This is a good point. When a question slips by that doesn't seem to meet notability requirements or is somehow considered not appropriate that shouldn't be used as justification for other questions that are similarly not appropriate to be acceptable.
People make mistakes, things slip by, etc etc etc.
The problem here is that questions that should be considered wrong are continually allowed, up voted and all but endorsed while other questions are closed for not being notable or being too vague. Reasons that seem every bit as applicable to the questions that are allowed to remain open.
The "Two wrongs don't make a right argument" only really holds when the wrongs are exceptions. That isn't the case on Skeptics.SE
When questions that seem like they should be considered "wrong" are endorsed and upvoted, then how are people not supposed to use that as justification for their questions also being acceptable?
- Did dragons exist - There is absolutely no claim at all. There is no evidence that someone is claiming that yes, dragons as portrayed in illustrations existed in reality. Conversely this question relating to tourists remains closed, despite having more evidence of people making the claim or the question being based on a widespread belief.
- These questions asking if Tupac and Elvis are still alive are not great questions for this site, since they tend to rely on proving a negative. They would seem to have little to do with scientific skepticism. Yet, they are considered acceptable.
- This question on the Bat-Signal is considered acceptable with Jeff himself saying it was a good question, despite no one claiming that it is possible. This question on nuclear power plants seems to be based on just hearsay, yet is fine. Meanwhile this question on Australians and facial features which has a clearly defined and notable claim is closed.
- This question on reverse psychology is asked because the poster is curious. There is no evidence of a claim or it being a widely held belief and questions about idle curiosities are explicitly not appropriate, yet it remains.
- This question on throwing a coin of the side of a building is based on a discussion had a long time ago, with no reference to show notability. This question on glass flow is based on anecdotes, without any reference to a claim. This question about scientists interviewed in the WSJ is curiosity. There is no one making the claim being asked about.
- The question asking do atoms exist is a great example. Originally no claim in the question at all, simply idle curiosity without even evidence of a search to show why the asker doubted the claim. The question was closed by the community yet this was reversed by the moderators without justification. Perhaps the popularity of the question has something to do with it.
Most of these questions are from within the last month, however there is a similar pattern throughout the site for at least the last six months.
I like most of these questions, I think they are interesting and I learn a lot from both reading the questions and seeing the answers. I don't think any of them should be acceptable as they are however. This high degree of inconsistency simply isn't fair to users who have their questions closed for reasons that are equally applicable to questions that remain open.
You can't use the argument that two wrong's don't make a right when questions that are "wrong" are continually accepted.
Some of these questions are interesting topics that would benefit the community. But in that case they should be closed until a claim is cited or whatever the problem with the question is fixed. That's what the close functionality is for. It would be good to see it start being used evenly and consistently, so that the "wrongs" are exceptions rather than the norm.
The idea is to eliminate trollish, lazy, non-scientific, poor quality, idle curiosity or otherwise inappropriate questions. Since there is a high degree of inconsistency in whether a question is acceptable or not, I think this warrants further discussion.
Perhaps having firmer, clearer guidelines would help alleviate this problem. Unfortunately the discussion on that topic was closed.