You love your site and we love your site, but there is a whole world of people out there who might not even know it exists. When they do find it, their first impression will either scare them away or keep them around. Given this, let's take a hard look at the questions and answers here and make sure newcomers see the site at its best!

Below you'll find ten questions randomly selected from this site. What do you think about each of them and their answers? Are they the best they can be or can they be improved? Would they look interesting and inviting to an outsider or are they a little embarrassing?

Upvote the corresponding post here on meta when we're awesome. Downvote when our content just isn't quite up to par.

Oh, and do comment to let everyone know your thoughts and take part in this conversation. :)

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How many Convention badges do you have now?? ;) –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 17:12
    
@jonsca: We all know that this Community team thing is just a front for a mass rep-and-badge laundering scheme :P –  ManishEarth Aug 19 '12 at 9:28
    
@jonsca A few..... :) –  Anna Lear Aug 28 '12 at 21:08
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closed as too localized by Anna Lear Aug 28 '12 at 21:08

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

10 Answers

Differences between phenols and alcohols

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(+1) Question is rather simple/innocent, but it gets surprisingly interesting as one digs down. I'll admit I didn't like the question too much when I first saw it, but I no longer hold that opinion. Additionally, it may interest a wide range of people, despite its simplicity. Answer is mine, so I won't comment on it :P –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:01
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Questions like this one (and the answer given) are good questions to make entry-level students feel welcome. This is a common misunderstanding for the undergraduate student, especially given that many textbooks do not explicitly label the phenol group a separate functional group. Apparently you cannot list more than 20 functional groups in your table of functional groups ><. –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 13:39
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Flammability (NFPA) - how is it defined?

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(+1) I rather like the way the question is written, and it points out a confusion that is present in quite a few people--the difference between "combustible" and "supporter of combustion" ("fuel"/"oxidant"). The answer is pretty comprehensive as well. –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:06
    
This is a well-written question about a confusing topic. I won't comment on my answer, but the comments on my answer are insightful and provide other helpful tidbits. –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 13:41
    
As much as I was a bit hesitant of "safety" questions in the beginning, I think that by-and-large the site has handled them quite well. I think this and others are a step towards the site being a source of information in that area. –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 16:56
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67 failures at extracting acetaminophen from Excedrin(R)

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+1 While it's a bit localised [OK, many questions here can be considered localised--chemistry is that way--but usually there is an underlying concept], this question highlights the issues with experimental chemistry in a nice way. To a newcomer, it would probably be an interesting read. –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:34
    
(+1) Same comments. A bit localized, but I found it a fascinating read in the process of experimental chemistry. And it is a real question. –  Colin McFaul Aug 16 '12 at 2:06
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+1 For me, this question (and answers) is a good example of asking experimental questions: background is given, procedure followed is clearly indicated, and the answers give valid hints at working around the issue… –  F'x Aug 16 '12 at 10:11
    
The question is mine, so I won't comment on it. The answers provided interesting work-arounds to the problem I faced. I haven't accepted an answer yet because neither of them will work in my teaching lab. I have since discovered a likely answer, and will answer my own question if it works. –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 13:36
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I agree with the others. The only thing I have a second thought about is the title, which of course can be edited. I think it could be a bit more descriptive, offering a unifying description of the failures rather than a statistic. –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 16:54
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Can I test for lead with household chemicals?

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Answers both offered the OP exactly what he/she wanted, and explained the background of the tests nicely. Answers didn't just recommend "get a testing kit" (though this might have also been a viable option). –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 17:03
    
(+1) [Forgot to comment, apparently] Experimental chemistry with a twist, "household chemicals only". The answers are quite extensive, offering lots of various tests and observations. I found the entire set of posts rather interesting :) –  ManishEarth Aug 19 '12 at 5:09
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Calcium carbonate toxicity

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(+1) Question can really be answered by a simple MSDS lookup, so we have what looks like an lmgtfy post. The answer analyses it nicely, though. –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:13
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I agree with @Manishearth. However, just reading the MSDS does not mean that toxicity is obvious. The answer does a nice job of handling that problem. As an extreme case, look up the toxicity information in the MSDS for sucrose (table sugar), which often include the phrase "slightly hazardous by ingestion". –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 13:54
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How does brewing time and brewing temperature affect the flavonoid concentration of green tea?

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(+0) Not something I'd expect on chem.SE. The question doesn't really show any research effort, it's rather to-the-point. The answer is a result of some good digging, though. I personally would like it if there was some explanation of the mechanism in the answer as well (but it's fine the way it is) –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:17
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+1 for the answer… –  F'x Aug 16 '12 at 10:15
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(+0) The answer if good, but neither the question nor the answer contain much chemistry. An answer that included the structures of representative flavonoids, their water solubilities, their decomposition temperatures, etc., would have been better. Simply being redirected to two papers, which I may not have access to. –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 15:29
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Needs a lot more background on the part of the OP, however, I still think it "boils down to" (har har) an extraction problem. The answer was great. –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 17:11
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Where can I obtain tables of P-V-T/compression factor data?

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(0) As I mentioned there, it borders on a make-a-list question (and is just asking for links), but it's a rather useful question to have around, IMO. The answer isn't just link-only, which makes me happy :) –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:30
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+1 it asks for a liste of resources, but the list is (both to my knowledge and that of others) limited to one place. A one-item list isn't so bad :) –  F'x Aug 16 '12 at 10:14
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Asked in good faith and in a professional context, it wasn't a "Where do I find X constant that I need for my homework problem?" type question. –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 17:09
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How to name this cyclic compound with an O

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(0) Not exactly Googleable, but bordering on it. If one knows that the common name is THF, one can easily get the IUPAC name. Still, interesting to newcomers, the naming of heterocyclic compounds isn't too well known, IMO. –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:39
    
(+1) for the question, (0) for the answer. The nomenclature of heterocycles is confusing and overlooked by introductory textbooks. I think the answer could be better, especially if it did not include a possible copyright violation. –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 15:29
    
@BenNorris The answer does cite the source, so I think it would probably constitute fair use, but I'm not a legal expert –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 17:04
    
I think there could be an infinite number of these questions, but I would agree with Manish. It does bring up the point of having some sort of integrated chemistry drawing program with the site, which would give a basis for comparison with existing structures. –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 17:06
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@jonsca It probably is fair use, especially given the "educational" mission of this site. If we had an incorporated drawing tool, then we would less lifting of structures from around the web and more drawing them ourselves. As suggestion, perhaps an extension that could render a SMILES or INChI string back to the appropriate structure would be easier to implement than a full structure drawing applet –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 17:47
    
In the spirit of Ben Norris' suggestion: wolframalpha.com/input/?i=SMILES+C1CCCO1 –  CHM Aug 26 '12 at 21:51
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Temperature dependence in absorption spectroscopy

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(+0) Sounds slightly open-ended, but it's not too open-ended. Pretty interesting question as well. Answers are sufficient but not extensive. –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:10
    
(+1) On a second reading, I agree that it sounds slightly open-ended. I liked it enough to provide an answer, and it was on my (physics) qualifying exam. My answer could be more thorough. –  Colin McFaul Aug 16 '12 at 2:03
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Too open ended, even with the "narrowing" question at the end. –  jonsca Aug 16 '12 at 17:07
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Empirical vs Molecular Formulas

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(-1) I feel it's against our homework policy (both the question and the answer). The question shows no efforts (and is rather naïve--but that's not a bad quality). The answer fully answers the question (the homework policy wants hints and concepts, full answers are prohibited). Besides, it doesn't really explain the concept behind emperical/molecular formulae. [Note:CHM edited his answer, it's better now] –  ManishEarth Aug 15 '12 at 18:26
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(-1) Even though the poster made it clear this was for self-study, the question is still likely reproduced exactly from a textbook or similar source. A better question would have been about the difference between empirical and molecular formulas and how you find them. CHM's answer is not bad, but a better one would have used examples that were not in the original question. –  Ben Norris Aug 16 '12 at 15:21
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