This is a difficult question (maybe a bad question), and maybe especially difficult:

  • Because I'm asking about questions-in-general, instead of asking about one specific question.
  • Because I feel vaguely dissatisfied but don't even know what question to ask

I'll try and ask anyway, though.

I get the impression that some of the questions on this site aren't very good, or could be better:

  • It's badly phrased
  • It doesn't give much detail
  • It's theoretical (e.g. some speculation about Buddhism and physics)
  • It's similar to other existing questions
  • And there are other ways in which a question might be not very good

On some other sites one of the ways in which a moderator is active is filtering incoming questions:

  • If a question isn't good then the answer is 'put on hold'
  • If the question is improved by editing then it's reopened, otherwise it stays closed.

The disadvantage is that someone asks a question and their question is closed. If they don't improve their question then it doesn't get answered. Sometimes they get emotional. Someone needs to explain (or at least post to reference a FAQ to explain) what's wrong with the question and how to improve it.

The advantages are:

  • The site has only good questions
  • Good questions are easier to answer well
  • Almost any/every question on the site is worth reading
  • With fewer, higher-quality questions people might concentrate on fewer, higher-quality answers.

The requirements are:

  • Someone needs to decide whether a question is good enough to answer, or whether it should be closed
  • That "someone" should preferably include moderators and regular/experienced users
  • To do that we might need well-defined rules, and/or examples ("case law") of questions which are good and bad.

Here are my questions:

  • Should it be easy/permitted to ask question even if they're bad?
  • Should moderators decide that some questions ought to be closed? Even if we (users) haven't defined a clear set of rules yet?
  • Can you identify specific types of question that you think are bad, or specific types of badness, which you think should be closed or for which we need to improve the rules? Or instead of posting that here, revisit/renew the answers to Do we have a clear idea what is on or off topic?
  • As a user (not a moderator), if I see a question which I don't understand (which may be too often), then I think, "Maybe someone else will understand or answer or comment or close this" and I do nothing. Is that good behaviour on my part, or should I do something different/better?

In theory there are five reasons why we ought to be closing questions.

  • primarily opinion-based

    Is “opinion based” a reason for closing a question? says that all answers need evidence.

  • too broad

    Maybe we get too many questions that are too broad? A very broad question requires a lengthy answer (impossible on this site) or a very shallow / high-level answer.

  • unclear what you're asking

    I often find questions unclear:

    • Because I'm not an expert
    • Because we don't have helpful rules for writing clear questions
    • Because Buddhism is a complicated/subjective subject
    • Because some users who ask questions here are inexperienced
  • duplicate of...

    Perhaps many of our question might be duplicates and we ought to be using this close reason more often. But it's difficult to say that one question is a duplicate of another, when questions are:

    • unclear
    • too broad
    • not very well tagged

    There's another SE site (Skeptics.SE) where I read every question; sometimes I read a question and think, "I remember, an answer to a question like this one was posted here two years ago", I find that other question and I vote to close the new question as a duplicate.

  • i'm sorry i couldn't define "Hatred" for you.Honestly don't make people feel like they need a Phd to ask questions.We all come from different educational,language and cultural backgrounds.it's unfair to just deem someone's question as low quality because it didn't come out exactly as we wanted it too.Honestly what were you expecting??People are different.There should be a balance between asking questions within guidelines and "over-complicating things".I asked a specific question in PLAIN ENGLISH.and this guy pops out of nowhere like a parole officer and starts giving me grief about it.
    – Orion
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 10:03
  • 1
    Hi @Orion. I really like reading your answers and questions. You bring a fresh and interesting perspective to the site. So thanks for that. :) I think when people are asking for more information to clarify what someone is asking, or even when people are diving right in to edit grammar, etc. it's more because each question serves a double purpose of generating answers for the OP but also for all the people who will peruse the site for years to come (or spot the question/answer in search engine results). So maybe things get de-personalized a bit to make them more clear for everyone?
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 9:49
  • The words "low quality" sound really terrible and critical sometimes. But it's not a criticism of the person asking. Just a label applied to questions which aren't well suited to a "best answer" Q & A format or when it's not clear what's being asked. Kind of impersonal; but maybe that actually is a good fit with a community interested in Buddhist teachings. ;-)
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 10:17
  • @Robin111 I agree with Orion's comment though: i.e. it's not always nice to have some guy popping up. And her comment is a good answer (i.e. a personal opinion, input, or vote) to this question: i.e. "don't make people feel like they need a Phd to ask questions" and "there should be a balance".
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 10:48
  • "Low quality" sounds like an objective, impersonal label applied to the question, but I don't think it is: I think if I call something "low quality" that's a statement of how I feel, of my reaction, i.e. it's a description of the relationship between the question and me. For example it might be a good question but I'd call it low quality if I don't understand it. If I know that other people understand the question then my opinion of it doesn't matter. But editing it slightly until it's clearer to me, i.e. until even I understand it, might help other people understand it better too.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 11:03
  • 1
    The site also flags questions as low quality buddhism.stackexchange.com/help/quality-standards-error. So while you may feel that you are not being objective sometimes when you label questions low quality, there is an objective process in place to identify questions that need some work. :)
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 11:25
  • My point being that users shouldn't become upset if their question is flagged for quality issues. It's not personal.
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 11:42
  • This reminds me of an episode. Not long ago a user made a huge deal, threatening to delete his account (apparently he did) and "never come back again ever" because his question was downvoted and (if I recall) politely criticized. To my (ours?) perplexity, he seemed to be quite knowledgeable about buddhism, but I guess what would make difference is knowledge of "S.E culture", which resists to be trivially transmitted. It's also easy to engage mindlessly in moderation and forget that people may not have a clue of what "this is a survey, not a question" comment means, except pure rudeness
    – user382
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 20:58
  • @ChrisW i'm sorry i said bad stuff about you.To the moderators.I didn't mean it.I don't really think your a snob.I also flagged your question because i was being mean.sorry.
    – Orion
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 8:17
  • @ThiagoSilva i'm not going to say anything.But i will include you in metta practice that i absolutely hate doing.Right after I'm done with beings in the asuras.Grr.
    – Orion
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 8:36
  • @Robin111 Thank you Robin your really nice.I really mean it.I did take it personally because when i asked that question i really tried to make it as short and direct as possible for the purpose of not getting flagged as too broad.So when Chris asked me to add more details it really made me feel like omg.. seriously.Now people are going to flag it as too broad....
    – Orion
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 8:57
  • @Robin111 it kind of left me feeling like i couldn't ask any questions.i feel like i would get flagged either ways which bothered me because i don't know what's too short and what's too broad? Honestly i couldn't tell the difference if it was flagged to be helpful or to be over complicating things that's what annoyed me.I couldn't tell the difference.And i needed answers.
    – Orion
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 8:58
  • @Orion that was my point with that episode. Our commenting fires back (sometimes, strongly), even though we think we are polite. Also, I was the one who said "this is a survey, not a question" mindlessly in a question, which came out very rude and I tried to fix my attitude. And perhaps, not only interrogating in comments often come out as rude, but also fails to clarify "foggy guidelines" that for most seem to be just arbitrary picking. For what is worth, I like very much your Qs (and As), surprisingly they don't sound as if you were struggling with rules..
    – user382
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 13:45
  • 1
    @Orion, thank you. I've also been very unsure about questions I was submitting at times. It's hard to ask a good question here. In fact, I just added a Response below about that. :)
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 17:22
  • 1
    @Orion thank you. I'm writing because I don't want to just be silent and let you to think I have a grudge. I apologize for upsetting you and grief. It's true, your question was plain English. And shorter is better if that's just what you want to say. I'll remember that about you (i.e. "i really tried to make it as short and direct as possible"), and not comment on your questions like that again; although, sadly, in future I might still sound like a snob sometimes. :-)
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 2:46

4 Answers 4


Should it be easy/permitted to ask question even if they're bad?

In terms of rules, it seems natural to state that such Qs are not welcome (subjected to be close, etc). IOW, I think it would be very odd to allow all Qs that fit in the the regular criteria for "bad" to just...be.

Naturally, it's part of S.E. that all Qs are, by default, accepted and only when published, subject to moderation -- with a few exceptions, I guess?

So, in one sense I agree "it should be easy/permitted to ask questions even if they're bad". But questions that the community judge that are bad should be closed, as they normally are.

Should moderators decide that some questions ought to be closed? Even if we (users) haven't defined a clear set of rules yet?

But some questions are closed after a few users casted their vote to close. I don't know about closing without community input first, though.

Even if we had a clear set of rules, I have mixed feelings about being more strict on closing questions as we don't have much of these -- personally, I tried to be very open about some...strange questions that appear on and off. But not in my place to complain I think, since I only wrote two questions -- for some reason, they don't come easily for me, at least in a way I can articulate.

Can you identify specific types of question that you think are bad, or specific types of badness, which you think should be closed or for which we need to improve the rules? Or instead of posting that here, revisit/renew the answers to Do we have a clear idea what is on or off topic?

I did some searching on questions (4 pages of the most recent ones) and couldn't really find open questions that I would close. But I compiled a few to comment on, maybe that's of some help. If I see samples I think are worth of discussion I'll try to take note and bring them to meta to discuss.

  • What is your understanding of “levels of existence”?

    That question, at first, seemed to me not related to buddhism at all. In fact, it was related to buddhism, just using a phrasing I was not familiar with. Afterwards it was edited to include examples of the realms, and got into a format that I was happy with, since it got more background/context to it. This is not really an example of "bad" question, but an example of question that can be mistaken as "bad" if we are not careful -- but this is probably just standard S.E. lore...

    It's also an example of questions that appear sometimes, which are very hard to decipher because of that lack of context and background. Examples:

  • The experience of silence and Is buddha nature active

    I don't think these are off-topic, but I found myself not knowing how to ask for further clarifications.

While these are just a few examples, I think we have many questions whose authors have some hard time making themselves understood. And, at the same time, it's hard to try to make these questions clearer for more people without looking like a pedantic jerk in the comments.

As a user (not a moderator), if I see a question which I don't understand (which may be too often), then I think, "Maybe someone else will understand or answer or comment or close this" and I do nothing. Is that good behaviour on my part, or should I do something different/better?

That is pretty much my behavior. I don't see how this could be better.


Here's an attempt at a suggested policy. Please upvote if you agree with it, or comment (or post another answer) if you disagree.

Not closing questions

On this site we will try to not close a question, or put it on hold, for the following reasons:

  • "Too broad": we are allowed to ask a broad question, even a question which could theoretically take a whole book to answer. The site allows (welcomes) beginner questions. You can't expect hugely long answers though, so if a question is very "broad" then an answer might be quite 'shallow': a superficial summary of the topic, and/or a reference to further reading on the topic.

  • "Unclear what you're asking": if possible we prefer to avoid closing 'unclear' questions:

    • Because someone else might understand the question even if we don't
    • Because we don't have too many questions, and we want to allow as many as possible
    • Because asking a totally clear question might be, sometimes, too difficult
    • Because closing questions causes grief, anger, hurt, etc.

    Instead the options are:

    • Politely leave a comment asking for clarification. Be very polite. Maybe start with a "Welcome to the site" or a "Hello". Emphasize your misunderstanding, not the question, by saying something which implies, "I'm sorry: I don't understand 'X'." Spend enough time on your comment, not too rushed (which might seem rude), try to make a good first impression (on the person asking the question and on other who read the question and who wonder how their question might be received). Don't assume the poster has the same experience as you have with the norms of other Stack Exchange sites.
    • Politely edit the question. Leave a comment explaining why and inviting a reply, clarification, and/or rollback. Don't lose sight of what the OP wanted to ask (so that any answers might still satisfy the OP).

    Some people (e.g. Robin111) seem to have an especially good track record of doing this without people taking offence.

    On a high-volume site with too many questions, 'bad' questions are put on hold until/unless they're improved. At the moment, here there are not quite enough questions, and so we'll leave questions open and allow them to be answered, even if the question might be altered or improved after people have answered (which might be a waste of those early answers).

  • "Too theoretical": unlike some other SE sites which are only for solving specific practical problems, this site is for (among other things) Buddhist "philosophy". This site has a generic help page which says,

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

    That should be understand as,

    You may ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face, but that's not the only kind of question you can ask.

  • "Too practical": some sites are only for theory. For example the Christianity.SE will refuse what it calls Pastoral Advice Questions. However this site is also for Buddhist "practice" so practical questions (about Buddhism) are on-topic.

    Advice when asking practical questions might be to include:

    Any background research you've tried but wasn't enough to solve your problem.

    Questions about ethics (e.g. about the 'precepts') are also allowed.

  • "Too controversial": this site allows some controversial or seemingly 'heretical' questions, including for example "Is rebirth a delusional belief?", especially if it's asked politely/respectfully, and with the intention of learning.

  • "Too obscure": this site is fortunate in having some experts who are willing and may be able to answer. If a question is too difficult then the worst that will happen is that it won't be answered.

    You can try not to ask too many unanswered questions (you'll learn what types of question people can and can't answer).

    Also kindly avoid asking question just for the sake of asking questions, of trying to 'improve the site' (by asking question), of increasing the number of questions asked, because,

    Personally, I find seeded questions irksome; it's generally easy to see that the asker isn't really looking for an answer, so there is no sense of accomplishment in answering. It feels more like a chore, like editing Wikipedia or something.

  • "Too easy": some experts might not like questions which can be answered using Google or Wikipedia; but some other users on this site don't mind trying to answer those 'beginner' questions as well. You might not get an expert answer to an easy question; but if the answer is written by a regular user, and if that answer is reviewed and voted on and/or commented on by the other users and/or by the experts on this site, at least you'll be getting peer-reviewed answer (fairly reliable or hopefully not completely wrong).

Closing questions

A moderator and/or the community should (and does) close the following types of question:

  1. "Off-topic" (insufficiently related to "Buddhist philosophy, teaching, and practice")

  2. "Polling questions" which only ask "What's your experience?"

    For example, this question was closed by yuttadhammo and it's a type of question which he regularly closes. The question asked this, after describing an experience,

    Has anyone ever experienced anyone like this off or even on (!) the mat? It was most striking...

    I gave the following comment as an explanation for closing this question:

    I think a problem with a question that is phrased like, "Has anyone ever experienced anyone like this?" is that it could attract an unlimited number of people each answering "Yes, me!". Each new answer would be a bit new (different from previous answers) and as valid as any previous answer. There's no obvious way to select any best answer to that question, no way for any answer to finish answering or to provide a complete answer to the question. And it doesn't seem to describe any practical problem you have, so there's no way for anyone to help to answer/fix that problem.

    Crab bucket's question is modified (a sufficiently different, on-topic version of the same question): it's different/better because in particular it identifies a problem to be solved, and it asks for advice (on how to deal with this problem).

    The site's format and strategy is not designed for long discussions. Its strategy is to serve for Q+A (answering questions) now, and for previously answered questions to remain in a clean format which works well for reference (so that future readers who find the topic using a search engine can read simple Q+A).

    If people wanted long unfocused discussions, an option would be to use of a 'Chat' room.

  3. Exact duplicates: if a question has already been asked and answered well, then it's better not to answer it again elsewhere (because it's better for the reader if all those answers can be found under the same question). Hopefully the person whose question is closed will be happy to find that their question has already been answered!

And ... that's it: no other reason? The above are the only usual reasons for closing questions.

  • Great work!! I'd add to the "Closing questions" the speculative ones. Though I couldn't find good examples of it, unfortunately -- and it would be good to have them, to differentiate from "good speculative" questions such as "Where does a person go after attaining Nirvana?" -- which is speculative in nature, but whose answers are not speculative, but informative, which I think is the very point of the criteria.
    – user382
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 4:01
  • Apparently there are 71 closed questions at the moment: running this query will list them. I suspect these are closed-but-not-deleted questions. Questions which have negative votes and no answers are auto-deleted eventually, so this list is closed-and-new (with maybe negative votes) plus closed-and-old (but only with positive votes and/or existing answers). Most of these (undeleted) closed questions have at least one answer (maybe that's why they're not auto-deleted).
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 4:27
  • You might like to review this list of closed question if you want to identify another type of question (e.g. "Too speculative") which has been closed in the past and ought to be closed in future.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 4:35
  • Chris, a lot of this makes sense to me. Thanks for all the work you put into it. I've changed my position on jumping in to edit other people's work too soon. (anicca! ;-) Please see edit marked April 25 on my original post for another point to consider. :)
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:05
  • @ChrisW Wow...I did not know about this "data explorer" -- I was just browsing through "closed:yes". Thanks, I'll have a look
    – user382
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 14:45

Per Area 51, we are receiving only 2.9 questions per day while 10 per day is considered healthy. It's the only area we are showing "in the red".

Seeing as we are short of good questions, it might make sense to try to improve weak questions we receive rather than close them or put them on hold. Many times poor questions are really more a matter of poor grammar or poor English language skills. There is still a person out there with a question and if we have the ability to reasonably construe what is being asked and make the question fit our site's model better and allow for more activity, content and usefulness of the site, why not do it?

I've edited questions on behalf of others quite a few times; mostly when there was no response to the question at all even after a couple of days. Leaving a comment explaining that the question had been edited for clarity and inviting the OP to roll it back to the original if the meaning had been changed too much is the right thing to do of course.

I don't think anyone has yelled at me yet for editing their question. But if someone is unhappy, they can always roll it back or open a new question. Free. No charge. :)

Edit April 25, 2015

While checking out our Buddhism.SE Facebook Page, I came across this comment from an unhappy user:

I am so sorry, but I think I have to express my opinion for good. What I've seen on this Q&A forum is "Soviet Union" system with a lot of bossy people there! You write something and a million people edit your post as they want... What if i do not like their help?! Besides, I cannot delete my questions. This is unfair! They are my questions, there is mentioned my name and therefore, I want my posts to be deleted!.. I have a feeling that it is not a meditators society at all, honestly!.. That bossy people have been trying to control everything! Sirimangalo.org was a far, far better forum!

This person brings up an important point which gets lost sometimes. Not giving someone a fair chance to edit their own question, when needed, can appear rude, bossy, controlling.


Duplicate question received: Close it with a reference to the original question.

Any other type of unsuitable question received: Place on Hold with an invitation to the OP to edit their question to make it suitable. For example: "Your question does not appear to be about Buddhism. Please edit your question to include how it relates to Buddhist theory or practice."

If there is no response from the OP in a reasonable period of time (7 days?) we can either edit it ourselves if feasible or close it if not.

I realize this is flip flop from my "jump in there and improve the question ourselves" position earlier. But the comment above really drove home the point that you can save a question but lose a participant. And that's not good for anyone.

  • 3
    I think putting questions on hold is still the proper move, even if it seems a bit heavy handed... what is probably not handled as well as it should is moderator follow-up to help get on-hold questions fixed and reopened. I'll try to be better at doing that. Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 14:07
  • @yuttadhammo That's a good point that putting the question on hold gives the OP a chance to fix their own question which is preferable. I think we can help you with the ones that don't get fixed by the OP though, Bhante. Seems to work for regular users to just edit and submit for review to re-open.
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 19:12
  • @yuttadhammo I'm more-or-less in two minds about whether unclear questions should be put on hold. In comments and in their answers, everyone else (i.e. Robin, Orion, and Thiago) each said in various ways that they're reluctant to close questions, and so I've posted a new answer in which I argue our policy is that most such questions shouldn't be closed (but may be edited without having been closed). Is that proposal workable and sensible? Less closing means less work for you as moderator, if that's any consolation.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 3:16
  • "save a question but lose a participant" is important. You now suggest "put it on hold and let the OP edit" instead of "edit and therefore annoy the OP". I fear that "put it on hold" might be annoying too. Two other possibilities: 1) "don't put it on hold and let the OP edit" i.e. don't be too quick to edit yourself. 2) "edit yourself without being bossy enough to annoy the OP". A third possibility is to open with a comment which says something like, "Welcome to the Buddhism.SE site" which could be a hyperlink to a new introductory FAQ page on meta, which introduces the site's conventions etc.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:18
  • Another possibility could be to have a designated welcoming person (you perhaps), who writes well, who is received well; and we could agree that you (and not for example, I) should be responsible for writing to address the OP (e.g. to ask for clarification), because you're better at it. And/or maybe other people can learn (it just occurred to me that maybe ending a comment with , please. might often make a comment seem more harmless).
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:27
  • @ChrisW, The hyperlink is a very good idea since many people coming in for Buddhism.SE might have no prior experience with SE culture and convention. I know I didn't. :) The only problem with leaving unsuitable questions open is that you might start getting equally unsuitable answers/discussion of the sort that's exactly what we're trying to avoid. "Me too" and discussions of things outside Buddhism. There's lots of potential for eager, uninitiated users to continue the thread on the wrong track.
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:31
  • I noticed that Facebook comment too -- @yuttadhammo I saw your comment in reply to it: in case you didn't know, though you presumably do, I get "403 forbidden" if I try to get ask.sirimangalo.org
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:36
  • Perhaps ideal is - welcoming the OP, politely pointing out what makes the question unsuitable, asking them to edit it and providing the hyperlink to the FAQ page, then putting it on hold for a reasonable amount of time to give them a chance to fix their own work. Which is not much different than what we do. The difference being putting more questions on Hold instead of Closing and having us follow up with any that linger for more than X days. 7 days sound reasonable?
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:42
  • Re. a hyperlink to a 'Welcome' page, feel free to write/propose/draft one? I fear it's beyond my skill/scope. I was thinking of this Welcome to new users as an example. I don't know whether new users like it, but it's often used for example like this or this ...
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:49
  • ... or used like this for a question which he then put on hold or closed.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:50
  • leaving unsuitable questions open ... uninitiated users to continue the thread on the wrong track -- I do agree with 'closing' a question (aka 'putting it on hold') if it's actually/blatantly off-topic, or "not a question" (i.e. if it's poll instead). In fact when you close a question then it's labelled automatically as "on hold" for the first 7 days and its status changes to "closed" but (apart from that label) there's no difference in status, i.e. either can be edited and/or reopened.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:58
  • Perhaps what we're not sure about (i.e. what we're still questioning/discussing now) is how to handle (i.e. whether/how/when to close and/or edit) any questions which seem "unclear".
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:59
  • Ah, I did not realize that On Hold and Closed were the same process, one further into the process than the other. Again, SE terminology can be confusing to newbies; of which I'm still one. :) So anything "Closed" will have a 7 day "On Hold" status first to give a chance for editing. Good to know! Regarding unclear questions, you gave good reasons for asking for clarification (via comment) but leaving them open in case they were clear to others. That along with giving the OP a reasonable chance to make their own edits before we jump in makes sense to me. :)
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 13:17
  • @ChrisW, this is very helpful. meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1505/… I'd be willing to write something similar for our site if you and our moderators would like. Would I just put it as a Q and A here on Meta?
    – Robin111
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 13:21
  • 1
    Just stopping by to say I'm excited with all this (read it all, have nothing to add a the moment). Thank you everyone!
    – user382
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 14:43

Following @ChrisW post and discussion about speculative answers, I'm elaborating some thoughts on this kind of questions below.

I have scanned through the closed questions looking for examples of speculative questions, which I only found one. I also know of an additional (open) question that apparently have the same flavor but I think adds to the discussion:

  • Would a world full of good Buddhists seeking enlightenment would never have developed technology? [closed]

    This is a question that seems to fit very well the undesired "what ifs": that is, where the author presents a very different world than our reality and asks the readers to develop it through. And this is problematic because we are interested in current reality and problems within it and it's answers are bound to be imaginative by default. More importantly, I presume, it does not provoke answers that illuminate anything about Buddhism.

  • What if there is no rebirth? [open]

    [...] However, I would like to know, how exactly the Buddhist community will behave in case if, indeed, scientific method proves some day that one of key concepts of Buddhism (not necessarily, rebirth) is not correct.

    I like this thread. The actual, literal, questions (both from the title and in bold) not only is precise but can be seen as quite speculative: who knows how buddhists will (exactly?) behave if a point of doctrine is shown to be false?

    And yet, there were answers (upovoted and actually marked as "the answer") despite the fact that none did answer how buddhist community exactly will behave. But the selected answer reframed the question to "how [no rebirth] shakes the rest of the doctrine".

    The fact that it got selected tells me something else: as many have said, it's hard to ask a question. It's certainly hard to express ourselves. I like this question is open because, for me, it's an example of a flexibility that I think is very fruitful and something we should preserve.

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