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6rant6's avatar

When rhetorical questions are posted on Fluther, why should one bother to answer them?

Asked by 6rant6 (13672points) June 25th, 2012

Just read a post from a Jelly. Basically it was a rant with a question mark at the end.

What’s up with that?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

39 Answers

janbb's avatar

Zero response.

Sunny2's avatar

Within the rhetoric may be something about which you want to make a comment? If you don’t take everything at face value, there are often questions within questions. But you’re free to ignore anything you want to.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t see what the problem is, it’s the internet: people will rant. One can choose to go about various ways of answering their questions or debating them, or you can ignore them.

Some people aren’t the best at wording their arguments or tactfully presenting their rants, so you get what you just saw. But you can usually understand what they were trying to say from their rant.

MilkyWay's avatar

Excuse me? ~

syz's avatar

Umm, that’s the classic post require a flag marked “Not really a question”.

jca's avatar

One may choose to offer their opinion on said rant, or one may choose to ignore such a hypothetical question, as one likes. I may or may not offer my opinion, depending on the topic, my mood and how much time I have/how bored I am.

Aethelwine's avatar

The ranting question that really isn’t a question. Those are always fun because the person asking will only approve of the answers that agree with their rant.~

I may or may not offer my opinion, depending on the topic, my mood and how much time I have/how bored I am. Same here!

augustlan's avatar

If it’s a rant better suited for a blog or a Facebook post, and really isn’t an actual question, flag it for us.

marinelife's avatar

One never “has to bother” to answer a question on Fluther. It is also possible to flag a question that is not really a question.

zensky's avatar

Isn’t this one?

mazingerz88's avatar

Because there was simply nothing else to do at that exact moment in time? : )

blueiiznh's avatar

Something stated or asked is something meant.

Berserker's avatar

Why not? If it sparks conversation and is constructive, I don’t see the problem. There’s actually quite a slew of questions on Fluther that really aren’t questions, anyway. If they really don’t ad anything to the community, then you can flag them.

FutureMemory's avatar

Because fuck libraries, that’s why.

YARNLADY's avatar

You can always flag questions that you don’t think fit the Fluther community. However, many rhetorical questions lead to fascinating discussions and I answer them if I am interested in the topic.

janbb's avatar

Ah @FutureMemory Where have you been all my life?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Please, fill this form out in triplicate. Take the white copy to the office in the third door down the hall on the right. Take the yellow copy—all right, you can call it the gold copy—to the second floor and leave it with the receptionist. The pink copy is for your records or for the bottom of your bird cage whichever comes first. We’ll get back to you after we mail you our decision.

wundayatta's avatar

I love to answer rhetorical questions. I always think they are real questions. I assume that people like to think about things, the same as I do. It is disappointing to find out that the questioner thought the answer was perfectly obvious. Just a sign of a closed mind.

But the thing is, this isn’t really about the questioner. Oh yeah, I know people think that you should come here to answer people’s questions and that only the questioner counts, but I think that’s complete and utter bullshit. The question is just a starting point for a conversation, and really, it is irrelevant what the questioner wants, once they’ve written the question and posted it.

Of course, a lot of people here think it matters what questioners say they want, and what questioners think they are or are not getting. And we, the answerers are supposed to act like the questioners are god or something. But if you let things go, and let people answer, interesting stuff happens. Often times, it is much more interesting and useful than the questioner deserves. And often the questioner doesn’t even recognize a good answer when they see it. Like I said, not open minded. Unable to see things any way other than their own preconceived notions.

Alas, the rules here are not set up for interesting and useful answers. Instead, the mods often think they know what the questioner needs better than the answerers do, so they delete extremely helpful answers they don’t think are useful, I assume this is because the mods buy into the tyranny of the questioner. It’s very sad, and it takes away from the quality here. Takes away from the fun, too. Makes Wundy a very grumpy boy.

FutureMemory's avatar

Alas, the rules here are not set up for interesting and useful answers. Instead, the mods often think they know what the questioner needs better than the answerers do, so they delete extremely helpful answers they don’t think are useful,

From my experience this only happens in General, and is the main reason so many of us stay away from it. I HATE General with a passion.

jca's avatar

@FutureMemory: I dislike Social because often a question is asked and people will hijack it with personal jokes, which is great for them but not so great for the rest, IMHO.

ucme's avatar


FutureMemory's avatar

@jca Yeah, it’s like the other end of the spectrum..sometimes too permissive. It’s like we need a happy medium between the strictness of General and the chaos of Social :)

Paradox25's avatar

I’ve taken the bait on a few of these, and it never turns out good. I try to avoid them, but I can’t absolutely guarentee that I’ll always do this :) I’ve been myself accused of slanting my own questions, though I don’t see how (looking back at them), especially considering that many who have accused me of this tend to do this themselves, but yet not get called out on this because their rants (I mean questions) don’t go against the grain.

6rant6's avatar

@zensky “I’ll take ‘Duh!’ for two hundred Alex.”

wundayatta's avatar

@FutureMemory It’s true. I’ve had answers taken down in general too many times, for what seem to me to be inexplicable and arbitrary reasons. Now, whenever I answer there, I feel like I’m looking over my shoulder because I have no idea what the mods will tolerate. And they seem particularly capricious these days. I urge people, including you, @jca, to not use general. I can’t answer comfortably in general any more. I have to keep out half the answer if I want anyone to see it. The problem is, I don’t know which half of the answer I need to keep out.

It’s worth putting up with social in order to get better answers. Yes, you get jokes. That can be annoying. But you also get people to give full answers that may go places you never anticipated and may turn out to be really useful. You can’t do that in general. The mods are all over you like flies on shit.

Aethelwine's avatar

@wundayatta General is pretty simple to figure out. It’s for people who want a specific answer to a problem. You do realize that is why some people come to Fluther, right? Not everyone is here for entertainment purposes like you. I always ask in General if I need help with a problem and I don’t want a smart ass answer or for everyone to start talking about food. Why the hell do I need people to go off in different places if all I want to know is what to expect with a PET scan? If I want to hear about your orange tree, I go to social.

Bellatrix's avatar

Answering in General and not having your answers removed is not rocket science, just stay on topic. If you find that impossible, stay in Social.

CWOTUS's avatar

Yeah. Whatever.

FutureMemory's avatar

You can stay on-topic and still get your answers removed in General.

The problem is when you post something that isn’t technically a direct answer to the question, yet is still on-topic – your post runs the risk of being deleted. I’ve had very good posts that were 100% on-topic be removed because they didn’t technically answer the question.

So the problem seems to be, some questions really don’t belong in General – some questions really do require more of a discussion to get to the heart of an issue, and of course during a discussion you’ll have plenty of posts that are on-topic, but don’t answer the question.

wundayatta's avatar

Questions in general are no different from other questions. There is the surface question and there is the underneath question—the question the person really wants answered, but either isn’t sure how to ask, or maybe isn’t even conscious of wanting the answer to that question. It’s perfectly obvious from the face question what the underneath question is, but if you answer the real question in general, you get modded. That helps no one.

Sometimes the person asking the question thinks they aren’t asking the underneath question. That’s usually because of some shame issue about the underneath question. They can’t even admit to themselves that that’s what they want. But anyone with eyes to see can read the surface question and can tell what is really going on. But the asker may even flag the answer because they are embarrassed to be seen through.

The mods are doing no one any services by modding these questions. But they are following the letter of the law.

My specialty, of course, is seeing through to the underneath questions. I am often quite helpful to people in doing this, to judge by the notes I get. I am confident enough about this to believe that even when people think I am wrong or off topic, they are still getting something out of it.

I think the moderators need to give more latitude in general. There was one question where half the answers were deleted and they were all on topic. I don’t know why they were deleted, except I think it had to do with some nit-picky complaint by the questioner. I know I went beyond the surface question and I gave one of my better answers ever here, and it’s gone, never to be seen again. Is it any wonder that I have little respect for the moderators?

Just about every single time I’ve been modded, it’s been a nit-picky kind of thing. I think the mods don’t need to be like that. I think they should go after obvious things, but if there’s any question at all, they should err on the side of liberalness, and leave the post up. I also don’t think this should be a referendum on the part of jellies. Just because five jellies don’t like something and flag it doesn’t mean there aren’t 100 that appreciate the question. You don’t hear from these people. There is no “unflag” button.

The thing is, this is a growing pattern and I think it is hurting fluther overall. I suspect it is part of the reason we do not get so many new people to stay. The atmosphere here can seem oppressive if you don’t understand what people are on about. I mean, it is annoying to me, and I’m a strong person. I can put up with all the personal attacks.

Spam? Yes! Get rid of it!

Duplicate questions? Sure. No need.

Trolls? Be careful. A lot of behavior that some people consider to be trolling is actually quite interesting and can lead to good discussions, if people keep their invective out of it.

Off topic? That’s in the mind of the beholder and the minds of the beholders right now are too small, I think.

Ok. I know your minds are all set and nothing will change. And I know that saying “I told you so” somewhere down the line won’t help. I would try to shut up about this and accept it, but perhaps the best solution would be to stop modding me. Then I won’t get annoyed and try to alert people to this problem. Talking to mods, of course, is worthless. And I don’t want to spend the energy to bring it to Augustlan every time. That’s not why I’m here. But blowing off a little steam feels a little bit useful.

Aethelwine's avatar

Holey fuck you think about this way too much @wundayatta. It is only a website! Many of us are happy with General. If a post of yours gets modded just move on. It isn’t the end of the world. Don’t answer in General if it gets you this worked up. I am perfectly happy with the answers I get in General because most of the users who answer my questions there understand how simple it is to just answer the question that is asked. Believe it or not, there can also be a little humor involved. There are much worse things to worry about in life.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@wundayatta : There is an “unflag” button. It’s called marking a response as a “great answer.”

As for the assertion that there are the surface questions and underlying ones, that is often very true, but it’s presumptuous and rude to believe the person asking the question doesn’t know that. Are jellies dumb? I think not.

Bringing up “shame” issues really means analyzing the questioner in ways s/he may not have desired. It may cross the line of what is and isn’t any business of the person answering.

6rant6's avatar

My experience is that in General people will diverge from the question onto something they think is related but is not; if you use a word in the title question, that can trigger brain dumps from people who can’t be bothered to read the fine print. Admittedly, sometimes those off question replies prove useful. That seems to be fine with the mods. Sometimes, I think the mods may have trouble keeping up with the discussion and have to mod out of pique or whimsy.

zensky's avatar

@6rant6 I’ll see your Duh and raise you 13 GA’s so far – the jellies who got the joke, that is.

And if you PM me uninvited again I’ll mod your ass outta here, kiddo.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Oh shit, FIGHT! Where’s the popcorn? My money’s on @zensky. His bob_ communicator will save the day.

augustlan's avatar

Unnecessary Disclaimer: @zensky is not a mod.

zensky's avatar

Unnecessary Disclaimer: Should’ve been I’ll have your ass modded…

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