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I have a question about my Chemistry Stack Exchange post: Action of sulphurous acid and active metal

I wish to ask what went wrong when I asked this question. I feel that I followed all the rules and was very clear in what I was asking this question.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think if you specified a metal, it would be easier to reopen your post. $\endgroup$ – A.K. Mar 21 '19 at 15:32
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I downvoted because any answer to the question has a bigger problem to address than how to distinguish $\ce{H2SO4}$ and $\ce{H2SO3}$. That is the fact that $\ce{H2SO3}$, for all intents and purposes, does not exist. That's why your Google search doesn't tell you anything; it can't tell you what chemical reaction to use to distinguish something that exists from something that doesn't.

There's nothing wrong with not knowing something, but it can be a problem when the entire premise of a question relies on you practically assuming the existence of $\ce{H2SO3}$ (or it being comparable in some way to $\ce{H2SO4}$). The answer then has to address that issue, instead of focusing on the actual question posed (how to differentiate them).

If you're specifically referring to an aqueous solution of sulfur dioxide, then I suggest editing your question to clarify.

Downvoting sounds cruel, but it is not a judgment of you. It just means that as it stands, in my opinion, the question is not generally a helpful one to other people, including future visitors, for the reasons outlined above. That is not necessarily your fault.

FWIW, I don't necessarily agree with the closure, but I do stand by my vote (for now, at least).

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I didn't vote on your question, but if I were to speculate it appears that your question ask for us to do the research for you. While I can understand that searches may be unhelpful for finding an exact test to distinguish between two ions, you could at least offer some ideas such as sulphurous acid reacts with "Y" in this way or sulphuric acid reacts with "X" in this other way. Is it plausible to distinguish the ions from either reaction?

Its also important to remember when asking a question that this is a community of chemistry enthusiasts interested in learning quirky chemistry concepts, not a think tank for people to get free answers to problems. I know some SE sites do not request you offer your thoughts/attempts on the matter, Chemistry.SE does.

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  • $\begingroup$ My reason(s) for downvoting are already outlined in my answer, and it's not anything to do with lack of effort, but I agree that it could be perceived as showing a lack of research or effort. I also think there's a useful question for us to ponder about here, i.e. does "I Googled it and couldn't find anything" count as "sufficient" effort? If you don't know what to look for, it can be difficult to find what you want, so I have some sympathy for people here; but at the same time, it's sort of the bare minimum, and isn't actually useful for gauging OP's current state of knowledge. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Mar 13 '19 at 23:27

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