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An hour ago, the question Can (and should) wifi internet be considered a force? was asked, and it already has 5 downvotes as of me writing this post.

The absence of close votes suggests other users agree with me that the question is focused, clear, and mainstream. While it seems to me that one might challenge whether the question is useful for other users, I think similar sorts of questions could arise for other people interested in Physics but that do not know much about it yet. The last possibility that strikes me is that it is being downvoted due to lack of research, but I don't really think it is easy to find any sources in the internet discussing why wifi is or isn't a force, and OP did mention the line of thought leading to their conclusion. Hence, I do not understand the reason for the downvotes, and would like to.

Let me mention I do understand the downvotes some of the answers are receiving, since they spread misconceptions and are, as a consequence, not useful.

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When someone asks "Should X be considered a Y?" I expect them to exhibit some form of understanding of the definition of Y, and some form of understanding of what X is. While one may not find sources discussing whether wi-fi is a force or not, it is very easy to find sources discussing what a force is and how wi-fi works. The question shows no effort at all to do so, and instead puts forth the vaguest of definitions of producing a "physical reaction", showing no indication of understanding how wi-fi works at all, either.

If pollen makes me sneeze, that's a "physical reaction", so does that mean pollen is a force? The "definition" of force used in the question strikes me as obviously absurd/lacking, and instead of trying to understand the idea of force first, the question instead chooses to ask about wi-fi being a force. Being about wi-fi adds nothing to the question, the OP clearly needs to understand what forces in general are, first. Or, conversely, if they just want to understand how wi-fi works, why isn't the question about that but instead chooses to be so specific as to ask whether it's a "force"?

So, I think you're right that people are downvoting for "no effort", and saying that it's really difficult to do research on "is wi-fi a force" is a red herring: The research that's lacking is into the elementary components of the question (force and wi-fi), not into the specific question - I have a hard time seeing how someone doing due diligence on those components would still come up with this question in its current form.

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  • $\begingroup$ That does make a lot of sense. Thank you very much! $\endgroup$ Jan 31 at 16:51
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Anyone with the slightest understanding of physics would know that wifi is not a force in the sense in which that word is used in physics. I can readily imagine, therefore, that the question was downvoted on the grounds that the person who asked it had failed to acquaint themselves with basic physical concepts. There are many other terms in physics which have different meanings in other contexts- there is a charge for using a car park- is it subject to Coulomb's law?

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The two existing answers explain most of what's going on.

But it's worth emphasizing for clarity: close/open and score (up/down votes) are independent variables. It is perfectly possible for a question to be open (on-topic, well-scoped, clear, etc.) and also absolutely terrible and worth downvoting to the bottom of every listing on the site.

For examples of this, you can go to the bottom of the 'by score' listing, filtering on open questions. (The link is to the current last page, and as such will require further scrolling for future visitors.) The wifi question at hand does stretch the limits of on-topicness-while-terrible, and as such it is the current record holder for negative score while remaining open. But the runners-up are not that far, either.

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