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I asked two questions that did not receive very good feedback. Both questions were meant to either have answers that showed the ridiculousness of the situation, or so I could hear an argument that I've never heard before. I've done this on other SE sites, and no matter how uncomfortable my questions may be, they've always received great feedback. I'm just curious if this is something that is unacceptable here. I'm willing to compromise, but if it's acceptable I'd like to continue asking my questions. One of the questions has been deleted, and the other is:

Why aren't drug dealers required to ID customers?

Is it okay to ask questions with the intention of proving a point?

22

I am not a member of this community, but I did comment on the question, so I thought I'd expand on my comment here. (In a broader sense, I am active on the Stack Exchange network in general and so what I say is based on that.)

To me, asking a question to make a point doesn't seem right. The Help Center for all sites says:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

Now, I think this isn't as clear as it could be. We run into issues of e.g. what makes something a "practical" question. But to me, part of what this means is that your question should be honest and not motivated by something like "trying to make people I disagree with look bad". The Help Center also says to avoid making posts where

your question is just a rant in disguise: “______ sucks, am I right?”

Reading your comments, I felt like your post is kind of like this:

  • It just seems strange that kids can buy any drug they want, but purchasing a regulated product is very hard for them to obtain.

  • if Marijuana was legal, then legislators could begin making rules to regulate whether it is sold to minors? But as it stands, such a rule is neither logical nor enforceable?

  • who knows, maybe someone will provide an answer that explains why drugs are better left in the hands of people who don't care whether someone is a child or not. Then I'll learn something new and everyone wins

It seems like your post is "Prohibition of drugs sucks, am I right?" in disguise. Asking "Why isn't there legislation that requires (illegal) drug dealers to ID customers?" is a pretty silly question, as people have pointed out in the comments. If you post a silly question, you should be prepared for it to get downvotes. If what you really want to ask is "How do drug prohibitionists respond to arguments about legalization allowing increased regulation of drug dealers" then you should say that outright. Your question in its current format seems disingenuous, and I don't like that.


Note that there's no way for me to actually tell if a question-asker is being "honest" or not. So perhaps what I really want is just the appearance of honesty. I think it's fine to ask a question based on premises that you don't believe in, but you should try to make it look like you are asking the question from some understandable viewpoint that shows some research effort. The question you posted, "Why aren't drug dealers required to ID customers?", doesn't seem "plausible" in this way, which I think is why several commentators expressed confusion about the question.

  • Exactly. I couldn't answer this much better. – Philipp Jan 11 '17 at 8:49
  • I understand what you're saying. For now on I will test out whether a site is willing to put up with my silliness before posting a bunch of questions. I'll try to be more professional here so that nobody gets upset. Thank you for your answer. – Cannabijoy Jan 11 '17 at 9:12
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A reason for asking a question is 100% irrelevant. Only its quality is.

What's relevant is, is it a good question? Both in terms of general SE framework (answerable, non-subjective, not too broad, and hopefully well-researched) and in terms of an individual site (within the scope, and abiding by site rules as elaborated on Help Center and meta).

If the question is good, your motivation is irrelevant - as long as your subsequent behavior isn't disruptive (arguing in comments, etc...) to match your motivation.

However:

  • Very frequently, questions asked to prove a point are indeed objectively bad quality. I would hesitate to assume causation and would urge others not to do that, but from experience, there is at least some correlation.

  • An exception to the sentiment above is the anti-pattern of asking a boatload of similar questions to prove a point, even if all of them are good quality. That can be disruptive to the site, and people frequently object.

8

The answer by sumelic already explains it very well.

But I would like to add that due to the nature of the site, Politics.SE has a far lower tolerance towards users trying to use this website to convince people of their opinion. We are here to promote knowledge about the policies, processes, and personalities that comprise the political arena. This can only work if people leave their personal views aside.

If you would like to lobby for a political cause, it might be more appropriate to use a discussion forum or social media.

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