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mponochie's avatar

Is there anything such as a bad question?

Asked by mponochie (677points) July 10th, 2010

Recently I read responses to a question that made me wonder what are the guidelines for an inappropriate question (excluding the obvious of seeking to offend someone). I was always taught that there are no bad questions, just bad answers. Just wandering how does one go about learning if they are in fear of asking.

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21 Answers

zophu's avatar

There are bad questions. The saying stating the opposite is just used to encourage hesitant people to go ahead and ask questions.

Many questions are better left unanswered, though these aren’t necessarily all bad. But there are many questions better left unasked; these are bad. A bad question can bring about a good answer, though, if that lends to your point.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Questions that are worded so as to restrict the answered to what the OP wants to hear are the worst kind of disingenuous rhetorical questions.

Example:
“Should the US stay involved in the war against terror in Afghanistan or should we allow innocent Americans to be slaughtered wholesale in their sleep by the conspiracy of Muslim terrorists dedicated to wiping out our righteous Christian Nation?”

That is a bad question that deserves no answer.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

There are no bad questions, but you have to be open to the answers.

YARNLADY's avatar

There are quality standards on Fluther, and questions that do not meet those standards could be called bad, I suppose. There are questions that do meet the standards because they are inappropriate for a family Q & A site, so you might call them bad.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@papayalily Did you not consider my example a bad question?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence It’s not a bad question, it’s not a question at all.

zophu's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I don’t know, I think that would be a pretty good question here on this site :-) very entertaining. . . do you mind if I ask it?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@zophu If you think it is a good question, go ahead and ask it. Just do not give me credit for it!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@papayalily It is phrased as a proper question in English, is it not?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Yes, but just because you phrase it a certain way and put a question mark at the end doesn’t mean it’s a question.

zophu's avatar

@papayalily If what you said just now was a question, it would be bad one. I see your point, though.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Of course there are bad questions (on Fluther and in life) – I hate that saying which implies otherwise.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The worst of the bad questions are disguised propaganda and obviously deserve no answers. Silence or ridicule are the only real response options.

BoBo1946's avatar

yes, just read some of mine!

downtide's avatar

I think there are lots of bad questions. Most of them are on Yahoo Answers.

Berserker's avatar

I personally believe that everything should be explored and discussed, but yes, at least on Fluther, and pretty much every online community there are standards to follow.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’ll admit that many of mine (here and on other sites) are real stinkers.

Aethelwine's avatar

I consider questions to be bad if they aren’t sincere. If you are asking a question to intentionally get a rise out of a group of people, that’s pretty lame, and sad bad.

roundsquare's avatar

That saying is meant to get people to ask questions who might otherwise hold back. Its meant to say, “don’t worry if people will think its obvious, ask the question, get the answer, become enlightened.”

mattbrowne's avatar

Only when asked by trolls. Honest, trustworthy folks – and sometimes they are teenagers – should never be confronted with a bad question label reply. You do this at school and you lose the students. Guess what, a couple of years ago I thought Paris Hilton was a hotel in the French capital. So what? Some people lack basic scientific knowledge. We should support them.

anartist's avatar

@mattbrowne you made my day! Actually I thought so too, for much longer than the average bear.

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