"I don't know" is now a valid response to a Factual Questions post

I direct you to this this post of mine. I asked a factual question; “Is an old PC PSU “safe” to mess with.”

I expected reasonable answers (a couple of which I got pretty quickly), but the first response from Whack-a-Mole was:

I do not know if a power supply that has not been powered in months is safe. I would err on the side of caution.

Also, I think it may send the wrong message to a seven year old that poking around in some things is fine (safe). Maybe this one is, but the next one may not be and he will have no reason to think he shouldn’t do that.

At some point he can be taught how to safely mess with such things. I am not sure seven is old enough though (I will leave that to others to say).

Their response, the first in the thread, was literally “I don’t know.” Pile on top of that some unsolicited parenting advice, and it’s a pretty worthless response to the question.

Chronos stepped in and states as follows:

@Whack-a-Mole did take a stab at a factual answer. If you aren’t willing to accept answers on the grounds of completely irrelevant matters like whether the answerer has children, then I don’t see the need for this thread.

Which is absurd, because they absolutely did not take a stab at a factual answer. “I don’t know, but I don’t think I would” is not a stab at an answer. It’s a one-off I-have-something-to-say post that then meanders in to assuming that they know more about how my kid behaves and thinks than I do.

Chronos locking the post on top of that is just asinine. There were people responding with substantive answers, which I was appreciating.

If anything, the proper mod response should have been reminding Whack-a-Mole that FQ require at least the semblance of an attempt at a real answer.

Fwiw, it did seem to be locked prematurely. Maybe you were snippier than you needed to be in response to WaM; perhaps just ignore the answers that don’t register as factual in Factual Question threads. And fwiw again, WaM’s response did seem more imho than fq.

Whole thread looks like a slappy fight.

Honestly the name of the forum is a misnomer. It should be Guesses By People Who Post on SDMB.

I took this to mean “you can’t know if it is safe. I would err on the side of caution.” Maybe he meant it literally. Still, the “err on the side of caution” is a perfectly fine response to the question “is this safe?” Especially if you’re talking about a 7 year old child doing it.,

I obviously was already erring on the side of caution. I explained in my post that I didn’t let him mess with the innards. I didn’t say as much, but I also explained to kiddo WHY we couldn’t mess with it. I then erred on the side of caution by creating a post to ask about the situation. The train to erring on the side of caution had left already.

You were slapping down anything that wasn’t a strict encyclopedic answer. While I think you do have a point about wanting a purely factual answer, you were junior modding and being rather jerkish about it.

Every question in FQ is not required to be answered by a notable expert in the field, peer reviewed, and cited. We prefer actual facts and not guesses, but we’re not that draconian in the moderation of such posts. While Whack-a-Mole’s response did not address the question directly, he did express a safety concern. While this was not a purely factual response (I agree that it is more IMHO), it is an understandable response under the circumstances.

If you want your threads to remain open in FQ, don’t be so snippy and jerkish.

I certainly was not. You say that as if there were other answers that I slapped down. He did not provide an answer to slap down; he replied largely to advise me on the capabilities of children and appropriate and inappropriate activities in which to engage them. Which anyone with kids will tell you is pretty far out of line.


And I already had that covered.

Do you have kids?

While we’re here, I didn’t get the chance to thank Dorjan and Folly for their responses.

Thanks folks, that’s the kind of response I was looking for.

I agree with this perspective. Whatever OP thought about the usefulness of @Whack-a-Mole’s answer, it wasn’t snarky threadshitting, it wasn’t posted in bad faith, and I don’t think it was likely to lead to a sidetrack into general parenting advice that would suppress factual answers about capacitors. Why not just wait for other answers.

Said everyone who fried themselves with a microwave transformer or touched the red wire while dismantling an old television.

I think Whack-a-Mole’s response was appropriate and sometimes the answers to a FQ go places we may not anticipate. So even though WaM’s answer may technically been “I don’t know.” I think it is a factual answer to your question that one should teach children proper safety when dealing with electronics.

Would you have accepted the answer to your question if it were, “I don’t know but just like you treat a gun like it is always loaded, treat a capacitor like it is always charged.”?

Where is the +1 button?

IMHO, you didn’t say that you didn’t let him mess with the innards; instead you said you were “hesitant” to let him do so.

I don’t think this is anything new. People have long been able to say they don’t know the main answer to the question but try to give helpful information anyways.

I get finding Whack-a-Mole’s answer to be unhelpful. But I also understand why he would post it. Your title makes it like “safety” is the main question. It seems that, instead, your main question was “will the PSU still contain a charge?”

This again? What on God’s green Earth does anyone else’s parental status have to do with anything?

It is.

In the context it was asked, they are one and the same.

No, the moderator handled this correctly. Whack-a-Mole was behaving correctly. You were the person who was wrong.

You started the thread to ask for advice. You should not have gotten snarky with somebody who was sincerely offering advice. There’s no reason somebody needs to be a parent in order to offer advice on the safety of electronic appliances.

Ohhh no. I did NOT ask for advice. That’s what IMHO is for. That’s why I asked in FQ.

Also did not ask advice on the safety of electronic appliances. I specifically asked about capacitors in PSUs. Full stop.

If you’d reported the post instead of whipping out the nonsense “do you have kids?” gatekeeping inquiry, it might’ve gone down that way.

But by that measure what on earth was your snarky “do you have kids” comeback all about? That’s what sent the thread off the rails.