There is a user that recently started asking questions, that some of us see as pointless discussions about noob stuff. Things about butter and melting ice with salt.

The guy seems to know nothing about chemistry. And while his questions cannot be answered easily via Google, they seem irrelevant to the professional chemist, which we show by ignoring the questions. These questions do not get much attention, neither positive nor negative.

Do we discourage these questions? Should we close them?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Agreed, Mith can be very upfront with his comments sometimes, but he acts in the best interests of Chem.SE. I'd recommend that you don't dwell on that particular comment. IMO those are perfectly legitimate questions you've asked there; I'd call them "everyday-chemistry" questions, not "noob" questions though (Mith was probably jesting). If we had to close questions like those, I'd be the first target. Congratulations on making it to the 2k rep mark! We're indebted to mhchem (both the LaTex package and the person) O:) $\endgroup$ Dec 14 '17 at 12:33
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I'm a noob and I welcome noob stuff. $\endgroup$ Dec 14 '17 at 13:47

We do not want discussions. We want questions with answers. Whether or not these are pointless, or noob stuff should be determined by voting.

As with chemistry, I don't really like too many generalisations, especially not on the fuzzy interpretation level. There certainly are questions that are too basic, which becomes too broad in terms of answering them, which would make them off-topic. Otherwise normal criteria of closing should be applied.

The question about physical and chemical change is problematic though - and you see that with the reception. I don't want to answer it here, but in very short terms, it is very opinion-based. However, the comment you linked to is noise and should probably better not have been left. The user might have instead simply down-voted and moved on.

In conclusion: I would decide these things on a case by case basis, let voting be the guiding factor. I certainly don't want to discourage curiosity. And I most certainly do not want to close such questions.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ too broad =/= off topic. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Dec 14 '17 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan If the topic is to ask about actual problems, then questions without focus (broad) are off-topic. At least that is what I mean. $\endgroup$ Dec 14 '17 at 10:21

We don't want discussions. But we also don't want a hostile site that obnoxiously dismisses people as unworthy "noobs". Everybody "knew nothing about chemistry" once. Nothing in the help centre says that the scope of this site is restricted to "professional chemists".In contrast, answering questions that can't be easily answered with Google is pretty much the raison d'être of Stack Exchange.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .