It seems that a lot of "why" questions are not good questions.

Here are a few, for example:

"Why do the captains of the New England Patriots not wear captain patches?" Answer: I guess because Bill doesn't want his players to.

"Points are given in tennis 15-30-40. Why 40?" Answer: A guess about clock positions. A better question would have been about history, rather than motivation.

"Why are forfeits in baseball scored as 9-0?" Answer: A quote from the rule book ("In the event of forfeiture, the score is recorded as "9 to 0"). But that didn't satisfy the asker. They wanted to know the history.

"Why is FIFA against adding instant replay to the game?" Answers were given, but every one turned into an argument in the comments. Trying to guess motivations of organizations, even relying on their own comments, is just inviting debate.

"Why are large MLB contracts backloaded?" This is an economics question, not a sports question.

My point is "why" questions tend to be bad questions. They invite speculation and debate. They ask questions the asker isn't really interested in. They ask things that are off topic.

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    I agree that history as the main emphasis for those questions would have been more appropriate. Otherwise, other than counter-arguing good vs. bad subjectivity, your points are clear. – user527 Jan 2 '13 at 21:08

I think that this is going to be a case-by-case decision. I don't think that adding limitations to the questions that can be asked would help to bolster the sports.SE community. Some of the questions above have clear answers:

  • baseball forfeits were a rule
  • Belichick doesn't want patches
  • MLB contracts are backloaded for economic reasons
  • the FIFA president is on record about instant replay

For the last one, the problem wasn't the question, it was the interpretation by others that caused the issue. It seems to me that this would need to be monitored and handled by moderators rather than by disallowing these types of questions. Comments can be deleted, and moderators can prevent future posts on questions. The bad behavior in the discussion and disagreement shouldn't invalidate the original question.

Maybe an extra category needs to be added for close votes like "Too Speculative" for questions like the tennis scoring. I feel that the other ones are supported by facts and answered the OP's question. The issue is in the reception of the answer, not the question or answer itself.

  • That seems like a good tactic. Continuing to improve through suggestions and editing is a great way to go. I just wanted to voice my concern about blanket statements about "why" questions. – SocioMatt Jan 3 '13 at 17:38

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