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The question is here: Did the US ban the Volkswagen XL1 for being too fuel efficient?

More than one person has commented on it saying that asking about motivation is off topic. That's fine, my actual question isn't asking someone to read minds. If the car is indeed banned for sale in the USA, there should be a reason why listed somewhere in public record, which is what I would like to know.

I'm new to Skeptics, but not to Stack Exchange as a whole (75k on SF). Can someone tell me what faux paus I've apparently committed so that I can avoid it in the future and have comments be more focused on the question rather than how I asked it?

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The relevant FAQ entry about motivation questions is here and the discussion about it is here.

Personally, I don't have a problem with your question, but if it is causing people to (mis)read it as question about motivations, you could tweak it to replace:

Can anyone shed some light on whether or not it is actually banned, and if so, what the actual reason is?

with

Can anyone shed some light on whether or not it is actually banned, and if so, what the given reason was?

which more closely matches your intent as you have clarified in the comments.

I hope you understand why people are leery of questions which ask "What was the actual secret ulterior reason behind this action?" If not, I can try to explain further. If so, you may see that your question has been (I think incorrectly) caught up in the net due to some vague word choice.

I appreciate your attempts to improve your own questions, and hope you will stick around. I wouldn't be overly concerned in this case; the question is above average in quality.

  • I hope you understand why people are leery of questions which ask "What was the actual secret ulterior reason behind this action?" I sure do. Maybe we should "default" to interpreting the word "why" in the context that is topical instead of fearing the worst when it's ambiguous. I have absolutely no problem being more specific in my wording in the future, but I can imagine it's frustrating for people that land here from Google, read the tour, and ask a well-intentioned question. But, of course, that's a whole different ball of wax :) Thanks for your explanation. – MDMarra Apr 13 '14 at 17:40
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Part of the rules of this website is that we only debate claims that someone who believes in them makes. If there nobody who believes in a claim we don't bother addressing the claim.

In this case you provided you evidence that there someone who believes that the stated reasons for which the US banned the car is that it's too fuel efficient.

The source that you cite rather states that people in power took actions to get the car banned because they didn't think it was in their interest to have the car.

Interpreting the "why" as a question about the stated reason turns the claim into a strawman. Part of critical thinking is to avoid arguing against strawman.

  • Sorry, maybe I'm not understanding you, but I wasn't asking anyone to look for an ulterior motive or to read deeper than face value. I was asking that if the claim of a ban was true, what reason was the official one given by the banning agency? These bans don't happen in a vacuum, there is documentation for the official cause (safety, emissions, etc). That is what I was asking for. I'm finding that a lot of people around here read the word "why" and think the worst :) – MDMarra Apr 16 '14 at 17:49

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