But let’s go deeper. What, specifically, is wrong with asking Gorilla
Nobody needs to know the answer to this question. Do you own a
gorilla? Do you own a shark? When was the last time you even saw a
gorilla and shark going at it hand to fin? In other words, what is
your skin in this particular game? What specific problem, other than
idle curiosity, would answering this question satisfy or solve for you
… or anyone else?
It’s not nearly specific enough. Where will the fight be, in what
location? Underwater, or on land? What are the rules of the fight so
we can determine a victor? Will it be to the death, or under some type
of points system? Can they be trained specifically to fight by
trainers, or are they completely on their own? Without any kind of
scope, every answer can make any assumptions they like — and there
will assuredly be hundreds, all different.
It is difficult to learn from these questions. Let’s say,
hypothetically speaking, we had animaltrainers.stackexchange.com, a
site full of people who have hands-on experience with both gorillas
and sharks. And they were, hypothetically speaking, willing to answer
such a question to the best of their expert knowledge. In the process,
you might learn a few interesting things about both animals, such as
that an adult gorilla’s upper body strength is six times more powerful
than that of an adult human. Or that shark skin is so tough and hard
that before the invention of sandpaper, shark skin was used to polish
wood. But this sort of learning is largely accidental at best, like a
random walk through an encyclopedia. It might be entertaining as a
speculative diversion to compare and contrast these two very different
animals in broad terms. But even under ideal circumstances there
really can be no absolute answer to this question other than “it
depends; both animals are adapted to their particular environment and
have certain strengths and weaknesses.” This is a good answer, maybe
even the correct answer, but it’s just not that useful.
It drives away experts. What serious, expert animal trainer would give
Gorilla vs. Shark the time of day? This kind of question attracts the
opposite of experts: people who aren’t serious animal trainers, but
are willing to engage in idle speculation and discussiony generalities
— rather than focusing on the real world, specific, honest-to-goodness
questions they face in their day to day work. Any true expert who came
to animaltrainers.stackexchange.com would be appalled to see a
question like Gorilla vs. Shark appear on the homepage.
It’s not perfect, but it is a potentially salvageable question. The
asker must contribute a bit more work beyond the title, too. We expect
questions to do some basic research before even asking. Did you spend
time with both features on both sites? Did you compare and contrast
them yourself? What are others saying? Share your research! And most
critically, give us context. Explain why you’re looking at this, and
what you mean by “better” — clicks to share, discoverability, design,
and so forth. Put yourself in the shoes of the people you hope will
answer. Have you given them enough guidance and specifics so they know
how to reasonably answer your question in, say, 15 minutes?
Perhaps this is a red herring. I honestly feel a lot of the “this v.
that” questions would be better expressed as examinations of the
underlying concepts without all the mock conflict. But if you must
compare and contrast two things in a Stack Exchange question — and
don’t want your question to get instantly closed as Not Constructive —
try to keep Gorilla vs. Shark in mind.