There are many questions which can't be answered easily, because there's just no known answer (mostly regarding story, abilities or something like that). Some examples:

Is it possible to combine all five chakra elements?

How did the Hashirama and Madara statues at the Valley of the End come to be?

What is the significance of Ran's birthday?

I think that these questions just can't be answered, they just provoke a discussion, because the true answer isn't known.

I think we should state in the FAQ, that such questions aren't allowed, because normally, this doesn't fit to the Q&A-Format of SE.

  • I think this sort of question is allowed in SF.se
    – JNat StaffMod
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 16:57
  • Yeah, and they write it in the FAQ, we shouldn't forget that :D.
    – looper
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 17:00
  • 4
    Questions specifically setting up discussion are the opposite of what SE was built to handle. If this site rules to allow questions like that, there is a good chance that Jeff's replacement will come in here and nuke them from orbit anyway. We are given some level of freedom, but there are still basic tenets that we have to abide by.
    – StrixVaria
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 17:13
  • Hm, I don't really see why the question itself was downvoted... It is already showing itself as a problem so I think it is a valid meta post, regardless of your opinion on whether or not it should be allowed.
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 17:36
  • 1
    @atlantiza Votes on meta can also show agreement. Personally, I down voted since the questions show a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Stack Exchange network is. With that in mind, I don't feel it is a very useful discussion.
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 17:45
  • @Wipqozn Yes, I agree with you, but we have discussion questions so obviously it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
    – atlantiza
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 17:56
  • 1
    This question itself doesn't have to be downvoted. All that he/she has done is pasted links to questions which were presumed to be violating the SE rules. The asker has a clear understanding of the rules, and the question only asks how the rule should be applied in specific cases.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


I think that these questions just can't be answered, they just provoke a discussion, because the true answer isn't known.

Try hard to differentiate here between:

  1. Questions that cannot be answered (because, for instance, they're asking folks to predict the future or are based on an under-specified and/or completely hypothetical scenario). These should generally just be shut down - discussing them produces nothing but speculation.

  2. Questions where the answer is obscure or difficult to obtain (relies on knowledge in an author's private journal, protected by a non-disclosure agreement, guarded by a dragon). These can be ok, if folks are disciplined about not answering when they don't have access to information. If they degenerate into idle speculation, they should be shut down as with #1.

  3. Questions where the answer is irrelevant and the asker simply wants to get to know other members of the site better by getting folks to post their feelings (this is often the actual case for instances of #1 and #2, but some questions are explicitly asked for this reason). These should generally be shut down - they are discussion for the sake of discussion, and there are other venues more appropriate for this.

The fact is, this is a Q&A website - which means for every Question, there must be an Answer. Folks visiting a year from now aren't going to care about some impromptu fan-fiction you and someone else put together in lieu of an actual answer - if they're searching for a question here to satisfy their curiousity or settle an argument, they're gonna want something substantial, and if we can't offer that we're just wasting their time.

The FAQ states this pretty clearly:

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK. (Discussions are of course welcome in our real time web chat.)

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”
  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”
  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
  • we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”
  • it is a rant disguised as a question: “______ sucks, am I right?”
  • 1
    I should also note that "this question cannot be answered" may be a valid answer to some questions - assuming there's sufficient rationale given for this response ("the author gave only contradictory hints in his work, and died without recording a canonical answer anywhere"). However, "I don't know" is not a valid answer.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 22:32

No. Stack Exchange is a Q&A site, not a forum.

Not Constructive

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, see the FAQ for guidance.

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