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wundayatta's avatar

What are the advantages and disadvantages of asking the same question in both general and social?

Asked by wundayatta (58638points) May 5th, 2010

There are some questions that are perfect to have fun with, as well as to give serious answers, but if they are in general, you can’t have any fun. So, do you think it should be permissible to ask the same question in social, so as to garner humor as well as seriousness? If not, what should a person interested in fun do in order to pose that question in a forum where people could have fun with it?

I mean. Come on! Why do Rice Crispies snap, crackle and pop? The possibilities are endless! Personally, I think it has something to do with those little elves and a dominatrix.

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33 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You mean like spamming your question?
No. People will abuse that.

chels's avatar

Couldn’t you come up with a question that would be just as fun but not straight up copy the question?

poofandmook's avatar

The poster could request that it be moved to social, no?

CMaz's avatar

I was never crazy about clam dip.

prolificus's avatar

(Not that I want to agree with @Captain_Fantasy, but…) it would lead to abuse of priviledge.

I’m starting to feel sad realizing the consequences of the new design. I don’t always like being on my best behavior when I answer questions. So, now I feel like, if I want to answer a general question, I need to put on my academic hat and follow the classroom rules. This can be a good thing, but, after X amount of serious answers, it’s fun to lighten things up with snark and quips.

If the same question, though, was posted in both general and social, I think it would lead to a lot of confusion.

poofandmook's avatar

I’m with @prolificus: There have been plenty of times when a serious thread turned into a fun thread after the serious answer had been given.

janbb's avatar

@prolificus Maybe we should have a “move this to social after 10 general answers” category?

gemiwing's avatar

Why not just put the question in social and add to the details that serious answers are also welcome?

I don’t honestly see a benefit to asking something twice of the same people. One question would end up with straight answers and the other one would be pure goofiness. Why not just ask in the social section to begin with?

poofandmook's avatar

Then again, I recently asked a serious question where some uninformed jerk came in with a snarky insult, so I wish I’d asked the question after the change.

prolificus's avatar

@janbb – I’m sure there are endless possibilities to resolve this tension of not being able to goof around with “serious” questions. I think, for now, I would rather just become accustomed to the new format. I think this change it going to cause a signficant shift in how we jellies communicate with one another.

prolificus's avatar

It’s almost as if “general” = the classroom, and “social” = the playground and cafeteria. In this scenario, the mods become the teachers and vice-principals, and the flaggers become the brown-nosing, rule-stickling tattle-tailers ;-) This could be fun!

liminal's avatar

@prolificus @poofandmook @janbb
The general question guidelines state humor can be used as long as it integrates respect for the question. I am guessing that some of us are about to kick up our thinking skills, creativity, and wit a notch to make sure it doesn’t get lost.

I am hoping the new guidelines will put an end to “question death”. I think some people use humor to deflect and derail because the conversation makes them uncomfortable. Sometimes, this stops a productive process short. I have seen more than one question unravel into humor, albeit quite entertaining, it ends the life of the question. I don’t think I am the only one who has chosen not to respond to questions, with answers that offer additional perspectives, simply because it seemed weird to tag an answer onto several lines of back and forth banter. Who decides that the appropriate time for humor has arrived? =P

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Agree with @prolificus that the new design makes me a little sad. Sometimes a humorous quip on the part of one person can make me think of a new, serious answer to a question. I hope the give-and-take that I’ve enjoyed on this site isn’t stifled.

Dog's avatar

[Mod Says:] I just asked and wanted to clarify here that posting the same question more than once on Fluther is not allowed as always. The second version will be removed as a duplicate.This also goes for questions that are essentially asking the same question but are worded differently.

Hope that helps a bit.

andrew's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I hear that, and we certainly don’t want to ruin everyone’s creativity, but already we’re seeing a lot more people want to ask questions because they know that they won’t get an endless stream of one-liners and derails in responses.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

What’s this? No humor now?
How will this be enforced?
Is there a Fluther Police force handing out funny warning slips?

Where can I read my fluther funny rights?

jrpowell's avatar

@OneMoreMinute :: This is the important part.

Feel free to use your own voice. Humor and sarcasm may be used, but only in conjunction with a legitimate answer to the question.

Fred931's avatar

Here’s an idea: just denote at the beginning or end of the details that you will accept answers that would better suit the social category. I think that, because the person asking the question is dictating whether or not the answers to the question should be serious or not or both, the person asking is the only one who legitimately cares. I can’t imagine anyone getting annoyed about a funny answer that was accepted by the question-asker who was, and still could, post a serious response. Of course, the mods might get just a tad angry that their strict no-giggles rule was defied, but there doesn’t seem to be any harm otherwise.

And, thus, a concept materializes, somewhere in the world, in a 15-year-old’s immature head: Why not ditch the brand-spanking-new interface, and instead of having a choice between the two standard categories or meta, offer a tick-box system which allows the asker to select between General, Social, Meta, or any combination of the 3. Some sort of area in both the viewing area and the inside of the question, near the details, would display which of the 3 categories the user had selected when assembling the question, and problems would be solved.

I think that’s a great idea and I’m very proud of it, but I’m quite sure there is a flaw in it. Is there?

Dog's avatar

Reserving the main page for legitimate responses makes it more friendly. I have counted three members who have not been active in a long time posting today- and that was just a brief glance over the front page.

I know that if I want to have a fun question of get funny responses I can post in Social. I am enjoying the questions in Social and am really happy that the creative questions of UCME and other interesting Flutherites now have a home where we can enjoy them and respond!

filmfann's avatar

I don’t see the General questions getting many responses from AstroChuck, so I will probably haunt Social as well.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

This reminds me of when starting making a bunch of changes one summer and the site was dead by the following springtime. Breaking people up into groups breaks site continuity, just my two cents.

Dog's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I thought was doing well till the owners got tired of it and could not turn a profit. They closed it right? It seemed like a very close nit community when so many came here. Do you think it was the changes?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

You can not imagine the flow and connectivity the members had with one another when we had just one page of questions, I’d never seen anything like it. Almost immediately after so many gizmos and changes, the whole feel of the site was different though it looked really pretty.

Dog's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I apologize for my prior assumptions. I just had a chat with Ivan and now I understand a lot better what you all went through. Your user base shifted when your population was fragmented across a half dozen or more areas. All because the owner wanted to build and flip the site for a profit. While I am in no position to say that this will never happen here I can tell you that the founders deeply care about Fluther and are not just treating us like statistics for profit.
There was a lot of people calling out for more sections such as an adult one and the founders did not want to fragment the site any more than was needed. Social became necessary because those who wished to have humor were infringing on those who were seeking legitimate responses. It is a very good solution. I can see where you are nervous though.

wundayatta's avatar

So, does the question belong to the questioner or the answerers? Selfish people will be using the general section. Generous people will be using the social section. I believe that when I ask a question, it no longer belongs to me. It is up to the community to decide what to do with it. Sometimes they take it seriously, and sometimes they make fun of it. Either way, the community and I are both served.

Humor can create creativity in responses and lead to new insights. All work and no play made Jack a very dull boy. The general section is going to be pretty boring, I think. Maybe some new users are crawling out of the woodwork, but if people are turned off by a creative approach to answers—it ain’t my place.

I fully expect to get just as serious, if not more serious answers out of the social section as I would see in the general section. I don’t know why people have such thin skins around here. It’s just a playground. No need to take things so seriously, unless warranted, and I think people have pretty good judgment around here.

I don’t know where I’ve been, but I’ve never seen any of these hijacked questions. I’ve never noticed questions not getting serious answers in addition to the humor. I know I don’t mind the humor. I’ve found that people usually settle in after a bit of silliness and get with the program.

Here’s my beef, though. Some questions are perfect for humor. Just absolutely perfect. They’ll get serious answers, but I think we lose a lot by excluding humor from these questions. And you can say all you want that you can add humor and seriousness in the same answer, and of course, that is true. What is also true is that that inevitably ruins the humor. You can’t explain jokes. It just doesn’t work. It kills the fun. At least, it kills the fun for me.

Just look at this question, for god’s sake. It’s in the social section and I’m afraid I don’t see any silliness here. The conversation has wound around, but that’s the way conversation goes. Trying to force it into the straight and narrow will have the same effect here, as the army corps of engineers has on the land when they straighten rivers. There will be no new soil put down, and eventually the land will become poor and unproductive. That will happen here, too. I don’t know how long it will take, and of course it’s easier to change policies here than it is to unstraighten rivers, but there could be significant damage before people come to their senses.

I could be wrong, of course. But I’m afraid that I have been right in my predictions about such things more often than I’d like. I hope the management treads very carefully here. I hope the feel of the place doesn’t change very much. If it gets too stuck in the mud, I’m not sure there will be much point in hanging around any more.

Dog's avatar

@wundayatta Selfish for wanting an answer to a question?

shilolo's avatar

@wundayatta “Selfish people will be using the general section. Generous people will be using the social section.” That’s a pretty broad (and unfair) generalization. In fact, it is very generous of you.~

wundayatta's avatar

Selfish for believing they get to decide what answers they get. Lack of foresight, too. Selfish for thinking they own the answers. Selfish for limiting the interest and creativity of potential answerers. Anyway, that’s how I see it, as broad a generalization as it may be. I’m sure people won’t see themselves that way, but to me it’s like taking your toys and going home because people won’t play with you the way you want them to. It’s petty stuff, and, as I said, selfish.

Perhaps @shilolo, you can explain why it is unfair? And of course it’s generous of me. We probably couldn’t have this conversation in the general section. These last few answers would be deleted for one excuse or another. Maybe not on topic. Maybe as put-downs or something. Well, you’re two moderators. Have at it.

shilolo's avatar

I would say it is selfish for you to insist that the site needs to conform to your wishes. Indeed, that is the definition of selfish. That said, I’m still shocked that I have to explain why a person might want to seek real answers on a Question and Answers site and not subject themselves to the grandiose ideas of others (“boy, I’m really funny…..)

Would you have this conversation in real life?
Me: Where’s the best place to get a pizza in San Francisco?
You: New York City.
Me: No, I really want to know.
You: Ok, Chicago.

And so on…

Probably not. Yet, people feel like they can joke within and malign other peoples’ questions on the internet because of the anonymity. To me, it is the height of selfishness for someone to use another person’s query to advance their own agenda, which is typically a manifestation of simultaneously not knowing the answer and a willingness to share their version of “funny”.

wundayatta's avatar

@shilolo Whoa, man! I’m not insisting that the site conform to my wishes. I’m just stating my interests and fears. That and three bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The fact that you are paying me any attention at all, and getting all defensive about it is gratifying, but it won’t change this website one bit. No one here really cares what I think. I mean, they are interested and entertained sometimes, but no one really cares enough to take action. Except you. That’s the biggest reaction I’ve ever gotten. Thank you, sir [bows].

I guess I find your view of the world to be deadly dull. I wouldn’t have a problem with your conversation. I know that eventually the person would get serious and give me a real answer.

I’m not sure what you mean by “maligning” other people’s questions. As to using someone’s question to advance their own agenda—ummm—that happens all the time, and in fact, it is done with serious answers, not humorous ones. You seem to have a big antagonism towards humor. In fact you seem very frustrated by it. Which, I guess, means that the management of the site is frustrated by it, which means my approach to answers is not welcome.

poofandmook's avatar

I have definitely come to the realization that the social section can pretty much be used the way “the old Fluther” worked. You don’t have to use the general section to post a serious question if you don’t want to. You can post all the serious questions you want in social. But if you want to post something you really can’t “afford” to have any goofing around on, you have the option to do so in the general section, and you’re guaranteed to not have to wade through 30 posts of jokes. You get the answer you need.

Now that my pea brain finally figured that out, my only request to the establishment would be a way to select a default tab, which has already been suggested. Powers that be? Would that be something to consider in future updates?

janbb's avatar

That’s just the conclusion I’ve been coming to also @poofandmook . I think this will work out fine once we all shake out our brains and get used to it.

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