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I saw this question today, on whether hydrostatic loads are "dead" or live". Very heavily related is this previous question on whether a moving load (that is always somewhere) is "dead" or "live".

I expected to be able to close the newer question as a duplicate, because the majority of an answer needs to discuss why we talk about dead loads as opposed to live loads. But, because the actual specific of the question is different, it's not a duplicate.

I see three possible ways forward:

  1. Leave both questions as they are, separate but related

  2. Create a new question on "what is a dead load vs a live load", and make both existing questions duplicates of that

  3. Create a new question on "what is a dead load vs a live load", make both existing questions related to that; allowing the answers in the existing questions to skip the generic dead vs live arugment, and only cover the specifics

Thoughts please.

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Not Yet

I do think that we will need to use some of these questions as duplicate targets in the future. At the moment, they are different enough that they can stand.

I am personally waiting for the slightly more complicated questions of what (and why) some loads go into categories other than Dead/Live.

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Option 1

While the questions are related, I think that one answer that tried to address all live load/dead load questions would be unwieldy and hard to read. The broad concept is that when in doubt, a well defined load can be treated as dead, where a load that is hard to estimate should be treated as live, but the authority having jurisdiction will ultimately have to agree. However, for lots of specific loads and specific cases in various industries, there are standard practices for a particular kind of load, or a conservative way to consider a load live in some checks and dead in others, etc. I don't see anything wrong with allowing two questions about similar topics to coexist.

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  • $\begingroup$ Correct, I clarified it now. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan48
    Oct 3 '15 at 2:03

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