When I saw this question, I was tempted to vote to close because I thought the question was unanswerable, but then I thought why bother, it's from a new user and probably doing so might discourage them from asking other questions

Then I was surprised to find that it really does have a canon answer, mainly because canon has expanded over from the books to other forms of media, making the question answerable and on topic

So is it ok to ask questions such as

  • What is Hagrid's favourite Quidditch team?
  • What is Prof. Snape's favourite Quidditch team?
  • What is Prof. Trelawny's favourite Quidditch team?
  • What is Cornelius Fudge's favourite Quidditch team?

or may be even

  • What is Arabella Figg's favourite Quidditch team?
  • What is Bellatrix Lestrange's favourite Quidditch team?
  • What is Voldemort's favourite Quidditch team?

If a user or group of users decide to flood the site with these, is it trolling or curiosity?

  • 1
    Highly relevant - possibly even dupe, since it's discussing the same general issue although the specific context is different.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 5 '16 at 9:30
  • 4
    The question being assumed to be non-answerable is not valid grounds for closing. EVER. There is nothing in scope rules about "we don't know the answer" - among other good reasons, because that assertion is more often false than true (literally. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a canon answer to something someone declared as "unanswerable", I could probably buy a new high-end PC). Nov 5 '16 at 16:38
  • 3
    @DVK-in-exile - There is no greater joy in life to finding a precise word-of-god answer to a question that someone has declared to be "unanswerable", especially when it comes from an obscure source.
    – Valorum
    Nov 5 '16 at 16:46

Asking these questions individually would be pointless. Far better to ask a finite scope list question like:

"What are the favourite Quidditch Teams of the main (and minor) characters in Harry Potter?"

Given that it's a pretty small pool to choose from, and given that someone with a reasonable grasp of the literature (and a degree of patience) could answer it, I'd say that it was far more acceptable than flooding the site with semi-duplicate "What team does X support" questions.

  • 2
    Hmm. How well scoped is a question about "main (and minor) characters in HP"? That's a lot of characters.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Nov 5 '16 at 9:31
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    @Randal'Thor - Yes, but only a very few will have a canonical interest in Quidditch, and only a tiny proportion will have a known favourite team, my guess is less than 5-10 in total.
    – Valorum
    Nov 5 '16 at 9:58
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    @Valorum - I don't mind such an approach, but I had a distinct impression you yourself argued against such "big finite list" questions. And I know many people on the site hate them with a passion. Nov 5 '16 at 16:43
  • @DVK-in-exile - I despise big finite lists. This one isn't going to be especially big unless someone's actually stupid enough to type out the entire cast-list with the words "Unknown" next to 98% of them.
    – Valorum
    Nov 5 '16 at 16:45
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    @Valorum - Sounds tempting.
    – ibid
    Nov 8 '16 at 6:21

There's really two questions you have in there, and the answer is different for them.

Is it OK to ask multiple questions on a theme?


There's nothing in our scope or site rules that says your questions can't be similar to other questions. On this site, we also don't have anything in our rules that says they have to be notable questions. Idle curiosity and trivia has always been allowed. So, by that definition, it's "OK".

If the list of questions is short enough, and it's finite (its not getting any bigger), then asking one question may be better. But asking them separately isn't wrong, it's just not ideal. At some point you might trigger users to start downvoting your questions, especially if they start to sound too trivial or too insignificant. (e.g. asking for the favorite Quidditch team of some wizard we saw for a brief second at Hogsmeade.)

Which is important: the questions may be "OK" in the sense that it's acceptable to ask them, but that doesn't make them "good". And "not good" questions are liable to be downvoted heavily, which is one mechanism that might deter a user from asking too many of these over time.

What if a user decide to flood the site with these?

This, however, is bad, but for a completely different reason. Normally we "assume good faith" when users asks questions, no matter how trivial. Flooding the site question questions with the intent to cause problems, though, is clearly acting in bad faith, and is abusing the system.

A user that posts questions specifically to cause trouble or disrupt other user's use of the site is trolling, and they would be subject to action by the moderators. The kinds of questions is relevant only in that it would help a moderator make a judgement call towards the user's motivations. Floods of really high-quality, well-written, well-thought-out questions are unlikely to be done in bad faith (mostly because that's a lot of effort to go through), but floods of low-quality, boilerplate trivia questions might be. If a user were trolling the site this way, they'd be dealt with for that reason, not because their questions were bad on their own.

  • The issue I have with this approach is that if someone later asks a more all-encompassing question, we'll end up having to de-dupe a bunch of older (but limited in scope) questions, many of which might be upvoted. Cue the inevitable tantrums.
    – Valorum
    Nov 6 '16 at 0:19
  • +1. This is the most reasonable approach, balancing lack of tyranny with defenses against deliberate vandalism Nov 6 '16 at 23:42
  • @Valorum If that did happen, I think the people involved would just need to accept that such things occur on SE. Or throw tantrums and be ignored, either one works.
    – KutuluMike
    Nov 7 '16 at 0:23

We just had a relevant discussion... with mixed results.

I think that many people agree there are some questions that are just too much idle speculation about insignificant details. An example that I think most people would agree is too insignificant is asking about a characters' favourite colour when there's nothing in a book about it.

OTOH, the question about favourite Quidditch teams is arguably more relevant: Quidditch is a significant part of the HP books, and the question you mentioned is asking about a character who is shown to be interested in the sport, which makes it at least somewhat significant.

I'd look at each question on its own merits - If someone's going to ask about Voldemort's favourite team, I'd expect them to give some explanation of why they think it's significant. Or for Snape, since he was pretty clearly not into sports as a student, I'd expect a question about what his favourite team is to explain why he'd have one at all - maybe he's a secret Quidditch fan?

  • Wasn't Snape supposed to have been jealous of James' Quidditch abilities while a student?
    – user13267
    Nov 5 '16 at 7:30
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    What is "insignificant" to you is significant to OP. Why is your opinion more important than OP's? Nov 5 '16 at 16:42
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    @DVK I don't see anywhere in my answer where I say my opinion is more important than the OP's. If you think it's obvious why e.g. someone's favourite colour is significant, you're free to vote up such a question. What I said was, "I'd expect them to give some explanation of why it's significant," for those cases. Nov 5 '16 at 17:13
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    @DVK-in-exile If it's significant to the OP, he's free to explain that in the actual question.
    – TARS
    Nov 6 '16 at 1:23
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    @CahirMawrDyffrynæpCeallach - he's equally free to NOT explain it. You may value a question if it has such an explanation more, but you may not require it for a question to be considered ontopic Nov 6 '16 at 1:38
  • 1
    @DVK-in-exile Sure, I wasn't saying that anyway.
    – TARS
    Nov 6 '16 at 1:53

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