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phaedryx's avatar

How can you get people to answer the question you are actually asking?

Asked by phaedryx (6126points) August 21st, 2010

So, I just asked this question: http://www.fluther.com/94469/

I specifically ask to propose a current situation, and all of the answers are about how it has happened in the past. I know that it has happened in the past, that is not what I’m asking. I want to know if it will happen again and under what circumstances it will.

Is it a bad question? Was I unclear in some way? I guess I get frustrated when I’m interested in something and would like to have a discussion about it and the discussion gets hijacked.

I’m looking for advice/guidance.

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13 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

You can mark answers that don’t answer the question you asked as “off topic” and the mods will probably remove them.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I read that question. It seems like people were giving examples of what happened in the past to show that that could also happen in the future. I think the best thing you can do it try to redirect them to what you are looking for and flag answers you feel are unhelpful.

jerv's avatar

I am with @Seaofclouds of clouds here.

It is a little annoying that people disregarded the last paragraph, but your best bet at this point is to gently remind people what your real question is.

MissA's avatar

I sincerely believe that people were trying to be helpful. Ask the former question with JUST the second paragraph. Are you searching for a specific answer?

SeventhSense's avatar

Why would you ask this question? Just kidding. I don’t know but if you find out maybe I’ll ask one. It’s human nature I suppose. Life has its own questions to answer. Maybe we’re here to follow that.

zen_'s avatar

What @papayalily said. Nuff said.

Berserker's avatar

I found out that you really have to be literal around here on just about everything, and it sucks to have to cut around your question by exhausting all possibilities which you might think to be addressed, instead of what you actually want to know. For example, you could have said I know this happened before, but… (And you pretty much did, at least by repeating a part of your question in the replies, but beyond that, I don’t know what to suggest.)
I think you just have to really be specific, and more importantly, emphasize on your main point, more than once if you feel it necessary.

For example, let’s say I ask the following; What is Goth? Knowing how things work a little round these parts, I’d add that, humour and insults are welcome, but please add something a little more serious and constructive while you’re at it.

augustlan's avatar

Oh that can be annoying. Like the others have said, at this point the best you can do is redirect the question (politely) and flag unhelpful answers (since it’s in the General Section). What I generally do when asking a question that seems likely to veer in a different direction is to say something in the details like: Please note that I am not asking “XYZ”.

anartist's avatar

police your thread. Respond to the part of an answer you are seeking, note the rest is irrelevant. The more you input the more you get.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Thanks for this, @phaedryx , I’m seriously amending the question I was composing.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer : Why, thank you, dear!

phaedryx's avatar

@MissA Yeah, I should have given an example of what I was looking for instead of what prompted the question. That was distracting.

@everyone Thanks fo the input.

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