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A moderator has apprised me of a rule I wasn't aware of, and wanted to get confirmation from the community.

Prompting question: LC Parallel resonance induction heater

Comment:

The system flagged your answer as not an answer. Please don't answer is it possible topics mark them as they are of topic - Voltage Spike

[sic]; I'm interpreting this as "Please don't answer 'is it possible' topics, mark them.." but am open to other readings.

Are 'is it possible' questions off-topic?


It does seem like a new and separate category of off-topic, so should perhaps be added to the help section for clarity (or the list of stock close reasons, or etc.). I don't know what process leads to such change, but I'm assuming it at least begins on Meta.

Intuitively, such questions don't lead to much interesting discussion. But the system is set up so that every question (that survives closure etc.) "deserves" an answer. Perhaps 4 hours / 28 views (at time of writing) is premature to conclude the question won't be closed, but I also haven't seen anything in the help section:
https://electronics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
that suggests this type of question is off-topic. I can't think of any close votes I've reviewed, that suggest it is also well-known to others. So others will likely find this informative.

Related:
Closing Etiquette: Why Do Some Answer *and* Close?
Answering questions which are off-topic
It appears even [likely] closure is not necessarily a reason not to answer. Though perhaps I'm not supposed to read into meta discussions as controlling precedent.

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2 Answers 2

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There are two types of "is it possible" questions. One type has opened ended answers and these do not serve the site well.
The second ask yes or no questions which can be answered. In this case the answer is that the proposal violates the laws of physics. This is a clear yes or no query and the answer is a very clear no.

I consider that this sort of question is entirely appropriate for the site.

Others may disagree.

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Please allow me to clarify the language of the message I left.

Is it possible questions have a very bad track record on this site, I would say over 95% of them have bad answers. In addition to that these type of questions also generate a lot of discussion and clarification. Partially because "Is it possible" questions are hypothetical questions, these types of questions are not condoned.

SE wants questioners to be specific. Please help the op clarify the question in these types of situations.

Users that have a high rep count and have been around for a while should understand that 1 line answers can be improved almost always.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't get this. The question isn't a hypothetical, and if it was, then it's the question that needs editing. I don't particularly love the answer -- I think it's somewhat snarky, and there may be an argument that it doesn't meet the "be nice" requirement -- but it is, in fact, a direct answer to the user's question. When we don't like answers, most of the time the downvote is appropriate. I suppose the reason for deletion is probably better for the answerer than if it were closed for a CoC violation, though. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2023 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The bigger issue about the "is it possible" questions for me is that this usually isn't the question the asker really want's the answer to -- most often, the real question is "tell me how to do this". \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2023 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ The original incarnation of the question had no question and said is it possible. In that case the better thing to do is ask for clarification and help the user get a better question (especially for new users) \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Dec 4, 2023 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why are we talking about the question and not the answer? There is so little reason to delete answers. There are plenty of really bad answers that don't get deleted, and this was a perfectly accurate answer to an iffy question. There was no need for clarification to answer this. In fact, if you want to go down this line, why not delete all the answers to this question? We don't delete such things routinely -- or there would be zero answers to negative-scored questions. Other than rudeness, vandalism, or the like, I really don't see much of a need to intervene to delete an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2023 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did talk about the answer, in the bottom line of the OP. The discussion for one line answers is here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/156941/one-line-answers I felt the answer could have been improved and a high rep user could put a little more work into answering. \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Dec 4, 2023 at 22:45

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