events?

I personally feel that questions, and answers about current events will have little to no value in a week, and therefore should not be part of StackExchange. StackExchange is not a discussion forum, and I think questions should have enduring value.

I would like to see a Close-Reason along the lines of: "This question appears to be about contemporary events, and will not have lasting value to future visitors of the site".

What say you?

  • $\begingroup$ Skeptics had a similar discussion. The decision was to close these kinds of questions because the evidence can change rapidly. Air incidents might not be subject to the sort of drastic changes that were discussed there, but new information is always coming to light. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Mar 26 '15 at 20:38

I don't think we need a specific close reason simply because a question is asked in the context of an accident that made the news - Like Federico mentioned usually those can be edited to be more generic, citing one or more examples that may include a current event.

Moderators also have the ability to add a post notice (the one I added to this question for illustrative purposes) and to protect these questions to prevent low-quality drive-by answers.

I do think we need one for questions that are solely asking for speculation on accident causes. (We've already established a policy here on Meta that we won't entertain questions that are entirely speculative - "What happened to Flight 1234?" stuff - and a specific close reason for those seems sensible)


Often these questions will either be disguising a valid question which will help people understand the circumstances of the flight and others similar scenarios (kinda like the XY problem on SO) or be a dupe of such an existing question.

I propose editing them to focus on that underlying question, the asker will find out the information he needs and leave a valid information for future visitors to find and learn from (you know the purpose of SE).


Would it be reasonable to have a Wiki question with a title very similar to this meta question that contains a list of responses to the FAQ?

  • Why don't planes have parachutes.
  • Why isn't FDR/CVR data streamed live.
  • etc.

Then we could close the questions as [Duplicate] and point them to the Wiki FAQ. If someone comes up with a good, well asked question, it could get added to the Wiki.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ We already have those questions (the ones you listed) in the system. So the next time those questions come up, we'd just close and mark them as duplicate of the existing ones. $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Mar 27 '15 at 10:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @freeman is suggesting having a list of those commonly asked questions in one place, not creating wikis for each. $\endgroup$
    – Erich
    Mar 27 '15 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ @erich the Magnificent has read my mind. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Mar 27 '15 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ @erich usually i google before asking a question. If it is duplicate it usually come up first. If not i read a few websites then asking the question. $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Mar 27 '15 at 13:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Computer Science SE has a useful meta post which indexes reference questions. That's very helpful for closing questions as duplicates: first, it makes it easy to find what a question is a duplicate of; second, those questions have a lot of high-quality answers so they are likely to be useful to the asker of the duplicate question. Doing something similar here would be a good idea. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '15 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby that is an excellent post - exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of! I think a similar post linking to all the post-crash Why would... & Could we... posts that have come up & been made into good questions with good answers would fit that format and save everyone time. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Mar 27 '15 at 15:12

Such a close reason might be a nice feature to have, but remember that many times the questions can be edited and made independent from the current events, see for example how this sequence of edits saved this question: https://aviation.stackexchange.com/posts/13533/revisions.

So, in conclusion my opinion is: yes to the close reason, but let's use it only if effectively necessary.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree, the question should only be closed if it is mostly speculation ("primarily opinion-based") or too specific to the circumstances (new close reason?), and it cannot be made more fact-based or general. $\endgroup$
    – fooot Mod
    Mar 26 '15 at 20:16
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @fooot I think it's pretty rare that we can't make a question more generally applicable as long as it's a question that can be factually answered. Even if we're talking about something where the only occurrence was a recent accident good questions would lend themselves to hypothetical scenarios & explanations that illustrate the general case. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Mar 26 '15 at 20:20

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