Will someone please explain what makes Aliens want our water a downvote worthy question?

It's only been up for about 1 hour, and already received 2 downvotes - While I'm perfectly aware that downvotes are subjective to the downvoter and that they don't have to provide any reason for it, I'd like to know if the question is a bad question in general.

As far as I can tell, the question is on topic and specific enough to be answered. It's also a clear (or if it's not, please tell me how I can make it more clear) question, IMO.

  • $\begingroup$ Honestly, at face value it seems like a pretty stupid question. However, I did not downvote because if there is a substitute for water, I really want to know what it is. Plus, it's always nice to hear how special water is, since there's so much of it just lying around. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jun 4 '15 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh I just have bad luck, I guess... Couldn't delete the question yesterday either, the answers came before the downvotes //*facedesk* $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 4 '15 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ I really think it's the exclamation point that did it. I can never respect exclamation points. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jun 4 '15 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh I've removed it just for you. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 4 '15 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much! $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Jun 4 '15 at 16:59

The downvote button's tooltip says

This questions does not show any research effort, is unclear or not useful.

Draw from that what you will.

In our case, "useful" seems to be defined as being a worthwhile/fun question to spend some time answering. To me, this question is not: although I haven't tried, I suspect it could be solved in a few quick Google searches. Sure, it might get me a few tens of reputation points, but it wouldn't have been fun.

You can see the recent What makes a great question? for some question pointers.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I'll keep that in mind for next time! $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 3 '15 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify I don't intend to scare you away from asking questions :) For me it just isn't that interesting (though admittedly I'm not the downvoter). Perhaps try to make questions more thought-provoking? $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 3 '15 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ It's not like I don't have good questions - this is just the first one that's been straight up downvoted, so i was really confused as to why. It doesn't seem all that different in format to my other questions (Other than the fact that the other ones are a lot more broad). $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 3 '15 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify Well I can't tell you why you got downvoted exactly, and FWIW I have enjoyed a good number of your questions. Perhaps the broadness is a contribution to some of your others? Though there is always that balance to be struck. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 3 '15 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ Yea, the tough part is finding the line between just broad enough yet not idea generation off topic.... $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 3 '15 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Aify It is, and it's something lots of us struggle with. The best advice I can give you is be receptive to comments, as many close voters do comment and if you can fix problems promptly you can avoid having more close or down votes. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 3 '15 at 21:54

I'm sorry if this seems harsh, but I can understand why the question got down voted and closed. The question is so badly flawed as to be un-answerable.

  1. There is lots of water in the universe. Why take it from an inhabited planet?

  2. About the only thing that could replace water in all categories it would be heavy water (which is still H2O but using different isotopes).

  3. Your aliens can make anything but they can't make water. So why not make hydrogen and oxygen and combine them? If they can't make hydrogen or oxygen then they can't make anything as they are very common elements.

  4. If the aliens can make anything, and one of the things they can make is an exact substitute for water, then why not just use that substitute?

These four factors combine make it impossible to answer the question because the constraints just don't make sense and even contradict each other.


IMHO, the question is trivial: No there aren't. (I don't want to detail more reasons here in meta, though).

I did not downvote it, so those who did could probably detail their reasons better, but to me, that is not a question interesting for WB.SE in its current form because of its triviality.

  • $\begingroup$ Aren't all WB questions trivial? What possible use could you have for any of these answers and questions except for in story writing? I'll keep in mind the "triviality" of my future questions. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 3 '15 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I might not have expressed it in the best way. The answer to your question is trivial. Which means that answers to your question somehow contradict the standards expected of answers on the site. But, again, it's my view, and I wasn't one of the downvote. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jun 3 '15 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify I know this comment was from 3 years ago, but to answer anyways: The question's trivial because of the reasons Tim B gave in his answer. A self-contradictory question that makes no sense due to a failed internal logic is of no value to anyone, including the person asking the question. While questions on WB all share a degree of triviality, it's worth noting that all WB questions should still be able to be used effectively in the world of fiction. Unfortunately, your question fails to be answerable in a manner of substance. Replying more for the sake of others since you probably know now. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Dec 15 '18 at 21:28

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