I think some people are forgetting that a lot of people wind up on this web site because they're not credit card experts and are looking for advice. That's equally true for MF, FT etc. And while underwriting criteria are hard to predict (and guarded like trade secrets by the issuers,) there are general trends, there are the collective experiences of people on this board and others, and there are known policies that have a predictable impact (such as Chase's infamous 5/24, or the AmEx once-per-lifetime signup bonus restriction.)
Given what some of us have learned from doing our own research or just perusing boards out of idle curiosity, we can often make a pretty good educated guess at whether someone will qualify for a card or not, especially if they include some basic information about their financial situation and credit file. We may not be right 100% of the time, but we'll be right often enough for the advice to be valuable to someone who's on the fence about a credit decision, IMHO.
The same situation applies to "should I get card X or card Y?" Often, those threads include a few replies along the lines of "only you can make that decision." But equally as often, they include valuable advice that help sway someone in one direction or the other. I posted one of these myself not too long ago (do I switch from Discover Open Road to Discover IT?) and one particularly good piece of advice in that thread pretty much sealed that decision for me. New card on its way.
Takeshi is right when he says these questions are often ignorant, rather than stupid. But the word "ignorant" generally carries a negative implication that someone is WILLFULLY ignorant. The fact that someone comes on here asking an 'ignorant' question probably means they're genuinely seeking to educate themselves. That should be encouraged, not shot down with derision over a 'stupid question'.
Of course, these aren't my boards and I'm not an admin, so this is only my own opinion. But I kind of feel like the old adage applies here: "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all." If someone asks a question you think is ignorant, stupid or both, just abstain from responding to it. Not only will that save you some typing, but it will avoid creating an atmosphere where people are afraid to post lest they be ridiculed in public. And isn't that friendlier atmosphere one of the things that sets us apart from the likes of MF?
Just my 2/100s of a
I very much agree with your entire post, but in particular the bolded bit. Well said!
Also, personally I love learning new things and researching new topics, either because there's some sort of situation in my life prompting me to, or simply because I'm curious. When I am looking for information I'm usually not that likely to post a general question on a forum because I find that general information can typically be found with more conventional research. So by not asking people on a forum I'm not annoying them with my greenhorn question (which, though I don't personally mind these types of questions, they obviously annoy some people as evidenced by this thread), and honestly also because I feel better evaluating the credibility of an article than trying to guess in Rando123 on a new forum I just joined is really a knowledgeable person on the topic. However
, the times when I'm mostly likely to post on a forum with my question are actually exactly when my question is personal and specific to me (I.E. the 'what are my odds of approval' type questions). Why? Because my research has probably already turned up the basic pieces of information. For example short credit history = bad; high income = good; lots of new inquiries = bad; flawless payment history = good, etc., but being a newbie on the topic I don't have the knowledge and skills to apply
these disparate pieces of information in a meaningful way to my situation. EX: Will my short credit history tank my chances of approval even though I have a perfect payment history?
So in this hypothetical scenario I would go into it understanding that strangers on the internet can't give me a definitive answer and that I have more information about my personal situation than they do, BUT I'm also hoping they can prompt me for additional relevant information by asking questions - information that I probably didn't even realize was relevant - and then apply that info through their lenses of expertise and experience in a much better way than I could.
As far as more experienced people who ought to be able to decide for themselves asking these types of questions more looking for justification than anything else...well I can certainly see why some people would get annoyed by that, but personally I don't really care. If I don't want to bother with it or I'm specifically annoyed by that person or that question I'll just ignore it. Otherwise I might just throw out my casual opinion, "No, I don't think you should do that." "Yeah, sure why not?" Whereas with a newbie I'd probably try to provide a more detailed response explaining my reasoning.
Personally, I don't really care if people ask my opinion and then disregard it. I ask people's opinions but don't end up taking their advice all time. I legitimately wanted the input and appreciate it, but I'm still going to make my own decision. And maybe you provided me with a perspective/info I'd never considered and it'll affect my choice...or maybe you said something I'd already thought about and dismissed or factored in.
Eh, all just my opinion though, and take it or dismiss it as you see fit