Deletion question June 18, 2006 1:11 AM   Subscribe

Why did baby-stealing across the ages get deleted? I can read the reason given, but it isn't fair to the question.
posted by AmbroseChapel to Etiquette/Policy at 1:11 AM (24 comments total)

It may well be an "unanswerable hypothetical", and all that stuff about time machines is a bit twee, but it's really a very interesting question -- "how much have humans really changed over X amount of time?", and it was generating some very interesting answers before it was killed.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:14 AM on June 18, 2006

I agree. The way it was posed may appear a bit fanciful, but it could essentially be interpreted as "How long ago was a human indistinguishable from a modern human born?". It's not an unanswerable hypothetical, it's anthropology.
posted by Jimbob at 1:22 AM on June 18, 2006

The reason it was deleted is because it wasn't about zombies.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:30 AM on June 18, 2006

Well, it is an unanswerable hypothetical, right?
posted by puke & cry at 1:45 AM on June 18, 2006

What Jimbob said. And it passes the AskMe test in that some people will be more qualified to answer than others (in this case depending on how much they know about human evolution).

On the other hand, if this kind of phrasing is allowed to stand, maybe people would be encouraged to start posting actual unanswerable hypotheticals. Clearly the difference is not that obvious to everyone.
posted by teleskiving at 2:18 AM on June 18, 2006

Rephrase, resubmit. It reads like a crap 50s tv show intro.

Better would be something along the lines of:

'In human history, what (if any) changes have there been in the physical, genetic and health (etc) makeup of newborn babies?
Would a baby born 2000 or 10000 years ago be significantly disadvantaged as it developed if it was growing up today and if so, in what ways?
Likewise, would an infant born in 2006 have any appreciably different development (health, strength etc) if it was raised 10,000 years ago? Please elaborate where possible.'
posted by peacay at 2:30 AM on June 18, 2006

Just like most deleted askme questions, if you phrased it differently nobody would have a problem with it. Peacay gets it right on the nose. Now, one might say that "Well, if I just need to ask the same question in a different way, it shouldn't have been deleted in the first place". But you could really say that about just about EVERY deleted thread, blue OR green. Phrasing is everything.
posted by antifuse at 2:50 AM on June 18, 2006

Ok, maybe the mushroom thread couldn't have been saved by phrasing. But *most* posts could be saved if they were better written.
posted by antifuse at 2:50 AM on June 18, 2006

Oh wait, the mushroom thread wasn't deleted. Duh
posted by antifuse at 2:53 AM on June 18, 2006

I was surprised by the deletion, and moreso by the stated reason; do the mods not believe in the validity of evolution research?
posted by Gyan at 3:21 AM on June 18, 2006

Along with the time machine stuff, it sounded like a "what if hitler had never been born" question because it was about a hypothetical 2000 year ago baby. pecay is right and I see the serious question hiding inside it, but on first read it looked kind of silly.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:44 AM on June 18, 2006

I just brought it back, sans the time machine silliness.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:46 AM on June 18, 2006

But what if Hitler had never been born?
posted by grouse at 4:25 AM on June 18, 2006

you can blame WW2 and the plight of the jews on the Vienna art college - they rejected Hitler as an art student, and the rest is history! </what if>
posted by slater at 5:33 AM on June 18, 2006

2000 years ago, all babies looked like Hitler.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:11 AM on June 18, 2006

Seriously, make a bit of an effort to make your question seem like it's not just sort of goofing on the whole AskMe community, and they'll be more likely to help you out. People flagged that question a bunch so maybe they didn't see your serious main question for all the time machine talk. When mathowie and/or me have time, we'll work with you to help make a deletable question non-deletable. When we're busy, we won't.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:12 AM on June 18, 2006

But what if Hitler had never been born?

The aliens who programmed his brain would have picked another baby.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2006

Oh, c'mon folks. Admittedly I haven't read the original question, but if questions are removed because the asker hasn't the words to form it in an acceptable manner, that's a ridiculous and unfair restriction.

Sometimes people just don't know the best way to ask the question, and that's why AskMe is answered by people, not computers (AskJeeves).
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:52 AM on June 18, 2006

It's not unfair and ridiculous at all.

It would be unfair to say "if you can't state every aspect of your question in accurate and precise terms as used by those familiar with the area", it would. That's what questions are for.

But that's not the issue here. There was a fair amount of effort put into making up a science fiction backstory for the question. This made a good question appear one of the usual "what if bats made cities?" type hypotheticals. That's wasted effort, and makes a lot of people not notice what you were actually asking.
posted by freebird at 10:14 AM on June 18, 2006

Admittedly I haven't read the original question

It's linked in this thread; it'd take you thirty seconds to do so.
posted by cortex at 10:31 AM on June 18, 2006

It's linked in this thread; it'd take you thirty seconds to do so.

The altered version is, but I don't see the original.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:36 AM on June 18, 2006

Wait, it used to be even worse?
posted by cortex at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2006

Apparently so. Having not seen the original, I can only imagine that it was about time-traveling bat people and their evolutionary success against the primates.
posted by klangklangston at 2:22 PM on June 18, 2006

I just brought it back, sans the time machine silliness.

Yay, a victory for common sense. By which I mean, me.

I think if we got the question back, but learned a lesson about making sure a good question doesn't get obscured by the way it's worded or framed, that's good all around.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:53 PM on June 18, 2006

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