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My question Why are weather kites no longer used (much) operationally? received (at the time of writing) two close votes; one for being not an expert-level question (I disagree), and one for being off-topic. My meta-question is about the latter part.

Are questions about the history of Earth science, including the history of observations of Earth, on-topic?

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  • $\begingroup$ I could not figure out how to withdraw my vote, flagged the question in the hope that moderators can do that for me. $\endgroup$ – BHF Apr 21 '14 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @BHF Click on the "close" link. You will get a message that you have already voted, but also a link where you can withdraw your close vote. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Apr 21 '14 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ while I think the history of Earth Sciences has its place here, it might conflict later with a new SE site proposal (if they do launch it): History of Science And Mathematics $\endgroup$ – plannapus Apr 22 '14 at 6:52
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I consider your "history" question on topic because it is from the "past to the present." That is, you talked about weather kites historically and then ask why they were superseded by present instruments when weather kites still have certain advantages.

Regarding the other part of the question "a more accurate header line, and improved wording" are more concerns for a DOWN vote than close vote. (The downvotes can be easily retracted if a change is made).

"Disciplinary" actions (downvotes and close votes) should act primarily as an incentive for people to improve. The idea of "let's kick off the content we don't like" (which is what close votes tend to do), should be considered a last resort, for things that can't be fixed.

In BHF's shoes, I would have down voted, accepted your changes, and removed the downvote.

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    $\begingroup$ Tom Au you are right, I used too strong means. @gerrit - sorry for that. $\endgroup$ – BHF Apr 21 '14 at 20:03
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To answer the question more broadly, I think history questions in general are completely on-topic. There are a lot of good topics in Earth Sciences related to history (not only at geologic timescales!): Earth's shape or Earth's age controversies, Wegener theory, progress of our knowledge about Earth's interior... This hold at least until the beta of History of Science And Mathematics is open. Then, maybe it would be a good idea to migrate (some of) the history questions there.

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