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A number of questions were asked today about the significance of seemingly random numbers on the "mi-yodeya-series". My immediate reaction is that there would be no answer to these questions, and that they are just noise. Is there any guideline for what makes a question unacceptably low-quality for being most likely unanswerable? And how should this be flagged?

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    As with anything regulated by convention and not strict rules, someone will eventually find a way to abuse the system and ruin it for everyone else
    – Double AA Mod
    Mar 1 at 13:36
  • @DoubleAA at least at this point people are downvoting the questions and not answering them.
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 1 at 14:29
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I think that the [mi-yodeya-series] tag is particularly vulnerable to this. I propose that a policy similar to the PTIJ policy be enforced on this tag.

  1. The format of the post must look like The first ones, and that procedure should be followed.

  2. The posts must be in sequence. You cannot make a question about n until a question about n-1 has been asked and answered satisfactorily. When this series started, I might object to this rule, but at this point, all questions and answers will be pretty obscure, so I don't think this is too tyrannical.

  3. A new question cannot be made until the number before it has at least one upvoted answer.

Alternatively, you can just downvote and ignore these question and they will probably eventually stop. The series was cool, but as Double AA mentioned it is being abused at this point.

See also this discussion about the future of the [mi-yodeya-series] tag on this site.

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  • Does it make sense for me to accept this answer, or is that inappropriate for someone like me with so little ranking?
    – Mordechai
    Mar 2 at 21:59
  • it is entirely within your right. You asked the question. I personally would not. I initially check-marked DoubleAA's answer in the linked question, but he pointed out and I agree that in the very least the community should decide first with upvotes. To add to that, I think that with policy questions like this, it would be inartful to indicate that you have "decided" the issue for everyone with a check mark. Let the upvotes be the checkmark imo.
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 3 at 16:56
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    re 2, it might be worth adding a caveat for those who actually want to inquire regarding potential significance of a number, that they can still ask, just not as part of the series - e.g. if someone suspects there might be significance in Judaism to 10,000 but doesn't think there is to 3,428.
    – Loewian
    Mar 3 at 20:48
  • Ah what about the chameesheet etc questions, are those in sequence? I think not
    – bluejayke
    Mar 5 at 20:11
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I think this question should be decomposed into a few components.

  1. Is the question "What is the Judaism significance of number N?" ever on-topic?

I think the answer to this is yes, as it is very easy to contemplate a clear Judaism-based motivation to want to know what the Judaism significance of a particular number is, and it's quite reasonable to expect experts on Judaism to be especially able to answer.

  1. Is such a question on-topic regardless of explicit motivation in the question post?

I think that this is more or less equivalent to the question Is a question that asks "What does Judaism think of x" possibly off-topic?, previously discussed on Meta. I posted two answers to that question, both of which have net-positive scores at present:

  • Such questions are on-topic, but we strongly encourage including explicit motivation.

  • Such questions are only on-topic if they either include explicit motivation or if such motivation is reasonably obvious.

There isn't a clear consensus regarding this question, but the first of these answers has a higher net score. Therefore, it seems that we do not have a clear policy to close such questions.

  1. Is the boilerplate motivation for many past entries in the Mi Yodeya series sufficient for considering them on-topic?

The traditional Passover song "Echad - mi yodeya" implies a possible presupposition that there is a Jewish significance to be found for each natural number. Accordingly, there is an ongoing series on Mi Yodeya that is attempting to unearth significant Judaism facts about each number, in sequence.

Per (2), such explicit motivation isn't strictly required for these questions to be considered on-topic. If one was, I'd personally consider this motivation facially acceptable but not super-compelling, absent the context of a community project.

  1. Are newer posts in this series, without any explicit motivation, on-topic?

Per (2), yes.

  1. Are newer posts in this series, without any explicit motivation, low-quality?

Per (2), yes.

Therefore, I recommend:

  • Not closing previous Mi Yodeya Series posts.

  • Not closing the new posts in question.

  • Taking question-post quality into account when voting.

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    This discusses being on topic, but what about Too Broad or Primarily Opinion Based? There's often dozens of equally valid answers with no way to evaluate which is better
    – Double AA Mod
    Mar 1 at 16:46
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    @DoubleAA POB, I don't see, as these questions aren't asking for an opinion. TB is a valid concern for such catalog questions, and our standard recommendation is that the question specify criteria for evaluation, which I did, in the form "The more significant within Judaism and the more intrinsically dependent on the value N, the stronger the answer." Let me think about how to incorporate this consideration into this answer.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Mar 1 at 16:50
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    TB is usually for "multiple questions in one" which this isn't really. POB seems more applicable because, while the existence of the relevant number in the source provided is objective, its significance is entirely OB.
    – Double AA Mod
    Mar 1 at 16:55

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