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Lately, it seems like there have been many questions tagged for closure that are guilty of little more than ignorance of the subject matter? Despite the fact that they may seem ignorant to those of us in the aviation industry, these questions are not really in violation of site guidelines. For example, when a non-aviator asks a question about the dangers of tabletop runways or the safety margin of 1,000 ft vertical separation, because of something they saw in the news, shouldn’t we be glad that they bring their questions to us? Is this supposed to an experts-and-professionals-only site that turns away amateurs and civilians?

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  • $\begingroup$ I see no comments/indication that anyone thought these were dumb questions, other than you!?! $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Aug 10 '20 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Jamiec Both questions have 1 down-vote (first one also has 4 up-votes) and both questions have close votes (currently 1 and 3 respectively). I guess this question is about the close votes. BTW, Both reviews finished with Leave Open 1, 2. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Aug 10 '20 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable I know, did you read my answer below? Close votes do not mean "I think this is a dumb question". Nor do downvotes for that matter $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Aug 10 '20 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Jamiec Sorry, I saw the comment before reading the answer :) I agree with "Close votes do not mean "I think this is a dumb question"." In fact, the second one only has votes on opinion-based, which certainly has nothing to do with "dumb question"... $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Aug 10 '20 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly, that second one is borderline opinion based, but as it can get a good subjective answer "1000ft separation is ok because....." I left it alone $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Aug 10 '20 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Jamiec: I don't think there is such a thing as 'dumb questions'. It just seems like everytime a question comes in that uses improper terminology or shows a misunderstanding of aviation principles, it's not long before the downvotes or close votes start. Perhaps these weren't the best examples. They were just the 2 most recent cases that some people seemed to dismiss too quickly. By asking this meta question, I don't mean to imply that the system doesn't work or that the majority of people are doing anything wrong - just as a reminder to a few that amateurs should be made to feel welcome. $\endgroup$ Aug 10 '20 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ "a few that amateurs should be made to feel welcome" - I don't honestly see any evidence that that isn't the case. Making a blanket statement seems somewhat counter-intuitive if you ask me. If you see rudeness, flag it. If you disagree with someone else's down/close vote move on. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec Mod
    Aug 10 '20 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Jamiec: Fair enough. I apologize if I misread the situation. $\endgroup$ Aug 10 '20 at 13:01
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The short answer is most definitely NO - questions should not be closed just for being dumb. There is no such thing as a dumb question as long as (and here's the important part) they are on-topic.


With that said, your specific examples do not make much sense.

  • The first example you cited entered a queue for "first posts" and received 1 vote that it was off topic and 3 votes for "leave open". The system worked. One person's opinion was overruled by the majority.

  • The second also entered a first post queue where it was voted to close as opinion based. This resulted in another queue which ended with 3 leave open and 2 close votes. At the moment this question remains open, although it may still be closed as more users vote.


The "system" appears to be working exactly as it should. I see no evidence that either of these questions has been unduly targeted due to being "dumb questions".


Edit: Having determined the motivation of the asker for the 1,000ft question, I cast a vote for opinion-based. They were asking about the motivation of ATC for not separating by more - which nobody except the controller themselves could answer

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    $\begingroup$ Jamie, look at the last 4 point of aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/80546/… and then tell me that there is no such thing as a dumb question? Most questions aren't there - naive, perhaps, but not "dumb," but some really, actually are just plain old terrible dumb questions. IMHO, of course. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 25 '20 at 3:07

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