Why did this 737 not take off on first attempt? has me wondering. In full, that question (by Cloud) is:

This video shows a 737 'near miss' takeoff. I'm curious as to why the aircraft did not take off as expected, i.e. is there anything obvious from the video?

I'm assuming the speed and payload would have been within the expected limits, so wondering if someone can explain what happened.

The two first words are a link to a Youtube video.

Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer? on Meta Stack Exchange is pretty clear, and very often cited all over the network: answers that only point elsewhere are not answers; answers need to be meaningful even if no external content is accessible. (A case can probably be made that images hosted on Stack Exchange's Imgur subdomain are not really external content, as there is presumably some sort of contractual agreement in place there, but it's a nice touch if also images hosted there are not needed to get at least something out of the answer.) Yes, that's about answers, but I think questions should be held to a similar standard.

The question Why did this 737 not take off on first attempt? was closed as primarily opinion-based.

There was then some discussion in the comments, followed by the question being reopened, including by a moderator.

Which pretty much leads me to my question: Does a question that is solely reliant on external material to be answerable meet the definition of a good, on-topic question?

Consider if Youtube removes, or restricts access to, the video in question. Or even shuts down completely, even if only to users in in some location. Or if the user who uploaded the video to Youtube decides to remove or restrict access to it. At that point, the question becomes meaningless and, for all intents and purposes, unanswerable.

I'm not arguing that video cannot be a useful element in a question, but is it not reasonable to require a question to stand on its own even in the absence of the video?

If someone posted a question about something, and I simply posted a link to a video in an answer, I'm pretty sure that would be (rightfully, IMO) deleted as not an answer. So why not hold questions to the same standard?

Admittedly, though I didn't participate in either closing or reopening of that question, I would have chosen unclear what you are asking rather than primarily opinion-based for the close reason, but still...

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    $\begingroup$ please note that the "Your answer is in another castle" is what it says, it is about answers. You're raising it against a question $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico Yes, I am, because it seems that the same basic argument should apply to answers as well as questions. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


My view is that this arises from the technological limitation that we cannot cache a video on Stack Exchange.

The question, itself, is clear to me. If we allow a question to stand based on images only (e.g. "identify this" questions), then the same argument should apply to videos as well.

Realistically there are not many places to host video content. I mean, what should we do? Host in a DropBox, OneDrive, Vimeo as well? Maybe put it on GitHub? The focus here is what happens when the video is unavailable. While YouTube has its limitations, I would argue that it is probably the best medium (at the time of this writing) for distributing videos given the audience spectrum of this site.

In certain cases, a description of the events in the video might be desirable. However it should not be "applies to all" requirement because, well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

TLDR: Status Quo looks good to me.


To what kevin says I'll add only a few notes.

  1. If you think the question needs extra information say it in a comment. We are not mind readers around here, if you vote to close because you think the question needs more information, but there is not a comment saying that, how do you expect the question to be fixed?

  2. If you have the time, edit it yourself. If you think a verbal description of the video is needed, and you have a couple of minutes, you can edit the question yourself, it makes things faster.


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