When did you stop beating your wife? Challenging loaded questions in FQ

I bet you love the trope in courtroom dramas where the lawyer asks a “factual question” designed to mislead the jury without adequate context and insists that the witness only be allowed to answer yes or no.

The original post did not. The poster returned later, after all the moderation, and opened things up, as sometimes happens when the original post, as written, results in unsatisfactory responses.

Nobody was misled in the FQ thread in question.

…the OP as in “original poster”, not “original post.”

No, because I and others challenged the loaded assumptions in the OP. That’s the entire point.

It seems to me that you do, though.

The premise that it seems to me that you’re assuming is that the sole purpose of this strategy is to prevent child sexual abuse.

And I agree with others here that this isn’t the sole, or even the main, purpose of the strategy; though there may be some using it who do think of it that way. What it seems to me is the main purpose of the strategy is to teach that everyone is deserving of respect: including the child, but also including everybody else.

If the children were being taught that while they don’t have to hug anybody they don’t want to they’re entitled to hug anyone else even if that person doesn’t want, then of course that wouldn’t be so. But as I understand it this isn’t what’s being taught – what’s being taught is that both/all partners to the hug should be willing. This isn’t entirely or even primarily about sex; nobody’s saying a child shouldn’t have to hug Grandma only if Grandma is a sexual predator. It’s about teaching respect in general.

Moderators, could I say that in the thread in question, and go on from there to what sort of study would have to be designed, and also why any study showing only the effect on sexual predation would be insufficient to answer the question of whether “this strategy works”?

But what is negated is any assumption that, if the strategy doesn’t work to prevent childhood sexual abuse, it therefore doesn’t work at all and shouldn’t be used.

If you’re asking what the goals are, isn’t it appropriate for people to answer that the goals are much wider than only preventing childhood sexual abuse, and that therefore studies considering those wider goals would be needed before the strategy could be declared not to be working?

And as a wider question: moderators, is it acceptable in FQ to respond that a question cannot be given a factual answer in the form in which it’s been asked, because any such answer would be seriously misleading?

It’s an FQ thread; there was no “should” until the IMHO crowd showed up and was appropriately shut down.

There obviously was. The OP was loaded with the assumption that parenting strategies in general should only be based on empirical evidence; and specifically that teaching bodily autonomy and consent should be justified by empirical studies of abuse outcomes.

The OP contains none of the above. And if it did, you can ask the mods to move non-FQ threads elsewhere.

But part of the OP question was:

so it seems to me that pointing out that there could be positive effects in other areas than childhood sexual abuse directly addresses that part of the question.

In addition, I’m still asking whether saying that answers to a FQ in the form in which it was asked would be misleading is forbidden; though I don’t expect there’s been time for an answer to that.

I’m actually objecting on different grounds: that even if empirical studies of abuse outcomes exist and show no benefit, they’d be insufficient to show that the strategy doesn’t work, as it would also be necessary to do studies of whether the strategy worked in other areas. And the OP did specifically ask about the strategy working.

But I think that what you’re saying does also address the issue, because it points out an additional area in which the strategy could be working, whether or not it has an effect on whether the child is sexually abused or commits sexual abuse.

The relevant passages have already been quoted above. I’m obviously not the only one to interpret them in this way. And if there’s any ambiguity, I think it was removed by OP’s subsequent reporting of every post that questioned what we saw as an incorrect embedded premise.

On thing to also consider here, is that for many people a request for empirical study evidence about [whatever] will be viewed as inherently a challenge to the validity of [whatever], not “just a question”. No need to word it as a challenge, they’ll see it as baked in. The adversarial mindset has been drilled in deep.

FQ threads are not Google searches. It’s easy to present ostensibly factual questions in a manner that advances a line of reasoning. That may be unintentional or it may be to advance an agenda.

Either way, it surely cannot be board policy that controversial non-factual assumptions embedded in a FQ OP must stand unchallenged because to challenge them would be non-factual.

It seems to me that if an FQ OP raises challenges in this manner, there are two ways this should go. If a controversial assumption is loaded into an OP it could be discussed for a brief while within FQ. If that leads to OP acknowledging that the assumption may be wrong for reasons other posters have stated, then the thread could continue in FQ, with subsequent factual answers now in appropriate non-misleading context. Or, if OP is not willing to recognize that premises embedded in the OP are non-factual and controversial, the thread should be moved out of FQ.

If someone started a thread in FQ with the OP “In the Bible, Ezekiel had three wives. Which wife did he marry last?”

Presumably a discussion of what the Bible says or doesn’t say about the chronology of Ezekiel’s weddings would ensue. An answer either could or could not be provided based on the contents of the Bible, or inferences made from passages not directly mentioning Ezekiel.

One could argue the OP has an implicit assumption that the Bible is a factual document, and it could be questioned whether or not there ever even was an Ezekiel to begin with, but I gather the mods are saying the OP in the context of an FQ question is intended to be discussed on its face value, not whether the premise of the question was at fault to begin with. Elsewise, every FQ question, for instance, about what the Bible says or doesn’t say would inevitably devolve into a debate about the validity of the basis of Christianity where there’s nothing in the OP suggesting that’s their intent.


If Ezekiel, in the Bible at least, really did have three wives (frankly, I have no clue–just taking it as an example, supposing that’s what’s in the Bible), a better representation of the issue under discussion here might be “In the Bible, Ezekiel had three wives. Why did he deny the existence of his fourth wife? Factual answers only please.”

This is wron

I can tell you the person I learned about the strategy from was teaching her child this way to prevent or mitigate sexual abuse. She spends every work day protecting kids who’ve been sexually abused. She wants to protect her kid the best she can. This is one of the things she does. It’s not the only thing but it’s one of them. I asked about other motivations. Much of what I’ve read about this states or implies either that it is to mitigate the risk of sexual abuse. If other people are motivated by other things, great, share those things with me. Then let me know whether it works to accomplish those things.

I think different people may be teaching different things and different kids might be learning different things. One of the prompts for this story was my friend sharing an anecdote that was, for her, simultaneously funny and heartbreaking. She was with her kid at the doctor who had to get a vaccination, The kid was scared and refused to cooperate, saying “you don’t have my permission to touch me.” That is exactly what the child was told to say to perserve bodily autonomy. And my friend was simultaneously proud and crushed because the kid really didn’t have that autonomy. The kid needed the shot. What was the lesson to come out of that?

I asked about and am curious about other effects. I would like more than speculation about that.

Perfect. Point me to those studies.

No, I was asking if this particular parenting strategy was based on empirical evidence.

It was FQ. Point to something other than “I think this is a positive effect.” Or, only marginally better, “this person in the news thinks there is a positive effect but offers no evidence.”

If we can’t ask for evidence in FQ any more, the usefulness of this place to me is dropping dramatically and my interest in contributing to it is dropping faster.

Actual OP:

So no, “pointing out that there could be positive effects” is exactly what wasn’t asked for.

And they contain no “should”. Some people advocate a method to protect children. That’s a fact. Lots of child rearing advice is not backed by science. Also true. That doesn’t make it wrong. And asking whether the research exists suggests nothing about whether a method should be followed.

Then why did you seek to shut down any responses that sought to answer that question in an informative manner that did not grant the premise that it should only be based on empirical evidence, or that questioned whether it was reasonable for practical reasons to expect such evidence?

And why include commentary expressing your own opinions about how other parenting strategies were shitty because they were not based on empirical evidence?

The way your OP read to me (and others) was clear: parenting strategies should be based on empirical evidence, in this case specifically abuse statistics; and if nobody can cite any such empirical evidence in this thread, we are invited to draw the conclusion that this trendy parenting strategy was just pulled out of the air and has no justification.

Then ask for factual information in a neutral manner. Don’t load your request with our own opinions and assumptions and then attempt to shut down any challenge to those assumptions “because this is FQ”.