Should questions be called "questions" or "confusions" (or "other")?

post by Raemon · 2019-01-22T02:45:01.211Z · score: 17 (6 votes) · LW · GW · 4 comments

This is a question post.

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    25 gbear605
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3 comments

Or, what is the best way to think about "what is a question?" on LW?

The LW Team just had a retreat where we thought through a lot of high level strategy. We have a lot of ideas building off of the "questions" feature.

One thing that struck us is that a lot of early stage research has less to do with formalizable questions, and more to do with noticing anomalies in your current model/paradigm. Something feels off that you can't explain, or there's a concept you don't even understand well enough to ask a coherent question about.

The "question" feature was meant, in part, to reduce the cost of exploring early stage curiosity, but we wondered if it might even be a slightly-too-formalized.

Just like, technically there was nothing stopping you from asking a question as a post (but adding the feature caused a proliferation of questions) there is nothing stopping you from asking an ill-formed question. But, maybe changing the language slightly would better encourage early-stage curiosity.

So, curious:

How would feel if we changed "Ask a question" to "Pose a confusion" or something like that? (The main issue so far is that "pose confusion" is, well, way more confusing since it's a non-standard phrase. Other options include literally saying "Ask question/Pose Confusion" [i.e. both at once, so you get the benefit of the clear-cut "ask question"], or some word other than "pose.")

(Somewhat but not-entirely-jokingly, we also noticed people are hesitant to post "answers" since they sound like you're trying to claim you know what you're talking about. We jokingly considered "Post a deconfusion", or "post a partial answer" as options)

Answers

answer by gbear605 · 2019-01-22T03:57:58.650Z · score: 25 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's important to have the "ask a question" feature keep its name, since a lot of questions aren't necessarily confusion. For example, one might want to expand ones knowledge on a subject. They aren't confused, they're just lacking knowledge.

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comment by shminux · 2019-01-23T03:58:51.283Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe expressing confusions can be another feature of LW2.0

comment by Pattern · 2019-01-22T19:44:07.076Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think it'd be useful if questions could be refined - I've seen a number of questions where the asker's idea of what they wanted to know/how to ask it, changed in response to feedback. Currently, there are "sequences" of posts. A set of ever more refined questions might be useful for similar reasons. (As we only have level 1 questions and people thinking about what level 2 would be based on feedback, in the absence of level 2 question being asked and getting feedback, we probably won't see level 3 questions any time soon.)

comment by Donald Hobson (donald-hobson) · 2019-01-22T09:00:10.438Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, that sounds interesting. I have a bunch of things that I'm confused about.