I would like to propose that the scope of questions that are unsuitable for this site be expanded to include those where it is apparent that the user:

  • is clearly unsuitably qualified to attempt a practical procedure that they are seeking information about, and advice given on this website could lead to a hazardous situation arising. Example: Do I really need to wear safety glasses when I'm adding my 50:50 water:ethanol mix to my 1L bulk concentrated nitric acid beaker on my open bench?

  • is asking questions that would raise suspicions under the scope of 'chemicals of security concern'; those chemicals commonly used in drug and bomb making activities. I'm sure other countries have similar guidelines. If I had someone ask questions under this category at work, I'd be obliged to pass this information on to higher authorities. Example: What is a suitable alternative to ammonium nitrate that I can obtain in large quantities?

I cannot see this documented elsewhere, so forgive me if I have missed this.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ If you encounter questions of this category, please flag them so they can be handled on a case-by-case basis. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Nov 21, 2013 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ I have done so, but having this category would make it easier. It would also make it clear in the documentation that these type of questions are inappropriate. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – long
    Nov 21, 2013 at 19:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yeah, these are best dealt with case-by-case. Though there is something to be said about making a objective policy for these if possible. $\endgroup$ Nov 21, 2013 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ Don't get me wrong, I would happily have a close reason for these, but being able to gauge the ability of the person asking the question is tricky. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Nov 21, 2013 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ I assume that comments would be included in this 'scope'? It should since we're already censoring those as evidenced by my previous comment being blown away without notice. If anyone could explain to me why it was or what rule was broken, please feel free to communicate properly and explain why the following comment was deleted: "So I can't ask you guys how to make meth? Whats the point of this community anyway?" $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2013 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @LordStryker I deleted your comment, not because it mentioned "meth", but more because it was not really contributing anything constructive to the discussion. It was worth a chuckle, so I left it there for a while and then got rid of it. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Nov 26, 2013 at 1:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @jonsca I believe my original comment created and delivered an important (but somewhat obvious) point while keeping things lighthearted and humorous. $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2013 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


I'd advise against the idea to consider questions regarding chemicals of security concern generally inappropriate.

I have little to no professional experience with high-energy materials, so I can't really comment on those.

I can however imagine a manifold of legitimate questions touching the area of controlled substances related to drug synthesis.

Personally, I'd definitely search myself, using sciencedirect, the Web of Knowledge, or run searches on the websites of the ACS or the RSC, rather than asking here or on other Q&A sites. But that's probably just a matter of age and attitude. The times are changing.

To sum it up, I definitely second jonsca's suggestion to handle it on case-by-case basis. This community has a lot of experienced members, that will be able to sort the nutcases from students that just use different strategies to tackle their systhesis problems.


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