This question has 6 down-votes as of now.

Why? It's a perfectly reasonable question.


For reference, here is the original version of the question which has since been edited:

PIC time with automation, autopilot, auto throttle, FMS, Autoland

Automation, automation, automation, who gets to log PIC, if the First officer programs the FSM and turns on the autopilot at 1000FT AGL while the Captain calls back for coffee?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm guessing due to the tone of the question - it can be interpreted as rather insulting. $\endgroup$ – falstro Aug 21 '17 at 10:00

There are two parts to any post, and the voting reflects both of them:

  1. The substance of the post or the root problem being addressed. How much this gets upvoted or downvoted depends primarily on the usefulness of the question.
  2. The tone of the question and the preparation shown. Even a great question like "Why do jet engines get better fuel efficiency at high altitudes?" can become harder to use, address, or read if this presentation is bad. There are many ways to go wrong here, like:

    • Showing a lack of effort ("Explain why TSFC on the following graph increases with altitude. Can anyone help me?")
    • Lack of relevant information ("Why do engines have different ct at 25000?")
    • Tone/phrasing ("Do jet designers intentionally make engines less efficient at low altitude?" or "please help with this question why is TSFC higher when up at alt")
    • Not communicating the real issues behind the question, possibly because of a misunderstanding of the bigger questions at work ("Can I use the jet stream to get jet-engine efficiency with a turboprop?" or "Would a plane achieve optimal Carnot efficiency in a vacuum?")

The question appears to have had a mix of all these issues. The original post doesn't explain what the author already found out about PIC or explain what exactly he found confusing. He doesn't post relevant information about jurisdiciton, what he means by calling for coffee, whether the first officer is making the major decisions, etc. The phrasing came off as a little like the author had an ulterior motive, and finally, the post skimmed over or made assumptions about things that really should have been addressed right out, like "Does the automation affect who is PIC?", "Does the choice of PIC affect who sets the FMS or works the controls?" or "Do some PICs only call back for coffee when they should be doing more as PIC?"

Honestly, yes, it is hard to see a question with good substance but poor wording and preparation get downvoted instead of having comments and edits. Downvoting instead of commenting smacks of obsessing over question quality or overzealous moderation. It means a potentially great question gets held up and ignored because of issues that are very fixable. Constructive comments and helpful edits, as usual, is the best way to make this site better.

However, as much I dislike aggressive downvoting, I think that downvotes on poorly presented questions do have their limited place. If a question improves it'll get several upvotes over the next couple of months. Additionally, downvotes are supposed to be an anonymous way (albeit not always the best way) of setting useful questions apart from unclear ones. Unclear questions tend to get unhelpful answers.

You may find the following meta posts relevant:


Although it could be a legitimate question, opening with "Automation, automation, automation," and the reference to calling back for coffee, makes it read more like a rant than a question. In addition, the question shows no sign of research - it doesn't even say what jurisdiction it's about - and the original version before it was edited was one long run-on, instead of sentences.

I don't think it's surprising at all that at least six regular visitors think this is not a useful starting point for a fact-based answer about logging PIC time, nor for any explanation about the role of automation in the cockpit. It's the kind of post that would look more in place in the comments section of Aviation Herald or of a YouTube video.

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    $\begingroup$ Language can always be edited, we have done it in the past, I don't see why we should not do it now. I agree on the lack of jurisdiction specification, but to me it seems a bit harsh to downvote for that. $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 21 '17 at 11:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Federico FWIW, I feel your edit made the question much better. One can still argue about prior research, but the tone is much less inflammatory now, while preserving what it looks to me like the OP wants to know. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 21 '17 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ @Federico I think Dan is right. Now that you've edited it, it's back on the plus side. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Aug 21 '17 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ @mins It's net +2 now, but I don't have the rep here to see the vote breakdown as up/down. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 22 '17 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling still +9/-7 no one removed their downvote, as far as I can see $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 22 '17 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico Where does one look to see the upvote/downvote history on a question? $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Aug 28 '17 at 23:42
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    $\begingroup$ @RalphJ click on the score and you see the tally. You can't directly accesss the history, but sampling enough times gives a good estimate. $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 29 '17 at 4:57

I downvoted because it seems to be a question based on the rather dull trope that airline pilots are just computer operators. As the other Dan says, there was no real research, the actual question is quite unclear and doesn't show any real attempt at research.

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    $\begingroup$ If the OP is not enough informed about the pilot job, it's also a good opportunity to explain the misunderstanding, the question is perfect for such answers. If we generalize your approach, misinformation will continue, and posters will also infer that the "pilot community" is so touchy they don't tolerate criticism. $\endgroup$ – mins Aug 21 '17 at 12:02

I don't see a problem with it in any form. I read it simply as, if it's in an autonomous state of flight who should log the hours. Many aircraft not only commercial aircraft have versions of automated flight so it wasn't meant as an insult. I am guessing it differs from military aviation to some degree. Both pilots log the flight time the same unless they stepped out for a smoke mid flight as does the non-pilot flight crew.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Derek, the question has been changed since the original form and is much better than it was in the beginning. Take a look at the revision history to see what started this discussion. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Sep 15 '17 at 16:16

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