7

Currently (as far as I know) there are no rules on “why doesn’t xxx have yyy or do zzz”, and the answer (most of the time) is just “why would they?” “There’s no reason to.” “They didn’t see a point to it”, etc. Are there any rules regarding these types of questions, and if there aren’t, should we make some?

2 Answers 2

8

I'm not sure if a general rule is needed. Whether or not it makes for a good question depends on the specifics of the question. Searching for questions containing 'why isn't' sorted by relevance shows some closed questions but also many well-received questions. In many cases, I think it's just a way of phrasing the question, in brackets I'll show that an alternative way of phrasing is also possible:


In some cases the alternative phrasing of the question may be preferred. For example, the 'why isn't' phrasing may seem speculative while the alternative asks for something more tangible.

On the other hand, even the 'why isn't' phrasing can make for good questions if the question is on-topic and answerable. That's also an important criterion from the help center:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.


Currently (as far as I know) there are no rules on “why doesn’t xxx have yyy or do zzz”, and the answer (most of the time) is just “why would they?” “There’s no reason to.” “They didn’t see a point to it”, etc.

The main discrepancy in the case you describe is that the asker thought it would make sense for xxx to have yyy or do zzz. If answers explain why that isn't the case then the asker benefits from that answer.

If the answer is really obvious then it's probably not a good question and it may be downvoted or even closed as a result.

Are there any rules regarding these types of questions, and if there aren’t, should we make some?

No, I don't think there are any rules for this. I don't think additional rules are needed either. User can vote to indicate if a question is good or bad. If a question is so bad that it should be closed for existing reasons, then the tools are already there.

To end with a variant on 'why would they?':

Why should we have additional rules? What problem are we trying to solve?

1
  • Just to add: If you think the "why isn't" phrasing is odd, just go ahead and submit an edit.
    – henning
    Jun 21, 2021 at 11:34
2

the answer (most of the time) is just “why would they?” “There’s no reason to.” “They didn’t see a point to it”, etc.

I'm not sure if you agree with such answers, or object to them. In the latter case, I'm sorry to inform you, that those answers are there because most of the time, they are the correct ones.

This site is about politics as a political process, not just political science - and those questions surely are in that realm. Politics isn't science (I mean political process, not the PolySci science of studying said process). Things happen or do not happen, simply becaise a certain set of people make a certain decision - usually, voting (in parlament, ministry, election or referendum). Often, that caused by other people making certain decisions (e.g. parlament votes X way because people voted Y parlamentarians in, or answered poll questionx Z way, or contacted their representative W way, or made noise on Twitter, or staged a protest, or highjacked an airliner).

And answering "why did someone make a decision XYZ" is incredibly hard and often impossible even for one person - never mind for a large conglomerate of people, for a variety of reasons:

  • People aren't logical overall. They make decisions using what is known as motivated reasoning. See a lot of modern psychology and economics, starting with Daniel Kahneman and on.
  • What's worse, they lie (even - and mostly - to themselves) as to why they make specific decisions. "I voted for X because it's the right thing". No, you voted for X so you feel emotionally good about a certain decision because a visible majority of people whose opinion you care about said it's good - and more often than not that person had a differing opinion in the past.
  • People's decision making is often complex and affected by many conflicting factors, even when it is logical (and it rarely is - see the first bullet).
  • People are very hard to convince of something they do not already believe in (also see modern psychology research).

And, even in aggregate, in the process, the answer will often boil down to inertia. Doing something (anything) effective is usually/always hard in an out of itself. Changing anything is even harder because you also have to go against entrenched interests in any topic, since most things either are - or at least are percieved - as - zero sum game.

1

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .