I understand that communities evolve sets of rules over time, and I'm trying to understand the rationale behind some of the rules for questions and answers on this site. Now, I'm the new kid on the block, as it were, since I only discovered History Stack Exchange a month or so back, so please bear with me if what I'm asking is already old news to some of you. I've read the Help Centre sections on asking and answering questions, and I've tried searching here on Meta, but I think I may be still missing something.
For example, I've seen a number of questions that have been closed because there is no known answer. This question about the killer of Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia murder) is actually a pretty good example.
Now, I found this question here on Meta, and that seems to suggest that it's OK to answer a question with no known answer, but still leaves open the suggestion that they are somehow "bad questions". This bothers me.
I would argue that there is no known answer for an awful lot of things that have happened in history. Generally, that is where the conspiracy theorists and fantasists step in and have a field-day! The problem is compounded when historians and archaeologists aren't prepared to step up to the plate and attempt to provide the best answers we can. (A case in point would be Erich von Daniken and his Chariots' of the Gods!).
Now, I think we can, and we should, offer an answer here - provided that answer is based on the available evidence. If we have researched the question, we should at least be able to offer an answer along the following lines:
"Nobody knows the answer. Here's the evidence, such as it is. Make up your own mind."
(The quote is taken from my comment to the question linked above)
This site has been in Beta for 5 years. The number of questions per day (and also the number of answers per question) are considered to be too low. [In fact, I just noticed that the number of questions per day has actually fallen from 5.1 to 5 in the last month].
Which brings me to my actual questions.
- Do we really want to shut down valid historical questions just because there is no known answer?
- Do people agree with me that we shouldn't be deleting questions just because they have no known answer? And equally, if not, why not?