My question references to this question: "What puts out the mind".

Questions such as these i find very difficult to make sense of, yet even more difficult to give an answer to due to the fuzzy and hazy nature of them.

As i see it there are 2 elements in this question that makes it difficult to both understand and answer.

  1. The framework is blurred. An example from the question could be:

"What reasons are there for supposing it does so after the mind wanders, not before or during?"


"But I'm interested in the question not as a facet of Buddhist doctrine: but the question of whether we "die" in the sense the atheist attaches to death"

The highlight i have made suggests that the question does not even belong to Buddhism SE since the questioner mentions that he is not interested in the buddhist doctrine but from an atheist viewpoint (as i understand it). That could mean that the question is better off asked on Philosophy SE.

  1. The question asked deals with opposites - conventional vs ultimate reality. The questioner uses words such as "we" or "dies" implying that there is a person or being that dies. These are both concepts which do not apply when speaking of Nibbana which is an ultimate reality.

These different elements make the question difficult to both understand and answer. Do anyone have an advice how to deal with this type of questions?

I have dealt with it in the following way. I have downvoted the question and closed-voted it with the reason: "Unclear what your're asking". I also put a comment on the question.

  • 2
    Interesting. Thus far we have been very permissive with questions accepting question when they really don't make sense. My instinct is still to keep them open (and downvote appropriately) and see if anyone answers. If then don't and they end up mouldering away on the unanswered list then maybe close off. But I'm very conscious of our lack of questions and that does lower my quality bar - perhaps too low Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 9:13
  • Thanks for the input. I do understand your concern since i have the same concern. I had a chat with Chris about this very topic. We are at 3,9 questions per day and to be free from beta we need 10 questions per day. So that definitely is worth having in mind if we want to graduate from beta. As i see it the issue is "question-quality vs. amount of questions" and we do need more questions. Although if the quality becomes too low we might be in conflict with the requirement of providing high quality content on Buddhism SE.
    – user2424
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 9:34
  • The question volume vs quality also interesting. I don't know if you caught up with this discussion meta.stackexchange.com/questions/257614/… but it seems like question per day is a key metric for site graduation. That said there seemed like an increased recognition for lower volume sites so more questions good but not a disaster if we never get to 10 questions per day Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 9:51
  • Yes Chris showed me that question too and im very happy to see that "young" SE's now have the oppertunity to make it even though they dont have 10 questions per day. Although i still think we should have quality in mind when asking and answering questions. I actually do not think its a problem here. Once in a while there pops up questions like the one here but not that often.
    – user2424
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 10:09
  • 1
    I've been pleasantly surprised when a skillful answer to a "fuzzy" question suddenly cleared things up and I learned something from both question and answer. i.e. even if I don't understand it, someone else might. This answer is an awesome example of that happening. (Check the original version of the question prior to editing for details.) For this reason, I think there is value to being very slow to close questions. If much time passes and no one can save, close then.
    – Robin111
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 11:45
  • @Robin. Thank you for posting this. I see your point and i agree with you. When fuzzy questions can recieve such answers then there can definitely arise something useful out from them. I guess i saw it only from the perspective of the fuzzy question and overlooked the potential answer-perspective.
    – user2424
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 9:57
  • "I have downvoted the answer" - do you mean to say "question"? Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 14:00
  • @Bhante. Yes, thank you for pointing that out. I have edited the question now.
    – user2424
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


Being new to this forum and still on a learning curve I'm am a bit unclear and hazy on things around here, but thought I might be able to provide a newbie's perspective.

From my experience as a psych sometimes just asking the question in whatever manner the person has mustered up the courage to do so is a significant and sometimes clarifying moment for them. The answers or direction evolves as new information becomes available. The potential of alternate and non proscriptive solutions and the sharing of weird and wonderful 'data' is greatest in the moments of haziness and non clarity. There is a freedom in expression if the parameters of the query are broad.

Sometimes the process of finding clarity by ones self, in a group or online is lifesaving and a journey that when shared provides a forum for fuller understanding by others who may not have to plumb the depths of despair or confusion because they engaged in the clarification of that hazy issue. Does that make sense?

Im not suggesting for one moment that all questions need to be hazy, just saying that it would be unfortunate if that option was taken away. After all, if you can ask the question with clarity you are well on your way to understanding the issue... no?

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    If I understand you correctly - i think you are right. We are in an unusual position and when people come to the site (or Buddhism generally) they are often hazy and just have a whole bunch of half formed ideas. I would like to see us try to help these people (which I think on the whole we do) Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 8:26
  • Agreed. As a Q & A site with a "best answer" format we are bound to a rather strict format requirement for questions and we've had several threads here on Meta with trying to reconcile this with (a) a natural response to want to help when help is asked for and (b) the very practical issue that the site doesn't yet receive a "healthy" amount of questions per Stack Exchange standards which would be an average of 10 per day. So for both reasons we try to allow as many questions as possible sometimes assisting the OP with editing their question to meet requirements without changing their meaning.
    – Robin111
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 12:38

Some people made suggestions, described in the "Unclear what you're asking" section of this answer.

I suggest you may downvote if you expect that no-one will be able to edit the question and/or answer it.

You may have seen that some people have been able to make sense of other answers and edit them accordingly, and so even if a question looks impossible, maybe someone else can make sense of it.

So far we're not getting many closed questions nor many unanswered question, so I hope that's good.

If a question is downvoted, and not edited nor answered, perhaps we'll eventually consider closing or deleting it. Or in fact (if it's downvoted) perhaps it will be deleted automatically after 30 days.

  • Thanks Chris for linking to this post. I was searching for guidelines such as these.
    – user2424
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 9:59

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