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I posted a comment on a question I spotted earlier that referencing Ireland. The question was not very specific, and the answers went off in a similar tangent.

This question doesn't highlight the fact that "Ireland" is an island in the physical sense, but politically is divided. Many people are not aware of this, and jump in with poor quality answers that don't take the politics or situation into account. I feel that the quality of the answers would have improved if the original question had been updated to be more specific. This could have been done from a neutral viewpoint without taking any political side.

What do people think about this? I would imagine that this problem will crop up in other places over time.

  • I agree with your take on the issue and have edited the question and the associated tags accordingly. – ihtkwot Jul 17 '12 at 3:44
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Well you can always propose you own question with a more pointed, accurate analysis. There are multiple viewpoints to see and ask on many questions, one like this also has many. Of course if you think the question could be improved, typically better when its first asked, is to then suggest edits to it if you do not have enough rep.

This is a community site and while the Mods are here to help things along, its more for the community to decide what direction the site should take.

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I'm not entirely sure I understand your problem. Admittedly there were quite a few setences with question marks in them in that question. However, it seems pretty clear to me that the questioner thought it would have made a lot of sense for Germany to invade Ireland, and was asking the community why that possibility in fact never seemed to be a factor in the war. That seems fairly straighforward to me.

True, there are some nuances of the political boundries and geography he was missing. But I suspect that's because he acutally didn't know them, not because he was purposely being obtuse. For that question in particular, if he knew all the details, he probably would have known enough to not ask the question.

If you think there's an important angle that the answers didn't address (eg: That Northern Ireland was and is still UK territory), I'd encourage you to add your own answer with that angle addressed.

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If they pose a general question, I think it's fair to give them a general answer in the form of a summary on the topic, or just redirect them to the appropriate Wikipedia page(s) if there's one and downvote/close the question.

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    I think we should stay away from link only answers as a rule, even if it is Wikipedia. Links can go dead; they should be a source, not an answer. – American Luke Jul 3 '12 at 18:26
  • @Luke - I agree. I don't think that's what Bryce was suggesting though (could be wrong). – T.E.D. Jul 3 '12 at 20:20
  • Right, I mean completely generic questions that literally ask something specifically covered by a particular wikipedia entry. – Bryce Jul 3 '12 at 20:30
  • Thats what the down vote is for. – Russell Jul 16 '12 at 3:53

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