https://money.stackexchange.com/questions/12173/what-should-i-keep-in-a-metaphorical-sock-under-the-mattress and others appear to be a genre of question that want to discuss financial collapse, perhaps including hyperinflation, perhaps not. Similar to "what to invest in if the world ends" or "When the dollar loses all its value, what will we use as currency?" Are these questions of any value or is there agreement to vote to delete, quickly?
These questions are non-constructive by definition. Not only that they're biased and are in effect seeding that same panic they're attributing to the "mainstream media", but usually they tend to trigger responses which are basically ultra-right pro-anarchy manifestos, and not actually factual responses.
I agree that these questions should be declared as non-constructive and closed.
I may be somewhat biased as I provided a high scoring answer to a "what to invest in if the world ends" question. However, I do agree that most of these questions have very little value.
That said, I think we should not rush to close and delete a question just because it asks about such a topic. I think it should hinge on what practical value the question has. One issue I readily see about this is that the practical value depends on the answers that the question garners.
For example, the question I am talking about brought out some important ideas:
1) Hedging against a total collapse of the system requires that we think about what would have value without the system.
2) There are practical limitations to what we can store, and protect, indefinitely.
3) It requires "out of the box" thinking, since we are basically talking about the destruction of the box.
Now, I do have some concerns about the hypothetical nature of such a question. However, we can not completely avoid hypothetical situations in personal finance. When we look into the future, it is all hypothetical until the future becomes the present.
Thus, I want to urge some caution so that we do not respond in a knee-jerk fashion to questions that can bring out important, practical ideas useful to planning our personal finances.
I believe these questions are relevant. The questioner in the referenced question does not believe there will be total economic collapse but believes there will be some severe financial unrest and he would like to know how to prepare for that. History has shown that this is a legitimate concern with many episodes of crashes, currency collapses, hyperinflation, and severe economic downturns.
As far as bias...yes, everyone is biased. By labeling someone as having a pro-anarchy bias implies that the only correct position is pro-oppression (i.e. pro-government). I'm sorry I'm not as enlightened as others on this site in being so "unbiased".
I refer to the FAQ when I close questions. Specifically:
What kind of questions should I not ask here?
- every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite __?”
- we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if __ happened?”
And very rarely
- it is a rant disguised as a question: “__ sucks, am I right?”
Most of the financial collapse questions fall into one of the above categories (every answer is equally valid is a good catch-all). I'm alright with specific questions like: There is discussion of Greece leaving the euro-zone, how should I evaluate the risk of Greek government bonds? or other similar, specific questions that aren't open ended and hypothetical.