10

I'm glad this has been asked on Meta, as it's a much more appropriate place to discuss how to approach such issues - comments or chat are limited in their usefulness. My view is that this is shouldn't be about whether a question is based on evidence presented on "certain YouTube channels", but about whether the question itself has value. So what is "value"...


6

I think astrobiology as a component of astronomy--that is astrobiology performed using space or ground-based telescopes, should be on topic. Astrobiology that can only be performed by landers/rovers should be left to Space Exploration. Highly speculative astrobiology should be off topic as it is primarily opinion based.


5

Astronomy SE is a bit odd (in my view) in having no policy on closing homework questions. If homework-type questions get answered regularly (whether they actually are homework or not) the site will fill with homework questions and that's far more of an issue than clogging up of the review queues (e.g. only 16 in the close queue today and I think it rarely ...


5

TL;DR: My assessment is that a request for a simple explanation does not conflict with the site's purpose of providing "expert-level answers", so such a request does not make the question off-topic. I posted the comment on the linked question regarding on-topic usage, so let me try a response. Question: Are all questions asking for simple explanations ...


5

From the help center under What questions are off topic here: Questions that are purely hypothetical, for example a question such as 'Could a black hole destroy the universe' or 'What if our solar system had two suns' (however, feel free to visit World Building) I think thought experiments fit this disqualification rather neatly, and I don't really see ...


5

Astronomy is more of a hard science stack, so thought experiments are going to be, at best, right on the border of being off-topic. And it would probably need to be more than just somewhat related to astronomy/astrophysics. There are other SE sites, such as Physics and World Building. If it's more of a general physics question than it is an astronomy ...


4

I think resource requests should be treated, for the most part, like list questions. If there is a way to produce a finite, best quality list of resources, then the question is good. If the only problem is that the list might increase over time, it might be worthwhile making a community wiki question. Otherwise, it should be closed. These types of ...


4

My top two favorite resources for the scope of any Stack Exchange site are, in order, the tour and the help center. The former takes maybe a minute or two to read and should clear up some basic questions; the latter is useful for more specific concerns about scope and allows us to be more explicit about certain unique rules and guidelines. The help center is ...


4

Well, uh, this is embarrassing. As the user who put these comments onto the post, I've learned the consequences of doing so. Originally, after seeing several posts that turned out to be homework questions get closed on various Stack Exchange sites, I assumed that homework questions are discouraged. I responded to @uhoh's comments regarding the topic in ...


4

I think that I am quite OK with having SETI and METI questions, having already asked a question related to SETI (with 2 upvotes ). While to some it may seem that SETI questions are usually not well-received in Astronomy SE (it did to me when I joined), if one takes a average of all the votes the seti tag has received quite average vote count of ~2.21 (yay! ...


4

I don't think that questions which are "unanswerable in a definitive fashion" are ever good SE questions, no. I think that a question like that can be closed using existing reasons pretty quickly, but it could also be edited, or closed as duplicate to a canonical answer. These questions linked above are in fact questions about building specific solar ...


3

Astronomy.SE Help gives no guidance as to whether SETI questions are on-topic or not. SETI is at least a respectable pursuit these days, although it was not always so. The question that you are referring to seemed to be a bit "UFOish", which is why I voted to close it. Maybe there is a case for re-opening it. However, there is a big difference ...


3

You have two questions here, and I have opposing answers to them: I agree with you that good SETI questions should be on topic - but the definition of Good here is key. METI on the other hand - so far I haven't seen any good (from a site perspective) METI questions here. Those two you highlight, I would firmly class in "not good questions" despite ...


3

I would say the discussion of the process of exploring or mapping objects beyond the earth, with landers, orbiters, or flyby craft, would fall into Space Exploration, but the discussion of the actual geographic location would fall into Astronomy. It is possible to discuss the Sea of Tranquility without discussing Apollo 11.


3

Yes, for answers in which a order of magnitude estimation is the best available, then that should be the answer. It should perhaps be left to the answerer of a question what is an appropriate level of accuracy, though I see nothing wrong with questioners indicating that a "Fermi estimate" is sufficient for them. That "the only way to decide which answer is ...


3

I'm the guy who asked "What is the Great Attractor?" and I admit that I pretty much knew the general answer before I asked it. I asked it at least partly because I thought it would help the Astronomy SE become more ubiquitous. I kind of know how Google works (I used Google ad-words in my business and have done a little work in SEO), and I know that a lot ...


3

Earth science, unless directly related to phenomena observable on other celestials, Solar system in general of which Earth is a constituent part, or as an origin of observational astronomy where its movement, local and global phenomena might affect observations and measurements in any way, is off-topic on Astronomy but can be asked on Earth Science.


3

For questions about things specific to earth, geology, life sciences etc., many of these "off-topic" kinds of questions are not really off-topic; no matter how off-topic it seems, they usually are just badly worded good questions of the form: How would this be different on a another planet/system/space, with features XYZ?


3

Rather accademic in spirit communities in the network have generally no problem with allowing study material / reference / data request questions. This is only an issue on sites that are too focused on the SE point of view at the expense of people who want to seriously learn and investigate the topic of the site. IMHO astronomy should rather endorse the more ...


2

Due to lack of traffic and active members in our meta (I think it's only more severe with the new top bar and it used to be easier to switch between main and meta with the previous one, but it's hard to judge in late December when number of visits plummet everywhere on Stack Exchange), we've decided to keep the current TOTW running until the next one is ...


2

I've never really liked questions about lights in the sky. They tend to list the location, time, and color of the lights . . . and that's about it. Invariably, we have nowhere near enough information to give an accurate answer because none of us were there at the same time, and we have no way to gather additional data. It's so bad that we tend to close them ...


2

Thanks for an important meta-question @uhoh, and especially for your comment on (@)Mick's answer. While your "insta-closure" label is a bit inflammatory, your comment is really helpful in understanding your position. I do get the point you're making. I also acknowledge your unstinting efforts at making newcomers to our site feel welcome. I cut my ...


1

In the early days of the internet I got suckered many times into doing people's homework for them. The "thanks for doing my homework, sucker" comment I received on the last time I did someone's homework made me very sensitive to homework-like questions. It is odd that Astronomy.SE does not have "this is homework" as a reason to close. It ...


1

As this is about astronomical operation of space telescopes, I think it would be on topic here, but it's also on topic on Space Exploration. If you would like it migrated here nonetheless, flag the question and I can migrate it.


1

Is “what star did I see?” on topic? Yes, it is absolutely on-topic! ...potentially infinite... plethora of questions following this pattern This is not happening. These questions are infrequent and have all kinds of answers, some are stars, some are planets, some are satellites or rocket bodies, some are aircraft, balloons, high-flying drones. As ...


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