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

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”.

Don’t tell others what they can and cannot post. You are not a moderator.

Come on, I am obviously expressing my opinion about what a poster should do. Do I really need to make that disclaimer every time I say anything in the forum where we discuss moderation?

It sounds like the only response that would have fit in with the constraints by the OP in a factual manner would have been, “No.” or no responses at all.

But, really the problem comes from the fact that the OP asked a question that didn’t have an FQ answer, and it really should have been in IMHO, especially as they put their opinions into it into the first place. They did not merely ask for studies, they also said why they thought that these studies are important, and drew some preliminary conclusions about what they could imply.

IMHO, mods should have closed the thread, and asked if the OP would like it reopened in IMHO, as it did not belong in FQ, as there was no possible useful FQ answer to give, especially given the opinions already expressed by the OP.

No. The OP was looking for scientific cites. And ONLY for scientific cites. While the OP did give opinions on the premise, it was also made very clear that this particular thread was not for discussion of that premise.

A scientific cite that disproved the premise was acceptable according to the OP.

Simply arguing the premise (either for or against) was completely off-topic.

If you disagree with the premise, tough noogies. Feel free to start your own thread to discuss it. Or you can Pit it it you’d like. But you don’t get to change the topic just because you don’t like it.

The OP clearly did not want to discuss opinions about the premise. That leaves only the factual question that was asked. Moving the thread to IMHO changes the topic completely. While the OP does not get to control a thread that they start, they do get to choose the topic.

While several people disagreed with the premise, not one of those people posted anything even close to a scientific cite to disprove the premise. Instead, they just argued with the premise, which was specifically called out as off-topic in the OP.

Seems to me that people, me included, shared what those things are. This isn’t that thread; this is ATMB. It appears to me that the question being raised in ATMB is whether and in what fashion we could properly, in FQ, either “share those things” and/or discuss what it would take to show “whether it works to accomplish those things”.

Since you’ve stated in the original thread that you won’t be returning there, I don’t see any sense in trying to discuss it with you further there. And I’m not going to try to do so in ATMB.

What was asked for was whether the technique worked. Worked in general, not worked for one specific part of its purpose.

If somebody posted “I want to know whether the strategy of vaccination against covid-19 works. Find for me studies showing whether or not vaccination against covid-19 always prevents infection”, would it be out of line to say that although there are no studies saying that such vaccination always prevents infection the strategy of getting vaccinated nevertheless works?

You are still demonstrating that you just don’t get the issue at all, because you are still using the word “premise” to refer to the wrong thing.

The OP asked for evidence in support of a parenting strategy. The parenting strategy itself is not the “premise” that is in dispute. The unjustified premise was the assumption embedded in the OP that this parenting strategy should be justified by empirical evidence, specifically evidence on rates of abuse. The way OP was framed, if no cites were forthcoming it obviously invited the reader to draw the conclusion that this parenting strategy had no valid foundation.

It was important to challenge this premise, because that invited conclusion is not warranted. The absence of evidence may or may not be evidence of something, and understanding that requires context.

Right they were looking for a scientific cite that could not exist.

Where I’m from, that’s called poisoning the well.

That would also be something that does not exist.

And you can be a bit less personal on this, as you can clearly see, I did none of what you are implying I did by saying I shouldn’t.

Which they made clear by expressing their opinions on it.

Which had no answer. No way to be answered. There was no single thing that anyone could have said that would have satisfied the OP.

This is untrue, as it was also explained why such a study would be impractical, unethical, and any results would be inconclusive. That, too, was rejected by the OP.

It was a bad OP for FQ, and posters tried to do the best with it they could have. It was their fault, I suppose, for trying to be helpful, when what the OP deserved was to be completely unanswered.

Agree completely with this. That’s why I left the thread alone when I saw it, after that first modnote.

To speak further to your misconception of what “premise” refers to, perhaps another *reductio ad absurdum:

FQ OP: I have read that the way the brain processes visual information can be complex and counterintuitive. So I’m wondering if the sky is really blue. Are there any scientific studies that have gathered air samples and attempted to detect blue pigmentation molecules?

Here, “the sky is blue” is the thing under consideration, analogous to “teaching kids bodily autonomy”. That itself is not what we’re talking about when we say the OP is loaded with a dubious premise. The problematic premise is obviously the embedded assumption that evidence of pigmentation molecules is relevant to whether the sky is blue. To answer this question solely with evidence about the pigmentation content of the air (or the absence of studies on this) would obviously not be appropriate or adequate.

And that’s the problem. Challenging the premise is an integral part of answering factual questions. If the premise contains factual inaccuracies, you cannot give a valid fact-based answer without challenging that premise.

Allowing the OP to declare those off-topic makes it where they can (intentionally or not) post misinformation that cannot be challenged. In this case, the misinformation is the idea that (1) we teach consent for hugs to prevent abuse and (2) that a lack of studies would mean the experts are wrong.

Even if a post only asked for studies, it would be on topic to explain why there aren’t any studies. The OP should not be able to declare that off-topic, any more than they could say that posts that disagree with them are off topic.

As per above, a simple google search demonstrates that people teach consent for hugs to prevent abuse.

They also teach for other reasons. That is irrelevant.

This isn’t part of the OP in question.

Thus, there was no misinformation to challenge.