[ Question ]

Should questions be called "questions" or "confusions" (or "other")?

byRaemon5mo22nd Jan 20194 comments


Or, what is the best way to think about "what is a question?" on LW?

The LW Team just had a retreat where we thought through a lot of high level strategy. We have a lot of ideas building off of the "questions" feature.

One thing that struck us is that a lot of early stage research has less to do with formalizable questions, and more to do with noticing anomalies in your current model/paradigm. Something feels off that you can't explain, or there's a concept you don't even understand well enough to ask a coherent question about.

The "question" feature was meant, in part, to reduce the cost of exploring early stage curiosity, but we wondered if it might even be a slightly-too-formalized.

Just like, technically there was nothing stopping you from asking a question as a post (but adding the feature caused a proliferation of questions) there is nothing stopping you from asking an ill-formed question. But, maybe changing the language slightly would better encourage early-stage curiosity.

So, curious:

How would feel if we changed "Ask a question" to "Pose a confusion" or something like that? (The main issue so far is that "pose confusion" is, well, way more confusing since it's a non-standard phrase. Other options include literally saying "Ask question/Pose Confusion" [i.e. both at once, so you get the benefit of the clear-cut "ask question"], or some word other than "pose.")

(Somewhat but not-entirely-jokingly, we also noticed people are hesitant to post "answers" since they sound like you're trying to claim you know what you're talking about. We jokingly considered "Post a deconfusion", or "post a partial answer" as options)

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I think it's important to have the "ask a question" feature keep its name, since a lot of questions aren't necessarily confusion. For example, one might want to expand ones knowledge on a subject. They aren't confused, they're just lacking knowledge.