This question is not being closed on Chemistry, despite it having nothing to do with chemistry: Answer Conversion Problem Numerically in Kilometers Per Hour

jonsca, whom I have much respect for, had said that questions like this are not being closed because chemistry textbooks have such questions. But given that we are NOT a homework site without effort, why should we allow off-topic questions? If you want to ask a dimension analysis question on Stackexchange.Chemistry, why not ask a chemistry question?

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for bringing this here. :) I have closed my Meta question as a duplicate of this one. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to post one, so I made one anyway. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Sep 13 '14 at 2:34
  • $\begingroup$ @jonsca: No problem, you raise an issue I had not considered. Let's address it! $\endgroup$
    – user467
    Sep 13 '14 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ We get have a similar problem at Computer Science SE. Since computer scientists tend to do quite a bit of programming, we get a lot of programming questions. Most of these are purely about programming and we're pretty aggressive about closing them and migrating any good ones to Stack Overflow. That seems to work pretty well: the bad questions get put on hold and the good ones get punted to a more appropriate palce. $\endgroup$ Sep 16 '14 at 8:53

Questions about dimensional analysis that do not refer to a specific chemistry question or problem should be closed. They can be migrated to mathematics.se as they allow such kinds of questions in their homework policy. For example:

The linked question in the OP's post does not have any relation to chemistry whatsoever.

On another note, the scope of chemistry.se is more comparable to physics.se and their homework policy, as they state in their initial summary:

It's not enough to just show your work and ask where you went wrong. If you just need someone to check your work, you can always seek out a friend, classmate, or teacher. As a rule of thumb, a good conceptual question should be useful even to someone who isn't looking at the problem you happen to be working on

Now I admit, that our own homework policy is a little less strict, which I think is also a good thing. Most of the time there is a conceptual problem behind it and it can be useful for generations to come.
However, we also clearly state:

As a general rule, we do not discourage homework questions, as long as they are related to chemistry.

The conversion from $\mathrm{m/s}$ to $\mathrm{km/h}$ is in my opinion not essentially related to chemistry. I am also of the opinion, that it is not really a type of conceptual question either.


Allow me to answer this question. Chemistry is one of a few sciences where math is immediately applicable at an elementary level. Given this, one could be tempted to ask non-chemistry math questions. We might even be able to answer them. But in the overall context of StackExchange, they seem off-topic given the other SEs available to answer.


Dimensional analysis was something I was first introduced to in a chemistry course, and was revisited later in a physics course. While it is on a fundamental level, just a mathematical technique, if I were a student on the cusp of learning dimensional analysis and learning it in my chemistry course, it would be frustrating to be told that i came to the wrong site for an answer.

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    $\begingroup$ Doesn't migrating the question to the correct site mitigate the frustration? $\endgroup$ Sep 16 '14 at 8:55

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