We have this question, currently on hold, but more or less OK since the edit.

Does the amount of land needed to get the USA to zero-carbon electricity correspond to a small area of Texas?

The question says that Musk, on the video, talks about putting the entire united states on solar power.

The problem arises when one watches the video and notices that, in any moment of the video, Musk talked about going full solar, thus making the question incompatible with the linked claim.

Some people suggested to edit the question to make it correct. However, as far as I see, that would change the question too much, making it different from the apparent intent of the OP.

What should we do in cases like this, when the OP seems to misunderstand the claim reference? Should we consider the question valid, and answer something in the lines of "Your reference says something that differs from your question", or should we edit the question to make it match the claim?

  • how exactly do i miss understand the claim? May 8, 2015 at 8:46
  • I've stated this on my question. Musk never talks about powering the entire usa, he talks about going non carbon-based power. Theres a huge difference here. Musk's solution doesn't remove nuclear power, for example. Also, this questionar is based on your questionar before the latests edits.
    – T. Sar
    May 8, 2015 at 9:20
  • @Sickest I forgot to tag you on my last comment.
    – T. Sar
    May 8, 2015 at 10:32

2 Answers 2


Questions on this website need a notable claim. The misunderstanding by a person who writes a question on this website by itself isn't notable. Editing the editing so that it addresses an interesting and notable claim improves the question.

  • +1 Edit the question or close it: because a published claim by Elon Musk is "notable" but a misunderstanding of that claim is probably not.
    – ChrisW
    May 11, 2015 at 12:12

I don't have any hard-and-fast rules (and if the community comes up with some, I will follow theirs), but I think my approach is something like this:

  • Is this a solitary case of someone simply misunderstanding a prosaic claim?

"I just heard on the radio that they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Osama! After what he did to the Kurds!?"
"No, dude. You misheard. They said Obama."

Close the question with a comment. It is of no value to the Internet to keep this around.

  • Is it a common misunderstanding?

"Does Carbon Dioxide affect the Ozone layer?"
"You are confusing Greenhouse Effect with the Ozone Hole. That is not the claim that was made in the links you provided."

Answer the question with an explanation that it is a misunderstanding. Be nice! Generally, don't spend much effort in attempting to answer the strawman*.

(* I've been told off before that this is not technically a strawman argument, but I still don't have a better word.)

  • Is it a simple misquote, that, when corrected, still leaves an interesting claim to be skeptical about?

Edit the question. Leave the answers for addressing the interesting claim.

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