I've asked this question about different kinds of lighters on Gran Canaria. Meanwhile it is put on hold as unclear what I'm asking. I think about a way to edit the question but can't really figure out how to make this more clear.

I'm a little bit confused what's the fuss to be honest. Isn't it a valid question to ask when something is remarkably different in a country (or let's say "area") than in the area you come from? I mean if you saw only Trabants in the DDR and you didn't know the reason for it, you would ask why there is only a single type of car on the streets. You wouldn't say that this question is not valid since a Trabant is based on the same technology than nearly any other car.

I can't really believe that this Clipper lighter is just a common thing in most countries since I know (personal experience) from at least these countries that they sell preferably the BIC-type lighter:

  1. Germany
  2. Austria
  3. Slovenia
  4. Croatia
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Italy
  7. France
  8. US (at least Alabama and New York)
  9. Vietnam
  10. Sweden

Also it's not like the Clipper kind is preferably shown in media. Examples:

  1. Google search for lighter mostly provides one with the BIC-like type
  2. Same for Unsplash search

Movie scenes commonly either have a Zippo, matches (both for badass purposes =)) or the BIC-like type. I personally have never seen a Clipper-type in a single movie.

The strange thing is that my question even attracted two answers in the comments. Sadly the authors decided to use them as an argument to invalidate my question rather than actually use them as an answer. Here's what they've written:

  1. They are just a common thing in most countries

it's not. they are common everywhere in spain, france, and italy. guess your world's smaller than mine

Imho this reflects the answer:

They are the preferred kind of lighters in at least Spain, France and Italy. So it's not very surprising that you see them in Gran Canaria, too. It's just a cultural random thing which doesn't serve a rational purpose.

Wouldn't that be a perfectly valid answer? (Even though I know that it's not true since I definitely know that there is a rational reason for these lighters and that they are not the preferred kind in Italy and France.)

  1. They are sold to support the local market

Same Wiki page says that the clipper lighters are mostly produced in Spain, where 1 of 3 Flamagas factories is located (for 55+ years). Doesn't seem illogical that they're commonly available on the 'local' market (i.e. southern European countries and 'friends')

A little bit added citation, formatting etc. and that's a perfectly valid answer too, isn't it?

So, how can it be unclear what I'm asking if I gave an example answer1 and even attracted two answers in the comments? How can I edit my question to make things more clear?

1 From the question:

(I thought that it maybe has to do something with the sand. Like maybe the mechanical parts of "the Clipper" are more resistant to it.)

  • 2
    I didn't vote to close it, but I guess it is unclear what the travel part of the question is. There are so many different lighters everywhere that I personally wouldn't notice what brand it was (possible exception being a Zippo, but they aren't a disposable).
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 12:55
  • 2
    I didn't vote on it because it was closed by the time I got there. I would have because if an implement offers the same utility who cares. They probably only sell the same type of underwear for all we know. Somebody has a franchise on distributing lighters and puts their label on them and travellers encounter situations like that. Nepotism? Corruption? Voodoo politics? Who cares? I will cast a reopen vote on the question and hopefully it will lead to a happy ending for you. I have had stuff closed also and I know the feeling, but ultimately it's the community's call which is final.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 13:24
  • 1
    @pnuts Yep, was my last question on travel. Worst community experience so far.
    – OddDev
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 6:03
  • OddDev Are you no longer interested in responses to even this question on meta? cc: @pnuts
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 8:47
  • 2
    @Fiksdal I'm still. :) Happily reading your inputs!
    – OddDev
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 9:22
  • If it's not on-topic anywhere in all of SE, you might refer them to a non-SE site, (or suggest a beta site), instead of just voting-to-close and raining downvotes on it.
    – smci
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 22:41
  • 2
    I think users are treating a new user badly and that's unnecessarily cliquish, given extremely questionable questions like "Why are there holes in ice cubes in airplanes?" did not get closed and have 46 upvotes. That also has zero practical use (@Fiksdal). This gives a very poor impression of your community.
    – smci
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 22:46
  • 1
    @smci It's your community too :) The difference between the ice cube question and this seems mostly subjective and based on personal feeling. Or maybe the ice is more related to air travel, than differences in lighters used. TBH, this site does have a bit of a scope problem sometimes.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 22:52
  • @Fiksdal I've posted an air travel question lately to give it another try. Exact same result. People commented valid answers to invalidate my question.@scmi My thoughts exactly. Thank you :)
    – OddDev
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 5:23
  • 1
    Oddev, in that battery question they didn't even explain why they thought the question was unclear. I found the question perfectly clear, and I think the closers were quite unreasonable. I have voted to reopen. I can't do the same with the lighter question, as it's deleted. But in the future, if you have such problems, please do bring it to Meta, or ping us in Travel Chat. CC: @smci
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 7:24
  • 1
    @Fiksdal Thank you very much for your effort and help! Really appreciate it.
    – OddDev
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 7:32
  • @OddDev You're welcome, I've also started a meta discussion about this.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 7:52
  • OddDev: There is also another relevant meta post you may find useful. CC: @smci
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 9:06

2 Answers 2


Yep, was my last question on travel. Worst community experience so far.

First of all, I think it's regrettable that you got this impression. I hope you won't let a single question ruin your experience. I'm probably biased since this is my main site on SE, but I think this is actually one of the more friendly and welcoming sites on the network. Maybe give it another chance? Not a big deal, of course, but just saying.

I didn't vote to close, but I did downvote. (I can't tell since it's deleted now.) My reasoning for the downvote was "not useful" as per the downvote tooltip. I couldn't think of any conceivable reason why anyone would possibly want to know why a certain type of lighter is more common in an area. Moreover, I found the design difference between the lighters mentioned to be a rather insignificant detail, again leading me to question why anyone would even find it interesting.

Yes, there are many "why is it so" questions here, and many of them are heavily upvoted. I actually upvote many of them myself, when I personally find them interesting. This is the nature of voting. It's a personal choice for each user.

I wouldn't downvote a practical, technical question, even if I found it boring, because it's still useful to the OP and perhaps others. However, with this question:

  1. It has zero practical use to anyone. I would overlook this if it piqued my curiosity and seemed very interesting, however:
  2. I don't personally find it interesting. I think the technical details of lighters are very uninteresting. Yes, this is subjective and a matter of personal feeling. But downvotes are exactly that. They can be cast at the whim of each user.

Again, I think it's unfortunate if you let the response to a single question cause you to leave TSE. I hope you feel welcome to post more questions and answers in the future.

  • "Why are there holes in ice cubes in airplanes?" did not get closed and has 46 upvotes. Please. The criticisms you made of it are equally valid for that.
    – smci
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 22:47
  • @smci Are you suggesting I go and downvote that one too? Remember, I did not vote to close the lighter question. And actually, I do personally find the ice cube question interesting. I explained the interest aspect in this answer.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 22:55
  • no, I'm suggesting the Travel.SE community a) be consistent and b) not treat new users worse than their own cliques - it's a very unpleasant new-user experience. Explain why something is off-topic, and give suggestions where it should be on-topic.
    – smci
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 23:18
  • @smci The unclear scope is well known problem that I wrote about a few months ago. Regarding friendliness to new users, I agree that some users are occasionally a tad bit snarky, but I think it's unfair to judge the whole community here as one. I know of a number of users here who are tireless in helping new users, welcoming them, editing, cleaning, clarifying, and answering their questions. I welcome you to join in such endeavors.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 23:23

I cannot see the question anymore, but I can say that I would likely have downvoted and blocked, too.

You did not ask e.g.:
"I have got this strange lighter and I have never seen anything like it before. Can you identify this lighter and tell me where it is produced ?"

Perfectly valid question for someone with travel experience. Comments would be "Yeah, seen that in Spain", "It's also in Italy", "Got someone in France" and an answer would be "It's a clipper lighter. They are produced in Spain and are available in countries and islands of Spain".

Everyone would be happy.

But your question was
"Why are those bong lighters only available in Gran Canaria ?"

So you already know what it is and where it is produced. What further information could we give you for a reason which is travel-related ?

For example the answer: "It is produced by Acme Products Inc. in Barcelona, Spain and they have a contract with Gran Canaria shops, especially Light me up stores." would be exactly answering your question, but has nothing to do with travel, is completely off-topic and would be something for products.stackexchange.com.

It gets worse because the question itself is wrong. It is not only available in Gran Canaria, but also in other countries. So another option is to correct you. So essentially the group has several options to answer and all answers are not travel-related. We have only limited options to block answers and one of them "unclear what is asked". By the way, the answer could also have been deduced from Clipper lighter if you know the name, so no research effort, too.

So it was essentially a bad question for Travel.SE. No personal offense intended.

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