I'd like to relate here (rather than muddying up the actual question) what I was trying to accomplish with asking Was the US Navy larger in 1917, and if so, why?

This came up earlier this week in the Presidential Debate, and a lot of people were talking about it afterwards, probably cheifly due to the "horses and bayonetts" crack.

However, it occurred to me that it would be immensely useful to have a website I could reference during discussions of this issue that could explain the real issue here, and be viewed as somewhat authoritative.

For that to be the case though, the question has to be asked in as neutral and fair a way possible, even if the questioner (in this case myself) happens to believe one side of the discussion is dumber than a box of rocks.

So if someone points out that one side of the discussion is in fact dumber than a box of rocks, don't be surprised if I don't rush to its defence. :-) However, I think it would be useful to try to keep the tone of the answers as paedagogical as possible. I don't want to scare off potential readers with a political-looking set of answers.

As a general rule, do others think this is a good kind of question to be asking? It isn't often that this many ordinary people are talking about something that is essentially a question of history. If we jump right on such questions in the rare events that they come up, we might be able to get some of them high on search engine results, or even have one go viral.

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I think timely is essential and effective. I agree with your thinking. If we have a question tied to current events that happpens to get picked up somewhere, it can only benefit us. –  Steven Drennon Oct 25 '12 at 17:53
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think it was a great question. Timely questions have a much higher probability of showing up in search engines than esoteric history questions. I think you phrased the question perfectly, and I only hope that my answer was sufficient.

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FWIW: I upvoted your answer, and I'm guessing it will most likely end up accepted. I found the picture particularly effective. I'm holding off on accepting anything for a few days to encourage more answers. –  T.E.D. Oct 25 '12 at 16:30
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