Ok after much posting and voting, I've changed tact to get my point about neutrality across.

I've taken my question about climate change benefits down (I may come back to this with another question in some form), and added this question about climate models.

This question is not directly actionable per-se, but I think it's very important for the platform because so many questions and answers are about reducing GHG emissions. Well why should we do that? Because the scientific community tells us that if we keep emitting as we do and global economies continue to grow, we'll be faced with more droughts and super storms.

That's great, but we should monitor and evaluate the work of these scientists, so we can correctly prioritize how we define sustainability. If this forum is absent of scientific discussion of these matters, it will lose a lot of credibility and lose a large audience - reasonable people who are generally on the fence with regards to matters of environmental sustainability.

Does the question and answer I provided in the above link help accomplish that neutral tone? What other topics should we push to establish this tone and help create an open, non-ideological community?

  • What is it that you're actually interested in here? How does it affect you? Why is it important to you? If we can get some insight into those questions, then we can start to formulate a question that would be suitable for the site. Chat is probably the best place to do this.
    – 410 gone
    Mar 30, 2013 at 12:18

3 Answers 3


I think you've stumbled across one of the fundamental misunderstandings of what a Q&A site is. A Stack Exchange-style Q&A is not a thinktank that is going to debate and solve the world's problems [about issues of sustainability]. We're not here to debate, defend, or proselytize the importance of these issues. This is already a community of supporters and practitioners.

Instead, we hope to use the expertise gathered here compile a well-vetted, reliable canon of knowledge about the subject, and to (hopefully) displace the misinformation rampant on the Internet.

That makes the subjects discussed here inherently applied… or at least canonical. When you say a question (and their answers) are not directly actionable, they should be. This site is about the day-to-day issues you encounter when trying to apply these practices. That is the purpose inherent in having this site in the first place.

The questions you're citing are more of a roundtable discussion than something that can be "answered" in this type of Q&A format. Not that there's anything wrong with having those discussions, but these type of talking-point and debate questions are better asked in a discussion forum or chat room better suited to handling that type of collaboration and exchange. These are interesting questions, but they're just not well-suited to this type of Q&A format.


Questions that ask for judgement tend to fall on the Bad Subjective side of the line. Questions that ask for explanation usually fall on the good side, though asking why something is good or bad, is basically asking for judgment. Read the linked post for suggestions on asking great questions.

Your second problem is you came into a community with a belief system, and basically spat in its face by asking a slanted question, then posting a judgmental answer that is not well researched or backed up(a single source). Your questions nor your answer really add any value to the community and it is most certainly to be taken as you have an ax to grind with climate change science. While there is nothing wrong with asking questions they should be genuine questions. And when you answer your own questions it should be a good answer.

However if your whole intention here is to rabble rouse and create conflict among a community where the majority believe that what man is doing to the earth is harming the environment, I would suggest you find somewhere else to do it. If you have real questions and hope to understand more about living sustainability then I hope you take this criticism constructively as it was intended and use it to help with your success here and on any SE that you are involved with.

  • Ok maybe it was early to ask this question; less than diplomatic. However, I am asking these questions because I think to get any real action on climate change, we need a broader base of people conscious of sustainability issues. I share the belief system with people by and large, but not at the cost of science. By disregarding reasonable scruples we hurt ourselves. The answer I provided was actually well researched. I read and referenced the first chapter of AR5 and provided a NASA publication explaining why aerosols have a net cooling effect.
    – Eric H.
    Apr 1, 2013 at 3:55
  • WRT the 'Good Subjective, Bad Subjective' critiria, I believe my question about climate models does beckon a why (overestimates caused by natural, volcanic, and aerosol forcing), it was phrased impartially (though I knew the answer may contend with the belief system that many hold on this site - I know it contended with my belief system), it invites references (I indeed included them in my answer), and it was certainly not mindless and has strong implications on how we define 'sustainable.' Perhaps it could be phrased to invite longer, more experienced based responses. Suggestions welcomed.
    – Eric H.
    Apr 1, 2013 at 4:02
  • 2
    @EricH. It is not just the phrasing of the question. Your reasons for asking matter, as well as what you are asking. Your question was scoped to get the answer that you gave. That answer does not really explain anything and is unlikely to be of use to anyone. It simply says that when you look at a very specific set of data the models are not accurate. That is unlikely to be helpful to the community in the future. Not to mention you asked for judgement on the data. That is not constructive. That is why you have down votes. I will not be surprised if it ends up closed unless edited.
    – user141
    Apr 1, 2013 at 13:02
  • It's clear i'm fighting a losing battle for some good reasons. I don't think I'll get qny traction here anytime soon, which I think is disappointing to me from the standpoint of sustainability. However, when it comes to Q&A sites, I think those with more experience are pretty much in consensus, so I'll respect that.
    – Eric H.
    Apr 1, 2013 at 22:01

Chad's given you a very good answer.

I'd like additionally to note that:

  • This is not a forum
  • We don't do discussion: discussions will get closed and deleted. This is a Q&A site.
  • I'd argue that reasonable, informed people are not "on the fence" with regards to environmental sustainability, unless they're ambivalent on the whole question of whether human civilisation is worth continuing, in which case I'm going to doubt their reasonableness (or their sanity).
  • No, the question and answer you provided does not contribute to a scientific tone. It's not scientific.
  • none of us needs to "push topics". Just ask practical, answerable questions, based on problems you face. Show in your question that you've done some research already. Be explicit about what you're asking, to enable people to give good answers.

If you're interested in what climate forecasts actually are; over what timescales are they useful; how they are assessed / validated; or what ensemble forecasts are, then each of those are worth specific questions. Some could get asked here; others, elsewhere on the StackExchange network. For example, general questions about ensemble forecasting, would belong on Stats.SE; there's also a Computational Science StackExchange for general modelling questions.

  • I'm curious to know why you don't think it is scientific. It's going to be taken down, but still interested to hear this.
    – Eric H.
    Apr 1, 2013 at 22:03
  • @EricH. If you find the answers to the questions I've mentioned in my last paragraph, then it should become clear.
    – 410 gone
    Apr 2, 2013 at 5:43

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