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nutallergy's avatar

Why do some people fixate on why a question is asked?

Asked by nutallergy (958points) April 16th, 2015

I’ve seen it happen many times when a person will ask a question and then someone will question the OP about their intentions. This line of questioning almost always derails the thread.

Why do some users do this? Why can’t they answer the title question without assumptions poisoning their thoughts?

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16 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

I dunno.
Why do you ask the question?
What are your intentions?
I hope this doesn’t poison your thoughts.

kritiper's avatar

I’ve seen/experienced people who do this. It’s like they are thinking “Why do you want to know, is it any of your business? Do you need to know? I may consider it privileged information so I may not tell you.” I once asked an electrician about a meter. He answered with a smart-assed remark as if I didn’t need to know and he wasn’t going to tell, which wouldn’t have hurt him in the least. A bit of a power trip thing. “I’m better than you, so there.” To sum up my answer here, I think some people can’t help but be smart-asses.

nutallergy's avatar

I don’t have the assumption poison running through my thoughts so I’m cool @ibstubro. :)

Mimishu1995's avatar

I may do that when the question sounds like the OP isn’t in a good mood. It’s just a way to show my concern, nothing personal here.

Kardamom's avatar

Sometimes the OP will have asked a bunch of questions and given a lot of information that suggests that a certain scenario is going on in his or her life, then they’ll ask another question (without referring to any of this information) that sounds innocent/innocuous enough on the surface, but knowing the background information, makes this new question sound like it’s being asked for an ulterior motive, rather than just asking the Q on it’s own. If the same exact Q was asked by someone who hadn’t provided all of the other, seemingly provocative/contrary information on a bunch of other Q’s, it’s unlikely that anyone would question the OP’s motives.

Anyone who’s been on Fluther for awhile, can probably think of at least a few members who tend to ask Q’s like these, and get all huffy when anyone questions their motives. I can dredge some up if need be. I don’t think that’s necessary though.

Here’s a fake scenario to illustrate this situation.

OP Q # 1 Is it OK to make out with a married man?

OP Q # 2 Is it OK to have sex with a married man if you don’t work with his wife?

OP Q # 3 This man that I know is very kind to me and offers me affection. We work together, but he only offers me affection in private, not in front of the other co-workers. Do you think I should confront him?

OP Q # 4 I have had the best sex with the most wonderful man in the world. My co-workers are all jealous and say that I should not have sex with him. He is separated, but not divorced. His wife used to work at our company, before I worked there and she (the bitch) is sort of friends with some of the other co-workers. I think they’re all being jealous bitches. He is so kind to me, and he is separated and says he wants to be with me. Should I call up his wife and tell her to be an adult and proceed with the divorce (she claims she will never divorce him because she wants his money and she wants his kids to denounce him as a father)?

OP Q #5 My boyfriend’s ex-wife, well technically they’re still married, but they’ve been separated for a long time (4 months) is a total bitch and she’s turned my co-workers against me. My friends, who have never met my boyfriend, are telling me that I should break up with my boyfriend, so this crazy woman will leave us alone, but I love him so much and besides, she’s the one who made him want to leave her in the first place. Should I tell me friends to butt out?

OP Q # 6 I just found out I’m pregnant. My boyfriend wants me to have an abortion, but I don’t believe in abortion and I could never give up my baby for adoption. I want to get married, but my boyfriend wants to wait. Do you think we should just go down to the court house and get married as soon as possible and then have a big fancy reception after the baby is born?

It is precisely that kind of question, that leaves out all of the other extremely important details, that makes people question the OP as to why they asked that particular question, which seems completely out of context, knowing all of the other information.

I would have a very different answer for the OP on question # 6 if I knew all of the background information than I would if I was simply taking the Q at face value.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t often ask why a questioner has posed a question. I might ask them for clarification about the question. I’m not sure why other people would do this other than they feel they need to understand your intent so they can give you an appropriate answer. Perhaps they feel the questioner has an agenda? Or they’re not sure of the context surrounding the question?

ucme's avatar

Because they are, by nature, desperately sad loser types?

jca's avatar

What makes you ask this? Just kidding.

Like @Kardamom suggests, it seems to happen a lot with relationship questions. Sometimes an OP will ask about a boyfriend (or girlfriend) issue, and then a while later will ask another q about a relationship. It would help if they linked the previous, and I noticed that sometimes, another Jelly will link a previous question and ask if it’s the same relationship. The background info can help when it comes to answering questions like that, because after showing the history, the issues might be clearer.

Other than that, I can’t think of any particular instances where Jellies are asking why a q was asked.

nutallergy's avatar

@Kardamom I wasn’t thinking about relationship questions when I asked this. I’ve seen people question the intention of the OP when there were no previous questions asked that relate to the new question. At least not in the mind of the OP, but some users have a habit of wanting to look for hidden meanings or intentions and they make assumptions that draw attention away from the original OP. . I do thank you for your response.

Uasal's avatar

Because words are somewhat nebulous and sometimes one needs more information on order to give the best answer?

nutallergy's avatar

@Uasal But many others are able to answer the question without assuming there’s a hidden meaning or a previous question prompted the discussion. It seems to be a select few who fixate on the reasoning.

Thanks for your response.

ucme's avatar

@nutallergy Repeat the mantra…“they take it too seriously…they take it too seriou…” :D

Blondesjon's avatar

Just hang around for awhile. You’ll figure it out.

janbb's avatar

I have been known to do this when I want to see if there are more layers to the question than first appears. I usually don’t do it to put someone on the defensive but rather to take the discussion to a more meaningful (as it seems to me) level. I kind of think if you put it out there, you can expect to get varying responses and it’s all valid as long as it’s not an attack.

cheebdragon's avatar

Why not? The more we understand about the situation, the better our answers will be.

ibstubro's avatar

Conversely, @nutallergy, I have seen many occasions when the respondent incorrectly assumed they knew the intention, when a simple question would have clarified things for everyone.

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