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To start off, I'll borrow something @DanHulme said in chat a while back:

"Review votes" aren't supposed to be a democratic decision about whether each post individually should be allowed. They're more like a judging panel to collaboratively determine whether a post adheres to the site's rules (of topic, being a question, etc.) like in a court of law.

In other words, more often than not, the reviewers need to be on the same page.

I voted to close the following posts:

  1. Does a dataset with the rejected flights by FAA exist?
  2. https://aviation.stackexchange.com/q/71836/14897
  3. How to compute drag coefficient for falling book?

  1. Is asking for resource location for an aviation dataset, which is off-topic.
  2. Same as one, asking for "flight-related data". (Ignoring that those that have the answer will likely have signed NDAs.)
  3. Is not "Aerodynamics (related to aircraft)".

All from Help Center > Asking > What topics can I ask about here? See also: Should we answer non-aviation aerodynamics questions?

► Now, I'm not saying I'm right, and those that voted leave open are wrong. It could very well be that we are facing an issue with defining what is on-topic.


  • I'd appreciate the mod team and reviewers revisiting those three posts.
  • How can we best tackle this ongoing discrepancy? It also sometimes leaks into the comments of questions creating bad noise for newcomers, and rarely individual posts are discussed here on meta.
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    $\begingroup$ *sigh*. Of course you're not wrong, but how to tackle it is limited by the available platform. We'll discuss as a mod team but I'm not sure there's much that can be done. Downvote the question if you think it's no good (for the site). $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Nov 25 '19 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ Agree in all three cases and voted accordingly. While the linked meta post isn't drastically clear cut (11 vs 7 votes), the help centre clearly says they're all off topic. $\endgroup$ – Notts90 supports Monica Nov 25 '19 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ The opening comment on democracy and judging panel is a bit nitpicky. There may be difference of opinion amongst the judges, which boils down to the same. $\endgroup$ – Koyovis Nov 26 '19 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Koyovis: I'll take that as a request for clarification (though I suppose you down-voted already). You can continue past the "opening comment" for context: Here are cases where the judges aren't judging by the law when it is clear. Instead they judge each case by mere personal opinion. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Nov 27 '19 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ @ymb1. The Keep Open voters have explained why the questions should remain open, and why keeping them open does not break the law. On the first case I would ask you: is asking for the location of a free resource, like a website, considered shopping? On the 2nd case: which resource is asked for here? Is all data resource, and asking for data therefore automatically against the law? How about data that can be found in aeronautical subject books? On the third one: depends where the book is dropped from :) $\endgroup$ – Koyovis Nov 29 '19 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Koyovis: ok that last bit was funny, thanks :) I want to answer all those questions, but I can't in a single comment (I tried). your concern (what is on-topic and why) is not what is being discussed here, and the reviewers you mention have been invited here (the right place) to state their argument -- you can A) post an answer B) start a new question with those points C) invite me to a chat room $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Nov 29 '19 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ Your #2 isn't asking for a resource location, it's asking for a number. Absolutely a different case than #1 + #3 (which I agree are off-topic). I posted a pretty lengthy comment on #2 as to why it's a fair question... I could answer it in an informative way if asked about my aircraft; does the fact that we don't have a Beluga pilot here make the question suddenly off-topic? $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Dec 1 '19 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ: My help center interpretation: imagine the same question for every plane/airline the askers want to ask about, now you may see my POV how it's become flight-related data. Asking about CI in general and what the numbers mean would be perfectly on-topic. Anyway OP deleted it before it was closed, and I doubt this post (which is about the process in general) had anything to do with it. Next time it comes up, we can have a meta post for it. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Dec 1 '19 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ Always relevant is this Meta.SO on LQP/NAA $\endgroup$ – Machavity Dec 4 '19 at 15:30
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How can we best tackle this ongoing discrepancy? It also sometimes leaks into the comments of questions creating bad noise for newcomers, and rarely individual posts are discussed here on meta.

Well, there you have your solution, bring it up on meta every time you see it happening.

Not discussing things is the worst possible way to go about them.

Discussing on meta brings attention to an issue, that leads to people becoming aware and engaging, and learning. (there are the and meta tags specifically for this)

That meta post you reference about non-aviation aerodynamics is 5 years old: newcomers will most likely never have seen it, and old-timers have probably forgotten about it. Mentioning it on meta or in the comments (within reason) is the best way possible to make other people aware of it.

Another thing people can do, is always motivate their close votes by leaving a comment under the post they are reviewing.

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  • $\begingroup$ RE 5 years old: It turns out the on-topic page covers it. I've revised the post. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Nov 25 '19 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ymb1, thanks for pointing that out. Still, my suggestion to bring it up on meta and commenting stands, it is a practice that helps everyone. $\endgroup$ – Federico Nov 25 '19 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ BTW I already +1ed your answer, as I don't know what much else is there. But on a personal note: If I don't leave a comment after a vote (close/leave open) it's usually because I'm short on time and/or thinking I've made the obvious call. Also past experience tells me it's best to avoid the aforementioned "noise" in comments and the associated pings (example, though there were more severe ones), because in the end it turns into a localized debate, even if resolved, and the next question is rinse, repeat (it gets tiring). $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Nov 25 '19 at 14:59
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Question #3 is most definitely a parody of a genuine aviation question.

I once spent 6 months working on a very similar real life problem where something unexpectedly fell off an aircraft 40,000ft above the Amazon rain forest, and we were very interested in finding it to figure out why it fell off!

Many of the indigenous inhabitants have myths about things falling from the sky, so if we could get a reasonably accurate fix on where it had landed, there was a fair chance that some shaman on the ground might have spotted it.

There wasn't a successful conclusion to the exercise, but we certainly did a lot more work and research than looking up a few formulas in textbooks!

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  • $\begingroup$ That's a physics problem. And good thing it wasn't the front that fell off :D $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Dec 1 '19 at 19:08

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