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Where can I get information about the FAA "restricted like" license to fly a N aircraft in Italy / Europe?

Do (or can) pilots observe religious fasts when flying?

Why don't airplane piston engines have mufflers?

Who logs Pilot-in-Command time with all automation, autopilot, auto throttle, FMS, Autoland doing the flying?

How much bigger could you realistically make the Antonov 225?

Where can I find reports of accidents/incindents happened on ground?

Why has Boeing used mini winglets on the 737-200?

etc...


  • All the above questions have (or had) a downvote.

  • All those questions are reasonable, even if some editing might be required.

  • None had a comment explaining what was wrong and justified a downvote, leaving the OP without explanations nor a way to improve

  • Most if not all of those questions are from new-ish users, that get put off by the downvotes and probably will end up leaving the site (example)

Can we please stop doing that?

Is the post in need of an edit to polish language and terminology? Do or suggest the edit, downvoting without commenting is not going to solve the issue.

Is the post unclear? Ask for clarifications in the comments, and optionally vote to close, downvoting without commenting is not going to solve the issue.

Is the post off-topic? Vote to close, downvoting without commenting is not going to solve the issue.

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    $\begingroup$ More interestingly, we should ask the question, why are these posts downvoted in the first place? What may seem as a random downvote to one person, may be perfectly reasonable to another. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Sep 6 '17 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Sanchises as I say in the post, unless they comment, there is no way to know. And for the new user in particular, this is utterly confusing. $\endgroup$ – Federico Sep 6 '17 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ I was hoping my comment would inspire them to share their reasons in the answers below. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Sep 6 '17 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for misunderstanding you. $\endgroup$ – Federico Sep 6 '17 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – Federico Sep 28 '17 at 15:03
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I agree, but I'd like to explain. I think there aren't any hard lines to draw in cases like this so it's hard to take immediate action, but I'd personally like to see more help and less of an obsession over weeding out the bad posts. These questions have particular issues but I agree that most of them shouldn't have been downvoted.

I know many of us are problem-solving people, but the interpersonal problems are just as big as the question-quality problems here. Scaring off a user usually isn't the best solution (I say usually because some users do refuse to follow the rule and improve their posts). We don't want to be like some user forums or Reddit subs that drive people away by having difficult-to-understand rules. We also don't want to take Draconian action like closing questions when a comment would have been more appropriate. However, (although it sounds cold to say) we can afford to mark unclear, hard-to-answer questions as such, even if it means driving off a small percentage of users who won't improve their questions to meet quality standards.

There are some bad reasons to downvote, which may be in play here:

  • The asker sounds naive (but otherwise the question is answerable).
  • You don't like the topic
  • You find the question hard to answer (but an expert on the topic wouldn't)
  • You don't agree with the opinions of the asker ("The FAA is totally awesome guys, so...", "I think planes are just way too loud....")

I used to struggle to understand why downvoting even exists, but it in part exists to clearly segregate high-quality questions, that are researched, thoughtful, and clear, from low-quality questions. Low quality questions aren't just boring, they're hard to answer correctly. Low quality questions attract answers that don't actually solve the asker's problem.

Downvoting without leaving a comment is allowed because it's supposed to be anonymous, which yes does attract some judgmental or even sadistic behavior. However it's also unreasonable to expect every downvoter to comment on a post.

However, most of these questions listed do not fall into that category of questions that are hard to answer and probably won't solve the asker's real problem (with the exception of the PIC question, and maybe the "How big" question).

Some of these questions have legitimate issues. For example,

  • "Why don't..." questions often show little research. Even if they are well researched, they're hard to answer concisely unless the asker has listed a narrow scope and their specific assumptions about why it would be better.
  • The "how much bigger" question has a very broad scope and shows very little preliminary research.
  • "Where can I find" questions in general are often hard to answer because there often is a reason the asker can't find the information (e.g. it's valuable and protected by corporations).

That being said my personal policy is "Don't downvote because the question sounds dumb. Downvote because the question seriously needs to clarify something or change something, and leave a comment if you can. If the question personally frustrates you, it's usually best to move on to questions you do want to upvote."


You may find the following post helpful: What purpose does downvoting questions serve?

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    $\begingroup$ There was a user around about a year ago who asked a long series of "Why can't..." questions. Almost every single one was addressed with a "You could, but it isn't done because..." answer or comment. The first several were dealt with mostly kindly, after a while, downvotes became appropriate because he didn't learn. I think that is (vaguely) where the line is drawn. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Sep 14 '17 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... While I agree to some extent that disagreeing with the opinion of the question author is not a good reason to downvote, the question unnecessarily containing the author's opinion in the first place might be a good reason for such a downvote. Questions whose answers would be necessarily based on opinion should be closed as such and questions that are more an expression of an opinion than an actual question should both closed and downvoted, IMO. That said, while I've seen that a few times on this SE, I'd say it's relatively rare here compared to some of the more controversial SEs. $\endgroup$ – reirab Oct 6 '17 at 15:13
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I would like to share my point in this matter as a new user of the platform:
I have been using this platform for almost four months now, but just for looking for some answers, never answering or even asking myself any questions, and I have to say that this is a wonderful way for young or aspiring pilots, or just aviation enthusiasts to share and learn new things.

But everything is not so wonderful. I have seen in many forums and communities some random cases of bad attitude to newcomers with the result of people leaving the forum without their question getting solved and even banning of some users and I would hate to see that in this wonderful platform. Last of all, sorry if my posts aren't really well spaced and structured, but I still don't know how to use this text editor.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand you reference to a forum, or to forums and communities. I hope you understand that SE sites, Aviation.SE included, are explicitly not forums by design. $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 20 '17 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ Please check this page aviation.stackexchange.com/help/formatting it may help with the formatting problem :) $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Sep 28 '17 at 23:36

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