There's an old question of mine which - as I just found out - has over 5k views at the moment. Now the question is kind of stupid, since I didn't have much experience when asking it. It's this one:

Can I use sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to remove oxides from metals?

However I just checked the help center, and it does not say that questions from inexperienced people are off topic.

So why was that question closed?


The question was closed with the "other" reason, and the following comment was left as a hint:

Questions shall demonstrate at least a minimum understanding of the problem being solved.

This is somewhat understandable, since there are some problems with the posing of the question, that would probably require digging deeper into basic chemistry, explaining first acid-base and then redox chemistry, essentially making the question too broad.

To extend a little more: In the first part, you are mixing acid-base chemistry with redox chemistry. While there are reducing and oxidating acids or bases, this in no way a property that can be assigned to every single one.
In the second reaction, there is a misunderstanding: nothing is getting reduced or oxidised. You can check that with assigning oxidation numbers to each side and see that none of them change. This basically renders this part unanswerable.

The question simply asks too much, and you can see that by the answers that were given. They focus only on one part each. They also did not gain any votes, as they are rather short and somewhat vague since the question itself is not very focused.


While I cannot speak to the reasons chosen by those who closed the question initially, I can address why I voted against reopening it a few minutes ago: the question is too broad as written and requests an answer in the form of a list (both are frowned upon here).

There is a hint of a homework-like quality to it - I actually put your question in the non-homework, research-oriented category and thus would not close it for such - which runs afoul of site policy as well and for which reason one might choose to close the question.

If you narrow the scope of the question, I certainly would vote to reopen. As it stands, there are a couple of votes to do so, in which case you would not need to appease me.


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