This question. Until recent interface changes, I could see that the close reason stated that the question is about engineering, and hence is off topic, but an inquiry I made has shown that this reason is wrong, and a suggestion that it is, rather, too broad, was given instead.

As I can see, the answer to this question needs to consider 4 cases with varying speed and material, which is about as few cases as possible for the question to remain meaningful. But even then, it is not essential for an answer to formally list all four cases, as what is really being asked for is a qualitative characterization of the event, not the specific calculations. (I do claim this, based on the general nature of the question and the arbitrariness of examples asked about.) Then again, close reasons were recently adjusted across Stack Exchange, and there is no "too broad" reason anymore.

I find it difficult to justify why this question has to be closed. The reason given is faulty, there are no comments, the vote count is positive. I cannot see a fault so gross as to warrant the question being closed. Furthermore, there is a purpose to closing questions, and the formal reasons are there only to assist, not to define. Are we, the community, actually convinced that questions like this one have no place at Physics Stack Exchange? If so, can we give a reason?

We do not close questions we dislike — rather, we vote them down, and there are guide lines to that. Some questions could be eventually deleted by a script, but then again, there are clear rules. If a question is closed unjustly or mistakenly, it should be restored.


P.S.   Hey folks, this is not a yes/no question, so if you are voting it down to express disagreement, you should leave a comment to point out what you disagree with in the first place.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Your inquiry didn't really show that the reasons were wrong; just that different users had different opinions on that aspect. FYI, too broad basically still exists, it's just called "Needs more focus" now. I'm also not sure how this is any different than your last question about this. There were plenty of reasons given for why users felt the question should remain closed. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Dec 17, 2019 at 18:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Based on this, it sounds like you are under the assumption that if you think the question is fine then everyone else should too. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ @IgnatInsarov There seemed to be a consensus from everyone commenting besides you that it was off-topic for one reason or another. Most users, including myself and dmckee, pointed out that it still did not seem on-topic, as it appeared too broad. It doesn't really matter if it's not an engineering question; because if it's too broad it should not be reopened. The "support" for the diverging answers is the community feedback, in the form of votes. All the answers suggesting that it should not be reopened have positive feedback, and there are no answers saying it should be opened. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Dec 17, 2019 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ There is an extent to which you have recieved explicit explanations as to how various community members feel about it. Certainly you only got those answer from people who care to participate on meta, but another meta question isn't going to change that. I would not have wielded my moderator super-powers to close your original questions but neither will I wield those powers to re-open it. Terminal ballistics is a big, complicated, difficulat subject and while you list only two example cases I read your text as very broad and ambitious. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 18:42
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    $\begingroup$ It might also help to know that I am an experimental scientist by training and a vigorous and vocal defender of experimental questions in the face of a sometimes white-board-theory focus on the site; but I am also aware of the ease with which non-specialists underestimate the complexity of questions involving real (as opposed to idealized) objects. There just isn't a short answer to the question you asked that wouldn't be misleadingly incomplete. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @IgnatInsarov Your last question about this provides plenty of different users point of view for why it is too broad. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Dec 17, 2019 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I mistook you for the OP. The remarks above concerning breadth and ambition are in reference to the question on the main site. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ This is a community moderated site. We have an elaborate processes for setting guidelines and reaching toward consensus on how to judge (which you are currently participating in), but the feelings of sufficiently empowered users about the application of those guidelines are the reason for closing questions. There is no higher authority except the elected moderators and the Stack Exchange community team but neither group is going to step in on this. If you think that question should be re-opened then it is encumbant on you to convince people. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ I am not asking for "users points". I am asking for justification What is the difference between these two things? The most anyone can give is a "user's point". No one can speak on behalf of other users. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Not really. The reason people close questions is based on how they view the question, so their justification as to why a question should be closed is going to be from their point of view. I don't feel like quibbling over minor interpretive differences between "justification" and "point of view". $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee If you can explain why "there just isn't a short answer to the question you asked that wouldn't be misleaningly incomplete", it can be a part of an argument towards a justification I am asking for. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I'm a bit preoccupied with work today, so the following answer may seem a bit distracted and all over the place. Sorry in advance.

The spirit of the question that was asked is a good one. It is interesting enough and I think I agree that it is based more in physics than engineering. However, I would have to agree with the others that the question is too broad. That said, I think it is only just past the line of being too broad and so can understand how you might need clarification on the nature of that decision. So let me try.

The "too broad" classification is intended to prevent there from being posts that would essentially require an entire chapter or more of a textbook to give a proper full answer. For this question, one could undoubtedly provide a less than full answer to the effect of "this depends on a bunch of factors and sometimes you'll find yes whereas sometimes no", but that would not be a complete answer; at best it just begs further questions.

The fact of the matter is that this question has multiple scenarios to consider and there are many corollaries to each one that would require detailed explanations and each corollary changes what the overall answer would be. That was a confusing sentence... Essentially, the answer to the question in question is highly variable depending on specific parameters. It would be a large amount of information an answer would have to convey so that you could understand all the nuances of the problem and how to effectively determine the correct answer for any given set of conditions. This would span various topics from ballistics to materials science to relativity and thermodynamics. A complete answer would simply be too large.

Once again, this question is on the fringe of this classification, according to me. I could imagine a situation where the OP modifies the question so that it is no longer too broad, but they would have to be more specific with what they are asking. I'm not entirely sure what the best way to narrow it would be. What I suggest they do is go to the hbar and start inquiring there. They should learn some of the basics and terminology relevant to the problem and then, when they understand more of what they're trying to find out, ask a more focused question. I recognize that this can be frustrating because the question would seem fairly focused already to someone who does not know the answer, but the amount of physics that goes into it is quite involved, which is why there is so much disagreement in the answers - nobody wants to put in the effort of doing a broad and general answer, so they choose different specific conditions and answer within that framework.

TL;DR: I like where the question is going but the complete answer requires too much content for people to grasp it properly. We can't ask users to write a textbook as an answer, so this question needs more focus.

  • $\begingroup$ What does it mean to be "going to the hbar"? $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @IgnatInsarov the hbar is the physics.SE general chat room $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Dec 17, 2019 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ @IgnatInsarov hbar $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ I wish there was any kind of discussion in comments or a competing answer, because this answer seems too good to be true. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ @IgnatInsarov Not everybody checks meta all the time. Give it some time and there will probably be more opinions $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Dec 17, 2019 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ @IgnatInsarov What do you mean "too good to be true" in this context? $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Dec 17, 2019 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac I like everything about it. It makes me happy at once. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2019 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ Since the community silently agrees, I am happily accepting this answer. $\endgroup$ Dec 18, 2019 at 16:13

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