See This question and this answer.

I believe that the question is insufficiently referenced; @Odysseus believes that it contains unintended bias. Sardathrion argues that @Odysseus' comments on bias are a rant. (Aside: I'm beging terse here - no insult is intended to any of the three participants.)

I don't think this is the first question (or the last question) to include assumptions or even bias that complicate answering the question while preserving scholarship, integrity, etc. (Additional examples would improve this question; edits welcome).

What is the best way to refine a question (let's ignore questions where a simple edit can fix the problem)?


I don't really have a huge problem with questions that contain mistaken assumptions, as long as they are honest and/or common mistakes. In such a case, the person is unlikely to be the only person running around thinking those things. I believe it really ought to be part of our mission to address common misconceptions about History head-on. That would be tough if we don't allow the question.

What I do have a problem with is questions where the author appears to have a predetermined answer in mind, and they try to plant assumptions and constraints in their question to force answers to be what they want.

IMHO the linked question appears to be more of the former class, rather than the latter. Ody's problem appears to be that he sees it as the latter. It looks to me like he's mostly upset over the last line or two, which I took as a throwaway SWAG at a possible cause, not as the germ of the question itself.

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    This. Mistaken assumptions in questions are to be expected really, if the askers were experts in the subject of the question... they wouldn't be asking at all, would they? – yannis May 2 '13 at 14:51

The problem with "open ended" questions is that too many things can be read into them by different people. Apparently this was the case here.

For myself, I just ignored the "noise" and answered the question that I thought was there. That's not hard for me, because I am "INTJ" on the Briggs-Myer personality spectrum, where the N stands for intuitive. Maybe I should have done more to refine the question.

I could see how an "ISTJ" (where the s stands for a "sensory," or detail-oriented person) could be thrown off by "extraneous" assumptions. That said, such a person might do better devising solutions for this type of question than I would.

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