Today I asked: Why did R2D2 not fly in Return of the Jedi? This question is similar to others I have asked about the internal consistency of Star Wars films, e.g.:

These two were considered legitimate (not closed) and both received a lot of votes (25 and 16 respectively - no down votes).

So when I asked today's question, I expected similar interaction with this community. Instead, the question was closed (on the votes of five separate people) within about an hour.

The comments, "Close, Argumentative", implied that I had done something wrong. I couldn't work it out until one person who closed it said, "It cannot simply be assumed that you are seeking an in-universe reason. The reason outside the universe is obvious, and bringing up the question at all can, and was, taken as a snipe against the prequels."

I modified the question to say I was looking for an in-universe explanation and it was re-opened an hour or so later.

I'm really puzzled here. I would have thought the community would, as with previous questions, assume good faith. Instead, it seemed to me more like a herd response: closing without thinking. (That is probably not the case, that is just how it came across to me.)

So - my question is, What can we learn from this?

  • I have learnt that I need to explain I am looking for an in-universe explanation especially, given the comments, when discussing the Star Wars prequels. (But I did not know that before because it was not required for my previous questions.)
  • Can the community learn something in this beta phase that it can use later in this site? For example, to assume good faith especially with an established contributor. As Jeff says, "assume good faith until the user has a documented history of not acting in good faith."

Footnote: I was hurt by this, because it implied that I am someone who would snipe, whereas my conduct up to now demonstrates the opposite.

2 Answers 2


Sorry you weren't treated how you liked, I don't think the voters were really targeting you specifically. I think the title just inspired anti-Prequel fervor, which sadly motivates Star Wars fans more than any other topic in the Sci-Fi sphere. Collectively, most Star Wars fans really, really hate the prequels, and that hate is so powerful and such a motivator that people come out of the woodwork just jump on top of the hate pile. (It's a little ironic because the films' central message is anti-hate)

Basically, hatred for the prequels overrides the weaker latent general community mind. That's not your fault, I would just treat any prequel-related question gingerly, so as not to inspire the wrath.

Also others may have closed the question for different reasons than the one mentioned above, in that case you would have to ask each individual voter. The reasons could be quite varied because I think almost every different user has at least a slightly different idea of what questions are valid and which ones are invalid.

Hopefully, the community can find ways to alleviate this confusion, but all I can think of at the moment is to improve the FAQ.

  • thanks Mark. How do you think the FAQ should be improved? Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 20:58
  • @Wikis - I'm not sure right now, we could explicitly state "While many users dislike Star Wars prequel questions, we ask that you please make an attempt to read the whole question before choosing to down-vote", but that's not the best idea. Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 21:06
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    I don't see any reason to change the FAQ here. It's already plenty long, and people who tend not to read questions for understanding don't read the FAQ anyway.
    – user56
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 21:42
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    Perhaps the FAQ should simply include: "assume good faith". Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 22:13
  • I just wanna point out that saying most Star Wars fans hate the prequels is a blatant generalization, if there is proof I will rescind my comment, but as far as l can tell it really depends on what community your involved with. Sites like www.starwarsreport.com, www.fullofsith.com and Podcasts like Coffee with Kenobi Star Wars underworld and the like have no major beef with the prequels. Granted most fans accept that the prequels have some flaws, but to say we hate them is an overstatement. Commented May 24, 2015 at 19:24
  • @LenieLenape - It's hard to say, perhaps your right. Commented May 24, 2015 at 19:33

On the whole, the system worked. Your question was closed due to a misunderstanding, a few comments were exchanged, and the question was reopened. Yes, it's sad that a legitimate question was closed because some people jumped to a misunderstanding. But don't feel so bad about it. There have been worse cases. Reopen votes exist precisely to solve these cases.

That being said, it's a principle of mine on Stack Exchange, if a question has an on-topic interpretation and an off-topic interpretation, I assume the on-topic interpretation only. If I feel the asker might be unclear about the topic of the site, I explain my interpretation in my answer. I might edit the question if I feel it is too prone to misinterpretation. I encourage others to do the same.

  • 1
    thanks, on the whole I agree. Seems like your proposal is also to "assume good faith". Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 22:14

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