This question was published yesterday Why is lead radioactive? and within a day it has been viewed 2000 times. From its view count alone we can assume that this question is mulled over by most people and have questions regarding the radioactivity of lead. Because the questions premise is wrong Chemistry.SE community has voted to close (Now its 4 votes) it. My question is whether its good to close down a question to which world wants to know the answer
I mostly agree with MARamezani, just because questions are popular it does not mean they belong to the site or should not be closed.
In this specific case, however, I would argue differently. Just because a question is based on a wrong premise, it does not mean it is not worth asking. The wrong premise must come from somewhere. I truly believe that debunking a myth, like ringo and loong did in this case is far superior to closing it down, preventing it from getting more attention.
For the same reason, I answered a question today, that was based on an outdated concept and premise (Which d orbitals of sulfur take part in the pi bonds of SO3?).
If we consider questions that are based on misconceptions, outdated and/or false information to be off topic, we can never expect those to vanish and I always thought that was the case.
On a side note, I do think this question should have been closed, but not for this reason. I think it is a much better fit for physics though. That being said, imagine the question would have been:
Is Lead (Pb) radioactive? Radioactivity refers to release of alpha beta gamma rays. What property of Lead would it make it so?
Would you still have voted to close this question for the given reason?
For example, one question could be:
Why is lead radioactive?
Lead is considered the heaviest stable element. Nevertheless, various lead isotopes are radioactive. They are subject to $\alpha$, $\beta^-$ or $\beta^+$ decay, or to electron capture. Which properties of lead radionuclides are the cause of the radioactivity?
However, this question is not really specific to lead, and the answer is mainly related to nuclear physics. I suppose, such a question is what some users had in mind when they wrote their comments, answers or voted to close.
A slightly different question may be:
Why is lead radioactive?
Lead is considered the heaviest stable element. It is used as a shielding material against radiation. Nevertheless, any ordinary piece of lead is itself radioactive. What is the cause of this radioactivity?
This is the question I had in mind when I wrote my answer. It may lead to further radiochemical questions: Where do the radionuclides that are found in lead come from? How do they get into lead? Why are some radionuclides removed when lead is purified and some are not? Can radionuclides escape from lead or lead compounds? Why do some materials contain enhanced activity concentrations of lead radionuclides? What are the potential radiological consequences caused by lead radionuclides?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: I haven't seen the case here yet. But on meta.SE, you'll see some very interesting instances of...well, I recommend clicking on this:
Some people there go whining about why a question with xk views and y upvotes just gets closed or locked1. The problem is,
Popularity isn't always equal to quality
Sometimes a question gets upvotes because of its popularity, not quality. SE sites are there for having a quality-oriented source of expert questions, not just some popular questions like:
Does benzene have a resonance structure?
How do I figure out how many electrons are in each shell?
(I used chemistry non-real examples, as I'm not targeting anyone)
Questions with a flawed premise are most-likely unanswerable. If Loong was able to answer the question well, that doesn't mean someone can answer the other ones incoming. According to the broken windows theory, we should stop these from coming in the future, if we want to preserve the quality of the questions.
Edit: I also thought it would be nice if I linked to some of the meta.SE posts about this very issue.
Why was a 3 year old question which was voted up heavily and viewed over 9000 times blocked? Heck, the answerer even talks about the broken windows theory. Would've even looked like plagiarism to some people!
1: Actually, those questions from SO were questions that asked long before the changes done to the SE model, and that's why they're there for "historical reasons". But, all in all, the point was to not not close a question just because it's popular.