Physicists are also people and can appreciate nice wording, politeness and paradoxes. I am asking specifically about this imprecise question which appears amusing because it is not strictly defined. The actual question in that case is what am I missing in my description of the system, not how does it work.

Should we push to straighten out the question? As-is it leaves ample room for nice dissertations on the laws of physics (already present in the answers, expect more to come). If reworked to be clear, the question will become its own answer and the correct bare-bones answer will look almost trivial, not at all noteworthy. Do we foster amusing site content generation so that visitors have more prose (and poetry) to read, or trim it down to formula for formula, measurement for measurement?


It seems like you're asking two things here:

  1. Does it have any value if a question is entertaining? I suppose it does, but not at the expense of being clear and on-topic. In other words, a boring but clearly written, well-researched, and insightful question is better than an entertaining question that is unclear, or not well-researched, or not insightful. So if you want to make your question entertaining, make sure you are not making it worse in other ways by doing so. And bear in mind that this is very difficult. So I would suggest that you not try to make your questions entertaining; it usually (but not always) winds up doing more harm than good.

  2. Should the particular question you linked to be edited to define it more clearly? The guideline for that is to always stick to information provided by the original poster. If the OP contributed extra information in a comment that would clarify the question, sure, edit that in. If part of the question is unclear and you can make it clear (without adding additional information that the OP might not know), go ahead and do that too. But if the question is unclear and you can't figure out how to clarify it without guessing something, you need to wait for the OP to make that edit. In the meantime, you should downvote the question.

    In particular, editing the question so that it contains its own answer is pretty much never a good idea. When doing so, you inevitably wind up adding some information that the OP did not have access to (because if they did, they wouldn't have asked the question in the first place).


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