I think it would be possible to answer a question like this if sufficient data was collected about various vehicles:

Is there a rule of thumb for estimating volumetric efficiency?

I am quite comfortable asking the question, but where should I ask it?:

  • The main site would be ideal...

    ... since it can reward contributors with reputation. But then the data will be fragmented across multiple answers and the Q&A format breaks a little since there isn't really a right or preferred answer.

    Could question community-wiki-fication be a solution here? It would be disappointing that CW questions don't reward contributors with reputation, but that is the only drawback I can see.

  • Meta is a possible venue to ask this question...

    ... but it isn't a question about the site. 'Nuff said.

  • And then there's chat.

    But chat is volatile and will soon be forgotten, and this question will remain relevant and answerable for a long time because there are literally tens of thousands of different makes and models that could serve as unique datum points in the quest to discover this rule of thumb.

I'm leaning towards a CW-style question on the main site, but want to know what others think of this idea first.

  • 1
    I'm personally leaning towards what tlhingan says below. I cannot see as how it would be a fit for what we have here, but I'd have no issue with advertising the project here on Meta. I'd personally put a featured tag on it as well so it will show up on the front page. The project in and of itself is a great idea. I'm looking forward to seeing results myself. Dec 18, 2016 at 18:24

3 Answers 3


What people think of this will really depend on what part of SE culture they are coming from.

The fact is, in the grand vision of SE sites, this really isn't an appropriate main site question. Plus, when you think about it, it essentially boils down to a poll: Realistically I think you'll see a lot of people simply posting numbers rather than uploading to, say, a data collection site you've set up or something. This could get really messy.

Pedantically, it's not really ideal meta fodder either, since it's not about the site.

This is a good illustration of a small gap (just a small one) in SE's model that comes up every once in a while: The sites have great communities and so if you have something you want to talk to the community about, there's a lot of exposure to like-minded people, but the sites just aren't forums for that kind of thing, so it's a bit of a bummer. Where this type of thing would be great on a forum, it doesn't fit the Q&A model well.

That said, I think it's a cool effort. And personally, fwiw, I'm all about seeing it here even if it is an exception to the rule (just watch out for slippery slopes).

So: Philosophically, no, it doesn't really belong anywhere on this site. Personally, I think putting it on meta is a great compromise. Furthermore, if the consensus is that we'd like to see it on the main site, I wouldn't fight that at all, but really I think meta is safe and the most appropriate if not ideal (likewise, if the consensus was NO, I wouldn't fight that either). I can't realistically see it being poorly received here, but I think we'd have to be careful about pruning answers to keep it tidy. It's a tricky one.

Also, other things you can do to gather data, regardless of what you do here:

  • Post your request on other forums, as many as possible.
  • Put a description of it in your user profile here.
  • Mention it in chat.
  • Mention it in comments where it's relevant.
  • Tweet about it. Post on Facebook about it. Take a photo of you giving a thumbs up and a cheesy smile in front of a computer screen with data logs on it and throw it on Instagram.

As for the data gathering itself, I do have some ideas, but that discussion is more appropriate for the actual post if and when you make it somewhere.


Well, here's my 10 cents:

  • it's a great project
  • I'd send you my data if I can capture it rather easily
  • we have a great community of gearheads ("petrolheads," for those on THAT side of the pond)
  • I'd love to see the conclusion/answer of that project
  • the question you are wanting to answer with this project about volumetric efficiency is on-topic for the site ("engine theory")
  • it ain't a Q&A type of question for the main site
  • grabbing the data off the chat will be clumsy
  • it don't belong on Meta
  • I'd setup a simple website with a database where people would submit their data through an online form (rather simple to setup, use email invites to keep trolls away)
  • I think you could use the chat here to garner interest in the project, other forums too
  • 2
    I'm a big fan of Google Forms myself, easy to set up and the response spreadsheet can be publicly shared and view-only.
    – Jason C
    Dec 18, 2016 at 18:15

So what I'm wondering – and maybe it should be a separate question – is do we want to be a place to develop new knowledge or just to share what is already known. Certainly this can be argued both ways for most users this question would be irrelevant, but it also seems like a really good thing for the process of "hacking" our understanding to be public and visible. I think it encourages others to do the same.

  • 1
    I think this is a really interesting topic, but really deserves its own question.
    – Jason C
    Dec 23, 2016 at 15:31

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