Can we ask questions which could be meant to teach one a lesson? What is the rule, the purpose of questions in Dhamma-Practice?

Given that there have been ideas that "teaching" answers could harm the purpose of questions and answers, how about teaching-questions?

This includes questions where certain agendas, even for the benefits of those who are asked, could be supposed. Are such question good and supportive for you and for others? Good for the community's purpose, whatever it might be?

Maybe it would be better to supply an example of what is meant by this.

So is there any fear that questioning each other back and forth, could maybe lead to loss of anything? Is it usual? Or is there a certain idea of "real" question in "real" world, with an "real" agenda? Or should it maybe be always clear, who is lacking (asking) in a certain issue and who is giving (answering)? Maybe a kind of receiver-giver, or teacher-student phobia could limit such ways.

And yes, also this question has many agendas on many levels.

Purpose of questions?

Practicing of questions in Dhamma-Practice?

General, seen for one self, guessed of others, traditional, possible use.

  • 1
    That was not the original question, but if you ask "yes" so if Upasaka likes to color it, he may color it proper and ask "Are we allowed by the moderators... to ask question which we might knew more or lesser the answer or should be write down everything we know about it before?" Sometimes it seam as if questions and answers are merely given as a raw material for the moderators to model them in the way it fits to thier thought, but only sometimes.
    – user7586
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 16:20
  • Are you saying I changed the meaning when I edited the grammar? I didn't intend to change the original meaning. If I changed the original meaning that would be because I misunderstood the original (but the edited version is close to what was written originally). Would you like to correct the edited version, to make it closer to what you wanted to ask?
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure I understand; the question might be clearer with some examples.

However I think there are at least three kinds of question which the community isn't eager to answer (nor, even, very willing to see asked, and answered by someone else):

  1. Should Buddhism.SE be seeded with entry level questions?

    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.

    I don't think we need to have answers to every question about Buddhism; we need answers to expert questions that one can't find by simply googling. I think we should keep pointing out when questions are LMGTFY-worthy, and encourage only questions that are truly looking for expert answers.

    Actually the site does welcome beginners' questions too: but from beginners -- the consensus has been to discourage experts' seeding the site with questions.

  2. Are we here to preach and make converts?

    This answer which says,

    Yes, we all are here to preach and make converts.

    ... was heavily downvoted. So questions whose purpose is to let you say,

    • My view of Buddhism is better than other views of Buddhism, isn't it?
    • My school of Buddhism is better than another school of Buddhism, isn't it?
    • Buddhism is better than other philosophies/religions/cultures, isn't it?
    • Buddhism wrong and is worse than another philosophy/religion/culture, isn't it?

    ... is likely to be closed.

    See also What types of questions should I avoid asking? which includes, "your question is just a rant in disguise".

  3. May I share my research, by posting questions on this site and self-answering them?

    My vote would be "no": that this site is to ask questions and to get answers from other people.

To "enforce" or implement this policy we have to guess at the users' motives for asking a question.

In general, if you already know the answer then you shouldn't post the question.

These guidelines are not currently included in the site-specific Moderation policies for Questions; but they could be, in the future (if the community continues to agree with these policies / meta-answers).

  • 1
    Lets look out for samples.
    – user7586
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 16:06
  • @ChrisW I see the answer given by Ven. Yuttadhammo in your answer, Chris "Personally, I find seeded questions irksome...". I also see this question posted by him: buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/11042/what-is-buddhism Which neither you or any of the other moderators bothered to close. Andrei even answered it himself. So then what is this business of Samana Johann's question being closed? Is this fair, consistant moderation?
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 11:33
  • @Ryan I thought that was a real-world problem ("need a handout to give out at the club fair") -- conversely it's not clear why the Samana posted the 'dukkha' question (perhaps it was meant as an exercise for the users of this sites, whose purpose was to school users or grow the site). And in Yuttadhammo's question it's clear who the answers are meant to be for ("suitable to distribute to someone who knows nothing about the religion") -- conversely I wouldn't know how to answer the Samana's question (I don't find it plausible that he would be asking me to tell him about the First Noble Truth).
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:01
  • They are both let me Google that for you-ish questions, and both are asked by people who presumably know the answers to said questions, yes? So then, it is appropriate for one to ask a question they know the answer to, on behalf of someone else, just so long as that someone else is someone who won't be reading the answer on this website? Andrei closed samanara johanns question on the basis that he already knew the answer. So at least be consistent.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:09
  • Just to be clear though, you're saying it is OK to ask questions that one knows the answer to, just so long as the circumstances are deemed appropriate by the moderators?
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:11
  • @Ryan I was going to say, it's not clear whether you're asking: a) Was Yuttadhammo's question consistent with his policy? b) Are other moderators fair and consistent in implementing policy c) What Is policy d) How does policy inform our handling of the 'dukkha' question? -- Based on your subsequent comments I think you're mostly interested in b) i.e. moderators?
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:48
  • Given that two very similar questions were treated in polar opposite manners, that would seem to be what should be looked at.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:52
  • @Ryan I tried to define my understanding of a moderator's job (i.e. my job) in this comment. That definition was OK (i.e., "that is what I am saying") but doesn't mention two further details: one is that moderators are also users, and they have (they are IMO allowed) a vote of their own; the other is that moderators watch each other (in comments to that question you can see that neither CrabBucket nor I chose to vote to reverse Andrei's vote, but we are waiting to see other people's votes),
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:56
  • I understand Chris, and I appreciate your impartial handling of this.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:59
  • In reference to your comment of what you feel a moderators job should be, it seems the process is working backwards in this case, yes? And this was after the question had received several answers. So I still don't understand why closing it was necessary; any discussion of Dhamma that expands our understanding is good!
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 16:35
  • Thank you for your understanding and appreciation. @Ryan I didn't understand the question, i.e. the first sentence about "backwards", in your next (most recent) comment. Re, the second half of that comment, if you still want to ask about the specific ('dukkha') question can I recommend you start a different Meta topic (using the 'specific-question' tag), to ask why it was closed, to ask whether other people agree it should be have been closed, and/or to ask suggestions on whether/how it can be edited to make it answerable? Also why do you want it open?
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 22:54
  • I dont per say want it open; I just feel it should not have been closed in the first place, and I feel such moderation sets the precedence moving forward for similar behavior which could be detrimental to this community and the good it might serve others. And yes I do agree with this last comment :)
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 2:46
  • I also get the impression from Samana Johann that he is as open to learning from us as is he willing to share what he knows, which is why I feel this particular closing of his question was unwarranted
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 2:48

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