I originally posted an answer to a question about TsCl where I claimed that the central sulphur contained double bonds to adjacent oxygen atoms. Jan (rightly) corrected me on this claim, informing me that - in fact - TsCl does not contain double bonds between the sulphur and the oxygen.

While this is true, TsCl is commonly drawn with double bonds, and this property (albeit inaccurate) leads to simple explanations for various properties. In line with this previously asked question, is a simple answer that over-approximates or relies on technically false assumptions still worthwhile to keep on this site, given that it could make answers accessible to less technically versed audiences?

And if so, should there be some sort of a statement claiming that this answer is oversimplified?

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    $\begingroup$ I think, very broadly speaking, if you make an assumption in science, then it is good practice (and perhaps even your responsibility) to state that you are making said assumption. That really applies to all kinds of scientific writing. In principle, posts here should not be any different. An answer that is simplistic and recognises its own limitations is always going to be better than an answer that is simplistic and offers no explanation. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Mod Nov 4 '16 at 14:16

Using certain models in chemistry one should always be aware of the limitations of the model itself. I believe it is absolutely necessary to teach limitations of a model alongside with its use. Therefore I think a disclaimer is appropriate.

That said, any answers, even wrong ones, that attempt to answer the question should be kept. There often are misused concepts out there (like VSEPR) and an answer in those terms will certainly show up. It's somewhat our responsibility to shed light on when to, and when not to use such simplified approaches.


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