It's a common yeshivish style that rather than just say:

Rabbi X reads the verse as Y.

or:

Rabbi X reads the verse as Y. And I think that fits well with the wording of such-and-such.

Instead you have to go:

Why exactly does the verse (Gemara, etc.) have to say this? It could have said that? Nothing is extra, so obviously it must be coming to teach us something? OH ... so Rabbi X says Y.

And sometimes the answer is better than the question.

It seems like we're getting some such questions here. Questioner isn't so much curious about an answer as interested in setting up a clothesline for some gishmacky vort they'd like to then say.

(Yes I've asked questions and then answered them, but they tend to be questions that I've actually wondered or heard others ask, before having an answer.)

Anything we should do about this? Other than me just being grouchy and not upvoting such questions.

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Do you mean where the OP answers his own question with an (apparently) pre-prepared answer? Or anything that's a little too medayek in lashon? –  HodofHod May 8 '12 at 20:26
    
It appears that he was trying to populate the site with content. –  Shmuel Brin May 8 '12 at 21:14
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Related meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/139/759 –  Double AA May 8 '12 at 22:42
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@HodofHod: My problem with judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/2042/883 is not that it is pre-prepared, but that both the question and answer are completely unsourced, and therefore almost entirely useless –  Menachem May 9 '12 at 1:25
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Also related: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/306/… –  Isaac Moses May 9 '12 at 13:47
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3 Answers

You haven't offered any examples from on-site. The hypothetical example you give —

Why exactly does the verse (Gemara, etc.) have to say this? It could have said that? Nothing is extra, so obviously it must be coming to teach us something? OH ... so Rabbi X says Y.

(where the question is meant as a setup for the last part) — is a weak question, certainly, but not necessarily closureworthy IMO. But sometimes it is. Specifically, if the question is one that someone might wish to ask even if he didn't have a prepared answer, then IMO it's good for the site. If not, not.

Thus, for example, the question titled "What's up with Rabbi Shimon ben Nesanel in Avos 2:10?" is a great question: there's a glaring discrepancy between two seemingly parallel texts. On the other hand, the question asking "כִּי מָחֹה אֶמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק — What does אֶמְחֶה stand for?" is closureworthy, since no one would ever ask what אֶמְחֶה stands for unless he had a ready answer. "What was Zimri's age at the time he had relations with Kozbi?" (though poorly worded) is a valid question IMO: someone might wonder what Zimri's age was, just as people often discuss how old various Tanach persons were when certain events occurred.

This is subjective, I'll grant. Some might argue that, in the world of remez, there are loads of acronyms formed from words in the Torah, so why not ask about אֶמְחֶה. Some might argue that the age of a Tanach person is of interest only at his death[1] or a really major event, not something like the Zimri's relations with Kozbi. So, yeah, applicability of the criterion I delineate above is a judgement call. But I think the criterion is a good one.


[1] Yes, Zimri died at the same age he had relations with Kozbi. But the question asked about the latter.

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+1 See also my answer to a related question, in which I suggest a "point of view" standard. –  Isaac Moses May 9 '12 at 13:47
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You haven't given any examples, and the example(s) in the comments don't seem to have anything wrong with them, so:

I really don't think these are much of a problem. At the end of the day, if they fit into the site they should be allowed.

Of course this is provided that the question is both:

  • Not too localized
  • In fact a real question

If the question has one of those two negative traits it should be closed.

In answer to what seems to be your reason for disliking these:

Questioner isn't so much curious about an answer as interested in setting up a clothesline for some gishmacky vort they'd like to then say.

Well yes, but intent should not invalidate a perfectly valid question. I myself have asked many questions in the early days that were merely to populate the site, and yet at the end of the day (barring a somewhat low accept rate on my part) they provided valuable content for future users [at least I hope so].

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I don't think Shalom's asking about regular "seeded" questions, only those that would never actually be asked as questions unless you already knew the answer. A hypothetical example would be: "Did anybody survive the flood by hanging on to the outside of the Ark?". I can't imagine anyone asking this unless they already knew that someone did. (Note that this question is different from "Who survived by hanging on to the outside .. ?" where the asker could have simply forgotten the guy's name.) FWIW, I didn't downvote. –  HodofHod May 9 '12 at 14:46
    
@HodofHod Well put. But how do you know if the guy asking for those people isn't asking it because they forgot. Will every (ambiguous) question on this site require an excuse? –  yydl May 9 '12 at 21:26
    
Good point. My personal opinion is that if someone asked a question like that, without any background info, then it may not be closure-worthy, but it's probably not upvote-worthy, either. Background info is: "I once learned that .. but I forgot ...", "Someone told me ... is there any Jewish source for it?", "I was learning about .. and this question occurred to me ..". In general, I'd like to see more info in questions about where the person got the question in the first place. –  HodofHod May 10 '12 at 0:00
    
Lacking that, and being a "clothesline" question, I would just leave it, unless it's closure-worthy for other reasons, e.g. Too Localized, NARQ, etc.. –  HodofHod May 10 '12 at 0:00
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I say close. These questions are like .

see: Riddle questions on SE?

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