The recent question on the difference between the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda raises an interesting issue.

While this question was predominantly downvoted, and some felt the asker was lazy, let me posit this: What if the asker were, say, a very bright middle-schooler? I suspect the response might have been different. But the same could be said of an underclassman at University. Although I'm now a the point where I've probably forgotten more than I know, when I was an underclassman, you could have written volumes about what I didn't understand about mythology.

Anyone can get the facts on questions like this from Wikipedia, so what distinguishes the Stack mythology forum? Stack answers certainly do well in the search rankings, so shouldn't part of our mission be building a valuable mythological resource with unique qualities?

From that perspective, I'd look at the Edda question as an opportunity, not an imposition. Especially in light of how few questions we get compared to the more popular Stack forums.

1 Answer 1


No, we should be maintaining the standards we've set for the site. The circumstances of the person asking the question are not of interest.

What if the asker were, say, a very bright middle-schooler? I suspect the response might have been different.

Nope, not from me anyway. You are focusing too much on the questioner, and not enough on the question. I don't care a bit about the person asking the question. Their age (except, perhaps, as stated in the TOS), education level, english fluency, etc. are irrelevant.

I'm interested in the question. Is it a good question? Is it on topic, clear what is being asked, answerable, useful? Sure, we shouldn't disregard a question because it is asked by a young or inexperienced user, but neither should we give a free pass for those reasons.

Our mission is to build a valuable mythological resource. Period. That's why the person asking the question isn't relevant. Their question is good if it furthers that goal, and bad if it doesn't. If they are incapable of asking a good question, well, that's a shame, but not my problem.

As far as the particular question, I felt it was an adequate, basic question, and of value to the site. That said, it wasn't a great question, and I can see why some would receive it as poorly researched. As of this moment, it has an equal number of up and down votes, and does not appear to be in danger of being closed, which doesn't seem at all unfair to me.

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