# Why was my question closed as off-topic?

I recently asked a question about a real phenomenon I saw at the end of a documentary, I can't help that at the time the only thing I could find on it was at the end of this documentary which isn't something most would consider 'real' science, however the device shown is a known and real phenomenon called an Ionocraft (I now know this). I understand that the name of the documentary may have mislead some, but I assure you that I am asking about something perfectly real and proven to exist in science.

Before asking the question I looked at the site's help question and I thought this would be on-topic because of this bit:

Explanations of observed physical or astronomical phenomena
Example: Why does one experience a short pull in the wrong direction when a vehicle stops?


This is the question: How does the "lifter"/ionocraft device work?

I hope that it can be reopened or at least for me to be given a proper explanation of why it was closed. Saying you won't answer a perfectly real question and just saying it's "non-mainstream" seems ridiculous to me if it's accepted in science to be real and there is proof for it. If there is a better SE site to ask about this on, then please let me know. Or of how I could improve my question.

• Do you still want to ask how an Ionocraft works? Have you read the Wikipedia article that describes it? If so what specific aspects of the ionocraft are still unclear? – John Rennie Sep 22 '16 at 10:46

## 2 Answers

for me to be given a proper explanation of why it was closed.

Your question was closed because 5 users here judged that it was off-topic, should be closed, and voted to close it.

If you wish to know their reason(s) for judging it to be close worthy, you will have to ask them.

Or of how I could improve my question.

Kudos for asking! I recommend improving your question by

(1) not asking that anyone reading your question go to youtube to view a video; this is just bad form

(2) as you've discovered, if a volunteer here gets a whiff of pseudoscience, he/she is very likely to vote to close. The title of the video and your insistence that you're asking about a "perfectly real phenomenon" is more than a whiff.

(3) good questions show some effort at researching the topic

(4) good questions are not overly broad or open ended.

Asking "how does X work?" without additional context is not good form.

• Yeah, this kind of covers what I was going to say, especially in the end. There are a lot of questions which are phrased "how does [thing] work?" which are off topic for this site. Changing the wording to "how is the device able to hover?" would help. – David Z Sep 22 '16 at 11:50
• At the time of asking I really didn't know anything more than what I'd seen in that video so I didn't know what else to say, all I could do was show the video. – user87265 Sep 22 '16 at 17:55
• Well, I think the first half of your answer is maybe a little bit bloody, the second half is good. I think, this is what the OP should do. My only problem is, that if he would follow all of your points, and invest a lot of effort to make his question reopenable, his question would still left closed. | Another note: I think, if somebody is coming here to validate some "non-mainstream" thing against the mainstream physics, it is a different thing as if somebody would advertise the "non-mainstream". From this view, the site could be some similar as the sceptics SE. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Sep 25 '16 at 21:44
• "If you wish to know their reason(s) for judging it to be close worthy, you will have to ask them." - well, no. In principle, those five people should have been voting in line with site policy as determined on meta. Asking here should result in someone being able to link to the policy they were implementing. Or, if the policy was unclear, it should result in the policy being made clearer. Or, if they were voting against policy, it should result in the question being reopened. I'm not saying anything about which of these is the case here, but an explanation should always exist. – Nathaniel Oct 6 '16 at 7:09
• @Nathaniel, implementing policy requires judgment on the individual participant's part and, in particular, voting to close for being off-topic allows for a 'fill in the blank' rationale. The fact that two participants here can and often do disagree on whether a question is off-topic is reason enough to question your comment. – Alfred Centauri Oct 6 '16 at 11:00

Courtesy of a comment to your original question you now know the craft in the video is called an ionocraft, and there is a Wikipedia article that explains how they work.

If you read the Wikipedia article and run into problems understanding it then please come back to us with more questions specifically targeted at whatever aspect of the physics you are running into difficulties with. Alternatively if you fully understand the Wikipedia article that's great. Either way there's nothing to be gained by reopening the original question.