The question Is it ok to lift locked armrests on aisle or window seats? has attracted a large number of comments discussing the scope of the question (which I have purged as they are Meta comments). The OP has stated that they do not want to narrow the scope of the question and want to leave it "as-is".

We have discussed this on Meta before (among others):

What should be done in this case with the question as-is?


2 Answers 2


Personally, I agree with the commentators who say that it is too broad to answer / be useful in its current form, because it is asking for legal advice without specifying a country, jurisdiction, or even the air carrier (who could have their own rules / policies).

As one commentator stated, "Do you want to know, for each of the 193 member states of the UN (say), what specific laws prohibit mid-flight raising of an aisle armrest on commercial transport aircraft?"

If the OP doesn't narrow the scope, I believe that it should be closed as too broad, especially considering our previous discussions on the matter here on Meta.

  • $\begingroup$ I second this... $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2016 at 9:07

My personal opinion is that we are too quick to close questions on this site. Most of the time on closed questions I just think about what the harm is in leaving it open. Sometimes it robs people of the opportunity to answer the question. I'll run across questions that are closed as "too broad" or "off-topic" or "opinion-related" and already have a well-written, complete, factual answer.

As for this specific question, and other regulations questions, it would be nice if the asker specified a country, but they often don't. It would certainly be in order to ask them to specify, but sometimes they don't. Often it is someone new to the site who doesn't realize how different rules can be around the world. And a lot of things are somewhat universal in aviation.

I don't think anyone is expecting a breakdown of 193 nations. The best thing to do is:

  • Ask them to specify
  • If you can do like Pondlife did, answer for a single jurisdiction and specify in your answer that it only applies there.
  • If it's truly unanswerable then vote to close.

If it appears that they're looking for regulatory advice for something flight- related they're planning to do then it would be much more important that they specify the country. But if they're asking about lifting armrests I think giving a country-specific answer or even telling why there might cause a problem is sufficient.

But that's just me.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The main problem that I see is that if they ask about a regulation and don't specify where, the answer could be very different depending on the jurisdiction, and we could give misleading information by making an assumption. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Mar 28, 2016 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ Also, in this case the user is not new to the site and has stated in comments (now deleted) that he didn't want to add a jurisdiction, which is what prompted this question. Since he was asked and doesn't agree with the need, how do you feel that this particular question should be handled now? (My question isn't about the "average" situation or the new user who doesn't understand, but rather about this specific instance where the suggestion was made and disregarded.) $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Mar 29, 2016 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ I was not aware that he specifically refused to narrow it down. I don't know why someone would refuse to specify. That's a bit strange. Maybe we'll find out what jurisdiction he's in when we see him on the news after fighting with a flight attendant.:) $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Mar 29, 2016 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ I will concede that with the country unspecified it's impossible to provide a single correct answer which is what SE rules indicate. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Mar 29, 2016 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ I did not refuse to provide jurisdiction, but pointed out that I can't because I'm a global traveller. Also, the question which was pointed to me as the exact same to mine, did not even ask for a jurisdiction. I'm currently travelling, hence would put up a elaborate answer on this meta discussion. $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Mar 29, 2016 at 7:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Firee Don't get in a fight with the flight attendant! :0 $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Firee Then perhaps the "duplicate question" needs to be fixed as well. Finding one question to use as an example does not necessarily make it ok to do the same thing. That's the purpose of this Meta question though: to decide what the community thinks and how they want to handle these things in the future. As far as the "refusal", you were asked and decided that you didn't want to do it. Maybe that's just semantics, but the end result is that you won't do it, hence the question about whether or not it is suitable as-is. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger I did not feel that the question needed a jurisdiction angle. I may be right, I may be wrong. There were those who thought it needed a jurisdiction angle and closed the question, they had full right to do so, then there were those who did not feel that all 193 countries jurisdiction needed to be mentioned, hence the question was re-opened. Please don't single me out on this, because the whole community participated in this. $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Mar 29, 2016 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger I would also like to point out the action of the mod, who closed the question arbitrarily, without even asking me to clarify anything, after seeing that I had already read the other question and referenced it in my question. What do you say to that. $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Mar 29, 2016 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ @firee Please don't feel like I am singling you out!! I'm just trying to improve the site by bringing the question up and having a discussion about the particular question (which you happened to ask). I was using my earlier comment on this answer, which said that you refused to specify, to clarify what I was asking about (since the basic premise of this answer was that we should ask the OP for the jurisdiction; in this case we did and got a response, so now what?). $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Mar 29, 2016 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Firee As far as the action of the mod, there will be different views on that as well and probably warrants a separate Meta question if you want to discuss it. Again, personally I feel that the question is clearly too broad as-is and would have considered doing the same myself. Usually though, I won't close it if I am the first person to cast the vote except in the most extreme situations, but would have if one or two others in the community already had voted to close. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Mar 29, 2016 at 17:48

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