Meta Question

josie's avatar

What are questions supposed to accomplish on Fluther?

Asked by josie (30931points) November 5th, 2010

http://www.fluther.com/102991/can-the-qs-on-fluther-get-any-more-nonsensical-what-can/#quip1682861
This question by a clearly agitated Fluther veteran got me thinking.
Are questions on Fluther supposed to be only of a sort of technical nature? Things like “How much RAM do I need to run Photoshop?” or something like that?
Are the discussion type of questions, funny or not, regarded as sort of “low rent” by the Fluther establishment?
I am still learning the culture of Fluther.
I figured it was sort of like the discussions that occur frequently around the table during and after a dinner party or a cookout.
But, maybe I got it wrong.
But it seems to me that if I really needed to know something, there are sources that would be more reliable than Fluther. So isn’t part of the fun just simply making it fun?
Or not?

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37 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

To socialize, to get answers, and to satiate curiosity.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It is all part of a master plan to further insulate us from one another.So far,so good! insert maniacal laugh here ;)

marinelife's avatar

First and foremost, it is a site for getting expert information to answer the questions of the other users.

Secondarily, it has become a community, and it is for fun and discussion and interaction.

iamthemob's avatar

As @TheOnlyNeffie points out – anything and everything. The only thing it’s really not here to promote is to promote txtspeak and purely shallow discussion (most threads have some depth, somewhere – even the fun ones).

erichw1504's avatar

There’s something for everyone here on Fluther. You’ve got the serious, “looking for a real answer” type questions. Then you’ve got the fun, anything goes type questions. There are questions that are linked to other sites and are specific. And finally there is question that relate to this site, Fluther.

So, I don’t think anyone needs to worry about what’s going on with Fluther or why are questions like this, or that. Just come here, leave your inputs, have fun, and get answers! More importantly, socialize!

We’re a diverse group of people and the moderators keep everything in line. There’s nothing we should be worrying about.

Cruiser's avatar

@josie This Fluther veteran you refer to is also the same Jelly who asks questions like this…
“If I bought a cactus, what should I name it?”

“Asked by PnL (11923 points ) 10 hours ago”

“Similarly, if I bought a bag of chips, what should I name the bag so I know how to refer to it while eating it?”

So whether you are looking a new name for your pet rock or how to use a left handed hammer…any question is a good one as long as you can handle the answers you are going to get in return! ;)

J0E's avatar

Questions are asked to get answers, or spark a discussion.

SundayKittens's avatar

@Cruiser I love questions like that! But that’s more of the social, community side I guess. The divisions help. I love both aspects.

diavolobella's avatar

I think the social aspect of the site is critical to its success. If I wanted cold, cut and dried information, I’d just Google things. I stumbled across this site by Googling a question. If it wasn’t for the intelligent, funny and engaging people I encountered here, I would never have joined. The society is what made me stop, look around and decide I wanted to be a part of Fluther. Well, that and Dr. J being cute.

ucme's avatar

After long & thoughtful consideration, thrashed out over the course of, ooh…..seconds, i’m going to say that they give me a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy….hee hee, yes way! XD

iamthemob's avatar

that’s indigestion.

diavolobella's avatar

You know, something else occurred to me after my last remark. I think if someone comes to Fluther because they are looking for the answer to a specific question, the odds are they will get their answer and go. A one hit wonder, as it were. I think if you just want an answer to a question and you get it, there is no reason to become a member. The people who go to the trouble of joining are attracted here by something else. And the fact is, how often do most people really have a serious question to ask? I certainly don’t have them on a daily basis or even a weekly one. If I didn’t join Fluther for the community, I wouldn’t have joined at all. So, I think some of us come up with questions to ask just for the community interaction, not because we are genuinely seeking an answer to a question that day. Naturally, that being the case, the questions get less serious and sometimes sillier and more of a reach. Questions are the means by which we interact with one another, so unless you want to be cut out of the loop of friendly interaction, you have to come up with something to ask.

ucme's avatar

nah, that’s bile.

erichw1504's avatar

@ucme I like warm fuzzies!

DominicX's avatar

I come here for the discussion questions. Those are the ones I ask most often and the ones I find most interesting. Many of my discussion questions ask for a solution to a problem (especially the ones I ask about linguistics) but for the most part I’m looking for new ideas and discussions. Every now and then I’ll ask a technical question or one asking for a specific solution to a specific problem. But those types of questions are not what I continue to return to this site for. The general section is for those types for the most part and the social section is for the more “discussion”-type questions. This site allows for both. Neither one is the “wrong” type of question to ask.

Also, what @diavolobella said.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for asking this question.

What are questions supposed to accomplish on Fluther? The best way to answer this is by looking at the vision statement that Andrew and Ben came up with when they decided to create the site.

Our Vision for Fluther
When Andrew and I started Fluther over three years ago, we had a clear vision: we wanted to help people solve problems, in real-time, by matching questions to the right people. Our goal: be the best place to ask a question.

Looking at Fluther today, it’s remarkably close to what we envisioned. There are tons of smart people answering and helping tons of other smart people. It has also evolved in many ways we didn’t foresee, and we’ve tried to adapt it organically according to the community’s needs.

Ben and Andrew are the ones who own the site, and thus decide on the direction it takes. Considering that they are the ones that gave the green light to separate questions into the categories of General, Social, and Meta leads me to believe that they are content with members asking questions that are more than just technical ones.

Are the discussion type of questions, funny or not, regarded as sort of “low rent” by the Fluther establishment? Gracious no. Not to single them out, but @iamthemob asks some of my favorite discussions in the Social section that are more fact/belief related, while @wundayatta asks more interpersonal-probbing questions. They both add value in their own ways.

But it seems to me that if I really needed to know something, there are sources that would be more reliable than Fluther. Sometimes yes, but not always. One example is some the medical questions posted in the General section. Many of them are just looking for personal experiences from others that have suffered from the same malady. Often, they already have a doctor’s appt. scheduled and have done research on the internet. They just want to arm themselves with others’ personal experiences so that they can ask questions during their visit vs. walking in blindly and accepting a doctor’s diagnosis.

So isn’t part of the fun just simply making it fun? Or not? Since there aren’t any rules in the questions guideline about whether ‘fun’ is not acceptable, my feeling is that anything goes. As members, we can choose whether to participate or not.

Even some of the so-called questions that really are not, such as the recognition for achieving a Fluther level, have their own form of value. If a member is a regular visitor, they are bound to make personal online connections with others.

The fun ones, including some polls, provide information, such as a book/movie/website recommendation/recipe that turns out to be insightful. They can stress-relievers. There is value in that.

@Cruiser and @SundayKittens From my understanding on the thread referenced in this question, those two questions about naming items and whatever the other one was were set up in jest to prove a point by the OP. As ridiculous as the questions may appear to some, those that responded took it to heart.

SundayKittens's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Which is why I love questions like that! That bag of chips deserves to be heard!

ucme's avatar

@erichw1504 You got that right :¬)

CMaz's avatar

“What are questions supposed to accomplish on Fluther?”

An answer.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Cruiser Oh, don’t worry…those weren’t real questions – there were, you see, tongue-in-cheeck to show the user’s indignation with how ‘retarded’ other questions on the site were…apparently, a bunch of mods like ‘totally got the joke’ and played around with those threads but no one else got it…further, apparently, proving how dumb we are…there, don’t you feel better? ya, that’s what I thought and you can read all about it in the thread linked by @josie if you feel like getting disgusted

Cruiser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Then it appears unanimous that a lot of tongues were planted firmly in cheek, I know I got it and that is half the fun! Maybe we need a sarcasm “style” for text when employing sarcasm here so everybody is on the same page ;)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Cruiser I don’t think getting everyone on the same page was the goal there, just a user’s idea of ‘fun’...but I’m glad you got on board and enjoyed yourself – at least someone did.

Cruiser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I thought it was pretty hilarious!!

wundayatta's avatar

What I’m here for is to get a sense of other people’s experience with a topic. I’m not interested in people trying to give me answers. For most of the things I am interested in, answers are pretty much disrespectful. No one, in my opinion, should be telling someone else what to do. The only interesting thing is your experience, not your distillation of your experience into some kind of prescription for others.

Personally, I find those kinds of things to be much more useful in solving problems than answers are. I like different approaches. I like possibilities to be opened up. I don’t like things to shut down.

If this turns into a place with just questions that can be answered, it will be dreadfully dull.

diavolobella's avatar

@wundayatta said “The only interesting thing is your experience, not your distillation of your experience into some kind of prescription for others.”

I just wanted to say that was a particularly nicely turned phrase. I also agree.

Blueroses's avatar

It can be very intimidating for a newcomer to contribute to a forum populated by veterans. Many people browse the “insider” sections for guidelines on what is considered acceptable before feeling comfortable enough to join.

I feel sorry for any new user who would come across the aforementioned thread, get the impression that the collective is condescending and elitist and be discouraged from asking a question.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Sometimes I come here to ask a genuine question that I need real answers to, other times I come here to have fun with random questions and just decompress from my day. I like a balance of both, and it bothers me that some people think the random insanity is “retarded” or “nonsensical”. Some people need a little retarded nonsense to make them smile!

YARNLADY's avatar

I like questions that I can’t find on every “Blog Fun Stuff” site on the internet, like the 5 word fun game and the alphabet game. To me, a game site is for games, a joke site is for jokes, and a question and answer site is for actual questions, not games or jokes.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Oh right, because heaven forbid anyone insert random humor and good natured games with other users to have a good time on a hoity toity question and answer site…

If I wanted to be bored off my ass with strict rules about questions and answers, I wouldn’t be here.

Which is why I joined last year but left quickly until I popped in a few months back just for shits and giggles and saw that a Social section had been added with more laid back guidelines.

Pandora's avatar

I can’t agree with you more. I think it does have the feel of conversations around the dinner table or when you have friends over and topics come up as you are cooking dinner.
Where did you get that?
How can I get that?
Do you think I was just in what I did?
How would you get out of this situation?
How can I make my computer more efficent?
So if you were re-incarnated into a dog would you want your kids to take care of you?
If not why?
Do you think society is sinking lower every day?
Its mostly opinions and some facts and curiosity into human behavior or simply wanting to help your fellow man that I think makes up fluther.
Which the helping part is what draws me to it. It lets me know there are other people who like to interact and help other people in some small way.
Hey, even the funny questions are nice because they can brighten ones day.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Pandora Thank you so much for that perspective, a family gathering is full of diversity. I love that answer.

Pandora's avatar

@YARNLADY Thank you. :D

SundayKittens's avatar

That is perfect, @pandora!

augustlan's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I know I speak for a number of mods when I say we weren’t in on the the joke. Just in case you haven’t seen my answer in that other thread, I’m going to copy/paste a portion of it here:

I just want to make it clear that I had no idea this was coming. When I was using an alter-ego to answer @PnL‘s ‘dream’ question, I was under the impression that she had asked the question to mess with (not in a malicious way) the mod team a bit. I was simply playing around with my friend, the former community manager … not attempting to deceive our members at all. I was completely unaware of the intentions behind that question…

iamthemob's avatar

I tell you one thing these two threads have accomplished on fluther – I am now very, very confused. :-)

Ron_C's avatar

I find that the questions serve several functions. They can provide a straight forward answer to questions that are difficult to “google”. Many people provide sources for in depth information about the question, they act as a social network to see how others feel about a subject. Sometimes the questions and their answers are just fun and a source for original humor and in the time after my father’s death, they provided a great deal of comfort when I was alone before my family arrived to support me.

In my opinion, this site and others like it perform a great public service.

Ron_C's avatar

After re-reading some of the answers here, I suspect that this site is a great place to vent and keeps some people from standing on top of the post office shooting pedestrians.

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