This question was asked on the Aviation SE yesterday. While the question does contain a kernel of validity that makes it on-topic here (specifically, IMO, whether aircraft can be powered by alternative kerosene-like fuels), the asker seems to go almost out of their way to turn it into a stubborn discussion about the viability of petroleum as a fuel in general.

Given both the (marginally on-topic) content of the question and the subsequent comments, how should this kind of post be treated?


1 Answer 1


If there's a useful question in there, then I would just edit it to remove the non-useful discussion. I've made edits before for that reason, and the OP has usually accepted them. Of course, if I get it wrong or change the question too much, they can always roll back my edit or edit further.

Another option is to ask the OP to edit the question, to make it clearer and more focused. Shorter, clearer questions should get better answers, so there's a good incentive for the OP to do that.

But sometimes the background or context for a question is useful, especially to help avoid the XY problem. That's just something that we have to work out in each case, though, I don't think there's any general approach to that. And the XY problem is probably less common here than on some other StackExchange sites.

(This question may be somewhat related.)


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