General Question

chefl's avatar

Who says that's a "gotcha question", is it the person who got stumped or not?

Asked by chefl (874points) 1 month ago

What is the definition of “gotcha question”, or a “gotcha answer”, What are some examples? Is it the stumped and their supporters say that kind of thing? (Edited)

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14 Answers

Zaku's avatar

It’s someone complaining about the unfairness of the question. It could be the person asked, whether or not they “got stumped”, or it could be an outside commenter, or even an apologetic asker.

It’s often said of questions which the person saying it feels are unfair in a variety of ways, such as questions that they think take advantage of biases or unfair assumptions listeners might make. Such as questions that ask the person to immediately know something that it might seem they should know, but maybe on reflection it’s reasonable if they struggle to answer, but an audience may tend to judge them for anyway. Or, it can be a question that someone may answer in a way they will regret, or that may be prone to being taken out of context, etc.

There are many other types of possible “gotcha” questions, such as questions that sound reasonable, but are designed to get the target to reveal something the questioner knows about, but the audience doesn’t, and that may be hard for the target to easily explain, and it’s a 50-second interview on TV.

Another type is to ask questions based on their own mindset and invented facts, asked as if the lies are true and their mindset is the only one.

They could also be probing questions that invite responses that may make you look bad. Some job interviewers and police interrogators like to ask questions which invite honest responses, but may reveal weaknesses.

Or questions designed to catch you in a lie when combined with other questions or information the questioner may think they have.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

When you get asked questions for 4 hours in NYC for fraud and you claim the 5th amendment.

. . . or your son claims the 5th for 400 or 500 times.

YUP tangerine turd !

chefl's avatar

@Zaku So, a “gotcha question” is not necessarily bad/wrong if . “Or questions designed to catch you in a lie when combined with other questions or information the questioner may think they have.” Usually when a person says that it’s meant to be accusatory.

chefl's avatar

I’m trying to find video where sarah Palin said “That’s a gotcha quesrion”

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@chefl I believe the clip is when she was asked what magazines she reads.

chefl's avatar

Yes I remember now.
The thing is some not everything you read and watch is because you like it.

RayaHope's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 WOW did she evade the question that she was asked or what? LOL!!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

RDG1 W O W !

Don’t think she can count 5 let alone 10 ! ! ! !

Zaku's avatar

@chefl “So, a “gotcha question” is not necessarily bad/wrong if . “Or questions designed to catch you in a lie when combined with other questions or information the questioner may think they have.” Usually when a person says that it’s meant to be accusatory.”
– Yes, whether it’s bad or wrong, or not, is very often subjective. So is whether one would think of some questions that way.

A police officer or a prosecutor might tend to think of some of these types of questions as good and rightfully-used tools to solve crimes and serve justice.

A journalist might consider some such questions good and proper to use to expose important truths.

A parent might think such questions are good and right to use on children.

And some people may disagree on whether a question is really fairly considered a “gotcha”. In fact it’s a common tactic of embarrassed politicians, perhaps the most famous of whom you tagged on this question.

LostInParadise's avatar

One frequently cited example of a gotcha question is, “When did you stop beating your wife?” Any straightforward answer accepts the assumption that the person had been beating their wife.

chefl's avatar

@Zaku I agree. Yes it depends from whose point of view. Some people are just doing their job the way they should.

Demosthenes's avatar

A “gotcha question” is a question that is asked in bad faith, meaning that its purpose isn’t to solicit an informative answer, its purpose is to yield a specific response that you want to hear so you can smirk and say “gotcha”. Answering a gotcha question is playing someone’s game and people understandably don’t wish to do so.

And yes, of course people misuse this label like they misuse everything (“whataboutism”, “narcissism”, etc). But that doesn’t mean the thing itself isn’t real.

Forever_Free's avatar

I avoid questions and/or people who try to entrap you.
Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?
Do you spit or swallow?

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