Meta Question

SuperMouse's avatar

What are your thoughts when an OP asks for only certain types of jellies to answer their question?

Asked by SuperMouse (30772points) January 28th, 2012

I admit it, whenever I see a question directed toward a demographic that doesn’t include me, I want to jump in and ask why, explain why I can answer the question as well – or better – than anyone else, then proceed to answer the question. So what is your reaction when a poster asks that a question only be answered by men, women, Christians, atheists, parents, etc? If you have asked a question and requested responses from only certain jellies, what was the thought process behind doing so?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

70 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think that the questioner has the right to restrict who answers a question.

Coloma's avatar

Well…obviously they want to target a specialized group, either to narrow down what they consider succint answers from a select demographic or… just because.
I could care less, my ego doesn’t need to be included in everything, it is what it is.
I did feel that eliminating white people from answering a Q about racism recently was rather oxymoronic, but….I gave up trying to figure out peoples reasoning a long time ago.

Very few people inhabit the same realities. lol

bkcunningham's avatar

When I see the question streamlined to a specific group, I think the asker is trying to get insight into and an understanding of that groups’ views. If it is a question that interests me but doesn’t include me, I’ll still follow. Sometimes questions that are worded so as to include me don’t interest me and I don’t follow the question. Sometimes it depends on who is asking the question too. I feel like some Jellies may be trying to corner specific people with the intent of belittling or arguing and not for enlightenment on their views.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I answer whatever I want to answer if I feel like I can, whether anybody likes it or not.

Personally, if I ask a question like “Women: What do you think when….?”, it’s more of a guideline than a rule. The message is really “I would like you to answer this from a woman’s perspective… or what you believe is a woman’s perspective based on what you know.” The same goes for if I ask a question like “Men: What do you think when….?”, but about men instead.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I think that the OP, for whatever reason, wants a specific perspective. For example, in the recent “people of color” and racism question, I assumed that the OP didn’t want to have to list every type of person of color, was probably Caucasion herself, and therefore already knew the kind of acts of racism that happens to Caucasions.
Sometimes I want to ask specific questions like that, to get a perspective from other people, but I know that too many people will be offended that they weren’t included so I don’t even bother to try any more.
I get the desire to jump in and try to answer everything, but why shouldn’t the asker be allowed to ask what they specifically want information about? And, frankly, people who object to the specificity of the question just tend to look silly (IMO) and the ones who post who are not even remotely part of the requested demographic look even sillier. I’ve seen when I’ve done that myself, and I wince.

Judi's avatar

I think that some people just don’t want their post to turn into a hate fest so they qualify it. I also think that they are really looking for a specific answer from a specific point of view.
If I want to ask a question to better understand the Trinity, the opinion of someone who does not worship the triune God really won’t help me understand this uniquely Christian tenant of faith.
I also think there is a bit of a trust issue there, which as I age I have learned is a smoke screen. I used to trust people more just because they were Christians. I have learned the hard way that I should trust Jesus, not necessarily those who profess to follow him.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I don’t have a problem with it. They are trying to get an answer from a specific demographic they want to market to.
I don’t feel it is any different from a woman who asks: “Women, how do you ___ your ____ when it is ___? ”
I’m not offended that she does not want my opinion. I’m a big boy, wearing big boy underpants.

syz's avatar

It’s a public venue, meaning anyone can answer it. If they only want answers from a certain demographic, then those are the answers to pay attention to.

rebbel's avatar

To me it is the wording of the specific request.
– “Only men who carry left, answer.”, doesn’t abide with/(to?) me.
– “Since I am a left carrier myself, I would like to ask especially the left carrying men to answer my question,please. Thanks in advance!”, does though.

Coloma's avatar

Well..I think I’ll post a Q for people who are exactly 52 years old, own geese and live in the hills.

” 52 year old waterfowl fanciers that live on approximately 5.2 acres in oak green houses with white trim and hot tubs…tell me, do you let your ducks and geese go in the hot with you?” Please, only those that meet the exact criteria need reply. lol

LuckyGuy's avatar

@rebbel Since I am a left carrier myself, I would like to ask fellow left carriers if the right side of their bits occasionally gets chafed when wearing tight jeans with cotton underwear. Thanks in advance.

HungryGuy's avatar

Yeah! When someone says he only wants the nice people to answer his questions, I can’t resist jumping in with a smart-ass answer :-0

JilltheTooth's avatar

@HungryGuy : Guilty, here, as well…I can’t resist him!

dappled_leaves's avatar


It’s like they already know what they’ve decided, and are just seeking confirmation or a pat on the back. This is probably not really true, but it is always my first gut reaction.

Kardamom's avatar

Usually it’s because they already know the answer they want and they think that by using a specific demographic they are much more likely to get that specific answer.

Also, they don’t realize that sometimes the best answer (or correct answer) can come from someone else, from a different demographic, or they just don’t want those other people to give the correct answer.

JilltheTooth's avatar

So, @dappled_leaves and @Kardamom , you figure if a woman is asking other women if a certain symptom is normal for pregnancy she’s seeking a pat on the back? Or if someone is researching a business opportunity in another culture and would like to know how to react appropriately in a culture specific event they are just looking for validation of their own opinion? I think those assumptions of yours are very limited and short-sighted.

chyna's avatar

@LuckyGuy and @rebbel I’m a little confused about your left carrying terminology. Could you please explain in detail with graphics?

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves and @Kardamom: I have asked questions that began with “Parents and Caretakers:” that was in no way seeking a pat on the back or looking for validation of any opinion. Those questions were looking for answers from parents and caretakers. I worded those questions to “parents and caretakers” because I was not looking for negativity from people that did not have first-hand experience in the topic (in those cases, topic was child behavior or tips on care of children).

LuckyGuy's avatar

@chyna Being left handed this is how I carry.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@rebbel I’ll carry yours if you carry mine. Deal?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@LuckyGuy and @rebbel : Methinks I’d better look at those links of yours to really appreciate @LuckyGuy‘s last post…

Berserker's avatar

Lately it’s been kind of an inside joke I think…but yeah, I see that all the time. I don’t think much of it, although maybe the asker could suggest that they’re looking especially for answers from certain groups of people without restricting everyone else. It is understandable in some cases. Having a question about parenting for example; who best to ask but other parents? Still, that doesn’t mean non parents can’t have good answers. I don’t listen to those requests usually, if I do think I can answer but don’t belong to the asked specifications.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JilltheTooth and @jca The question was about what our thoughts are… I’m saying that is generally my initial reaction. Sorry, but it is. Then I read the question, and might change my opinion. That is most likely to happen when it is a technical or health question in which the OP is asking for advice from people with the same experience.

Jeez, I even said in my first quip that my initial reaction is probably incorrect. People get all huffy for the oddest reasons.

zensky's avatar

So far I have been unable to answer a lot of them based on their citeria… so I vote no restrictions.

HungryGuy's avatar

I’ll often answer anyway, but I knew this question was going to become a train wreck even before the first answer rolled in, so I stayed out if it until after the train wreck occurred.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I can imagine legitimate reasons to ask for answers from a certain demographic, but I think overall the practice should be kept to a minimum.

Judi's avatar

When I asked, “Ladies, if your vagina could talk, what would it say?” I didn’t expect so many men to have answers.

Coloma's avatar

@Judi lol…how did I miss THAT?
Well, men are able to get their ears much closer to our vaginas than we can, sooo, I’d assume they could hear it whisper sweet nothings into their ear. The vagina whisperer. haha

Judi's avatar

@Coloma , I try to ask it every year when the Vagina Monologues come out. I can’t find the one I recently asked, but here’s the one from 2009

harple's avatar

Sometimes I can see the logic, eg – @Judi‘s vagina question, or pregnant women needing experienced advice on whether a certain feeling is normal. More frequently, I am disappointed by it. Particularly for a recent question in General where the qualification seemed to serve no purpose for what was wanted. We do have a General section for a reason, and it does allow for questions to be asked that avoid debating the premise.

AshLeigh's avatar

It annoys me. If I have an answer, I have an answer. I don’t have to be 109, and have 19 children to know if mint tea is delicious. XD

JilltheTooth's avatar

Just curious, @AshLeigh , does it still annoy you if the Q is specific to the requested demographic and you really have no knowledge of the subject? If you’re 109 you’re much more likely to have pertinent information about how the extreme elderly are treated in medical situations than your average 20 year old who likes mint tea. Granted, the 20 year old might have some specialized knowledge in that area, but most 20 year olds don’t. Does your annoyance stem from the fact that you feel excluded?

YARNLADY's avatar

All questions are for every jelly. There is no way the OP can limit it. If I happen to be interested in a question, I will answer it, regardless. If they don’t want my answer, they can skip it.

AshLeigh's avatar

@JilltheTooth, I just believe if I do have knowledge on the subject, and I’m not 109 I should be allowed to answer it. How many very insightful, well crafted answers could you be missing if you limit who is allowed to answer it?

wundayatta's avatar

I think they’re asking for grief. But it’s ok. I ask for grief on occasion, too.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I don’t see it as anybody not being allowed to answer it. I never said such a thing. I know that this is a public forum, anybody can answer anything they feel like. I think it’s absurd to ask that people not specify persons of a particular experience if they want information from persons of a particular experience. Nobody is “limiting” who is “allowed” to answer, but many posts here indicate that askers themselves should be limited in what they ask. Not sure why anyone would want to post when they have no knowledge or experience in an area.

augustlan's avatar

An official point of view: We don’t enforce those requests, obviously. Anyone is free to answer any question, as long as they follow the site’s guidelines.

My personal point of view: Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. In general, I have no problem with someone saying they’re particularly interested in responses from the specific demographic, but it bothers me when they say they only want answers from that demographic.

chyna's avatar

What I think is annoying is when a question is asked such as “what do you think of this as a vacation spot” or other very specific question and someone will answer “I’ve never been”. Why? Do you need attention that badly that you have to pop up in questions you can’t answer?

augustlan's avatar

^^ Agreed. And if it’s in the General section, that’s really unacceptable.

YARNLADY's avatar

@chyna Often that sort of answer seems non-responsive, but it can also be an indicator of the general amount of interest in the subject. In your example, it would indicate to me that the opinion is I didn’t care enough to even bother going there.

Bellatrix's avatar

Like @Hawaii_Jake, I can see situations where it is useful to the poster to say they would like responses from a particular demographic, but I think it should be kept to a minimum. I also don’t think anyone should be restricted or discouraged from answering. That includes the original poster criticising those who choose to post but are outside their preferred demographic.

geeky_mama's avatar

FWIW.. the very question that brought me to Fluther initially and really kept me hooked was about getting my uterus removed. (aka Hysterectomy)

I wasn’t against hearing from men (who might, for example, be able to relay their wife’s experience)..but I was really hoping for (and received!) advice from wonderful women who had first hand experience. It was just what I was looking for—someone who knew what I was about to experience to help clue me in on how long to expect my recovery to take..and I remember getting very kind and nurturing advice. Made me adore several Jellies around here..

So, at least for me when I see people asking for a specific kind of person to answer I’m never offended in the least.

In fact, I’ve seen headings like these:
“Hey, technically inclined / computer geek Jellies… Please tell me why my computer is doing THIS” ...and I think that makes good sense.

Kardamom's avatar

Not sure where anyone inferred a “pat on the back” answer from me.

I will re-iterate that some questioners already know exacltly what they want to hear and they get angry, irritated, disgusted or just plain mad if anyone else answers their questions in a way in which they didn’t want to hear or expect, so limiting the “core audience” of the answerers will help the OP to get a good answer that they wanted in the first place. It also helps to suggest that the OP only wanted a “pat on the back” to reject any realistic or legitimate answers from anybody else except the “core (read: useful) audience”.”

Believe it or not, I also think that some people are so angry and pissed off by previous answers of certain OP’s or posters that they word their Q’s so as to dismiss those people, outright, just because they are pissed off at them, rather than wanting to take everyone’s opinions and knowlegege as acceptable.

Sometimes atheists know more about faith than you might imagine. Sometimes young people know about all kinds of things than you would imagine. Sometimes homosexuals know more about relationships and sexuality than you would imagine. Sometimes men know more than you would imagine, sometimes women know more than you would imagine. Sometimes senior citizens know more than you would imagine.

Limiting who you “want” to answer questions, also limits the amount of information (good, bad or nuetral) that you get.

Some people only want info or news or “facts” that support their current beliefs.

Fluther is a forum for everyone, even if they don’t fit the demographics that any particular OP is looking for. That’s why it’s a Q& A site. That’s why it’s not a (you better fit my demographics!!! or else!) site.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

^ “Sometimes atheists know more about faith than you might imagine. Sometimes young people know about all kinds of things than you would imagine. Sometimes homosexuals know more about relationships and sexuality than you would imagine. Sometimes men know more than you would imagine, sometimes women know more than you would imagine. Sometimes senior citizens know more than you would imagine.”

Exactly! I think your answer is really well said, but this part stood out to me the most… ‘cause, yes, an Atheist may know a whole lot about religion… and that may be why the Atheist is an Atheist in the first place. Yes, a young person may know a lot… simply from observing others. Yes, homosexuals may know more about relationships and sexuality than can be imagined, because it’s totally possible they have been paying attention… and maybe even more so than others. Yes, it’s possible that a woman may know more about men than people might realize. Yes, it’s possible that a man may know more about women than people might realize. Yes, senior citizens may know more than they are given credit for. Appearances can be deceiving.

OpryLeigh's avatar

If I feel the need to answer but I am not part of the group then I will start my answer with “although I am not (insert required type of person) I still feel like I can answer this question…..” or something like that. With the POC question I had no problem with the way the question was asked but I found the OP’s response to and dismissal of someone’s experience because they were white to be a bit disrespectful. The accusation that the person who answered was self centred (or something like that) just for answering was unfair I felt. Having said all of that, I think the OP was within his/her rights to request answers from a certain demographic but don’t stick the question in the social section if you only want 100% relevant answers.

digitalimpression's avatar

Depends on what is in the parenthesis after the question. Such questions usually involve a new-ish user or an old-ish user mocking a new-ish user.

(Christians only please): This person genuinely just wants an answer to their question without someone slamming their beliefs or questioning their premise.

(only brain-dead Yahoo! subscribers answer please): This person is in it for the lurve.. and will probably get it.

(Fluther users only please): This person is ltao, knowing full well that everyone who answers qualifies

(Agnostics only please): This person wants ambiguous answers.

(Atheists only please): This person wants answers from people who don’t have open minds.

Disclaimer: I’m only kidding. If your feelings are hurt, go eat a cupcake or something.

harple's avatar

Dare I ask what ltao stands for?!.......... I have cupcakes on hand just in case… :-p

digitalimpression's avatar

L aughing
T heir
A ss
O ff

harple's avatar

@digitalimpression I totally should have got that! D’oh!

Mariah's avatar

Sorry in advance for not reading the thread before posting…

I see two distinct forms of this.

Some questions just make sense to only ask a certain group. “Women, did you experience ____ when you were pregnant?” There’s nothing wrong with that. Thing is, in this kind of question, the asker probably wouldn’t mind if someone answered “I’m a guy, but that definitely happened to my wife.”

The other situation is when someone asks a question that could easily apply to anybody but only wants to hear from certain people. And sometimes this is okay. Honestly, given the demographics here, I can’t blame a Christian who wants to know what such-and-such Bible verse means for trying to dissuade answers like “nothing, it’s just a story” by asking that only Christians respond. At the same time, I don’t know if closing your ears to opinions that don’t jive with yours is a very good way to go about life in general. These questions do rub me the wrong way, a bit.

HungryGuy's avatar

Good answer ^

PhiNotPi's avatar

I’m okay with them, except for the ones that say “I only want the nice people to answer this question.” Then I become mean.

DaphneT's avatar

I’m usually thinking, if this is in Social why did they restrict it? It should be in General and a moderator should move it.

If it’s in General then they are looking for answers that correlate to a specific question, which is perfectly fair according to the rules. There is no restriction on telling people in the details that specifically are looking for a particular group’s response, as this gives the moderator guidance on what to moderate so that the OP gets something along the lines they are looking for.

cazzie's avatar

The very first question I asked on Fluther was going to gross out people who were ‘anti-hunting’. I mentioned in the question that squeemish or animal rights people should perhaps avoid the question. Instead, I was treated to a number of ignorant and rather personal attacks. I didn’t come back for a long while after that, but reading the decent responses led me to believe that there were some helpful people here who used their brains rather than their knees to respond.

And if anyone is wondering, I have a freezer full of seal fat that I will be turning into soap this spring when I can render the fat outdoors.

JilltheTooth's avatar

It’s a shame that such a huge deal is being made of this, I wonder how many Qs that might be interesting now won’t be asked? Because of a book I am currently reading, I want to ask a very demographic-specific Q but I’m sure that a bunch of folks who have no knowledge of this topic will angrily call me racist and elitist if I do.
@DaphneT : Sometimes Social is a better place for such Qs as it promotes more discussion and debate of the details, and reaches a larger audience. Many Jellies have stated that they don’t bother to even look at the General section.

Aethelwine's avatar

I don’t understand why someone would have an objection to a question that asks for answers from a specific demographic. If you don’t fit that demographic but have a helpful response, I don’t see anything wrong with that either. But we all know there are times when users throw a fit and come stomping into the question because they aren’t included. Are people really that bored and narcissistic that they feel they need to answer every question that is asked here?

I now ask all my parenting questions on a site that consists of just moms. I know if I ask a question about stay-at-home parenting I won’t get answers by some people telling me that stay-at-home parents are lazy and don’t want to work. I now get thoughtful, helpful and supportive answers. If I have other questions relating to parenting I know I won’t have answers from childless people telling me that people who have children are selfish and they pollute the planet with little snot nosed mini-mes. Maybe more questions would be asked here if some people could just show a little respect to the OP. I wonder how many others have gone elsewhere for the same reason I have.

Judi's avatar

@jonsblond , Best answer yet.

jca's avatar

@jonsblond: It’s for that reason (or “those reasons”) that when I ask a question on Fluther where I am looking for parenting advice, I word the question “Parents and Caretakers:” I find there are some on Fluther who would write, for example if answering a question about children in restaurants, that children should never be in restaurants until they are 18, parents should never take their “sprogs” out in public at all (“sprog” was actually a term used once on this site). So in order to not hear the total negativity that sometimes comes our way, but to get some supportive and helpful advice, I have started those questions specifying I would like to hear from parents and caretakers (i.e. babysitters, foster parents, etc.).

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca Sprog is not necessarily an offensive term. It’s used as sort of a term of endearment in the UK.

JilltheTooth's avatar

And, @jca , you can always count on someone posting “Not a parent but..” followed by a totally rude comment on how a flight was ruined one time by a baby or something.

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves: I don’t doubt it’s a term of endearment, but the way this person used it, it was hardly endearing! I don’t think that particular person is on Fluther any more, but the general tone is one I hear often in reference to children, on Fluther.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@dappled_leaves I was going to say the same thing. My Aunt has always called me “sprog” and she still does, even though I am 25 years old!

Paradox25's avatar

This doesn’t bother me at all and I try to do everything that I can to respect the OP’s wishes. There are quite a few situations where only asking certain types of users to respond to a question is justifiable in my opinion. As a nonreligious theist if a religionist only wants to hear the Christian perspective and makes that clear then I can respect that. If a person had a vivid suspected spiritual experience after a loved one passed away and only wants people open to spiritual concepts to respond then I can’t understand why any decent person would have a problem with that as well. If an atheist only wants sceptics to respond to their threads then so be it. Not every person that creates a thread does so with the intention of debating but rather discussing a topic with like minded individuals.

jca's avatar

@dappled leaves and @Leanne1986: The question that was asked that used the word “sprog” was “What can teach parents that no one wants to hear their screaming sprogs?” I can assure you that, although sprog might be a term of endearment, it was not in the question that the OP asked in that case!

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca I take no issue with the sentence being offensive… From your comment ”(“sprog” was actually a term used once on this site)” it sounded like the offense was due to the term “sprog”.

If the person had said “What can teach parents that no one wants to hear their screaming darlings?” then presumably it would still cause offense, even though “darlings” is not an offensive term. I don’t think we have an equivalent word for “sprog” in North America, so it’s hard to make a perfect analogy.

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves: understood. However, like I said in my last comment, if you search for and find the question: “WHat can teach parents that no one wants to hear their screaming sprogs?” and you read the question and comments from that OP, you will see he was not being nicey-nicey about children.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yes… that’s exactly what I just said.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@jca The OP of the Q you are reffering to is obviously bitter towards parents and children for some reason and as @dappled_leaves said, it doesn’t really matter what term he used for children, the offense is more due to the tone in which it was asked. I think “sprog” is one of those terms that is meant to be an endearment but can be turned into a derogatory term if it is said in a condescending tone. “Darling” can be very similar. The amount of times I have heard couples call each other “darling” with a tone laced in resentment, it almost sounds sinister at times.

I heard someone call a child “spawn” the other day. I don’t think that could ever be passed of as a term of endearment!!!

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther