Why is replying to a question with a question perceived as offensive somehow?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by wynn, May 7, 2011.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Why is replying to a question with a question perceived as offensive somehow?

    This is a phenomenon that keeps coming up here in discussions:

    Someone asks something, the other poster replies with a counterquestion, and the first poster replies with something like "I see you're not interested in discussion," "First answer my question" or some other expression of dissatisfaction.
    This can happen even if one explains why one is asking a question in reply to a question.

    Why is that?
    Why not presume that the person has a good reason for asking a question in reply to a question?
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

    Why not answer the question first, then ask a question of your own?
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    There can easily be more than even one reason to answer with a question. The original question may not be clear enough or more information may be needed before once can answer directly. Surely you've noticed that we've got *many* people here who simply aren't very articulate?
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I think it's more polite, it's soliciting information from someone rather than lecturing to them.
  8. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    What better way of misdirecting from the point than by asking another question?

    I'd gather some would see it rude if a question wasn't answered but actually used to dance around the issue and perhaps point a finger of fault back at the person asking the question.
  9. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Answering a question with a question can done for many reasons. Here are four different examples of reasons.

    For example, if someone asked do you like Joe, they may want a yes or no answer. You may ask, why do you ask? In this scenario, one might try to figure out what their intent is for asking that question, since in the world of gossip it might be used against you.

    Someone might asked a question like, did you see the bird fly by. Since you are not sure which bird they are refering to, you may ask, which bird are you talking about? The red bird with the black tip on its wings. Yes I saw it. One needs more information before giving an answer.

    Another might be the insecure wife who asks here husband if he thinks she looks trim in her new dress. He may ask, wow have you been working out? He avoids a direct answer, while appearing to give her the flattering answer she wants by means of a question? She will fill in the blanks.

    There may also be the parent who asks their child if he is smoking. The child may not want answer directly to avoid a long winded lecture. So he may ask, why don't you trust me? The goal is to distract and change the direction of the conversation since a direct answer would put them on the defensive.

    Some people want more information. Some are trying to be nice. Some are avoiding being cornered into a subjective social standard. While others are avoiding an answer that they don't wish to admit.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Kindness to Stupidity, That's Why

    There are two parts to the transaction. You've named one of them. But the other thing is that, at least in American culture, the other half is important, too.

    It might be, for instance, that the question one asks in response to a question is, "Really?"

    That is, in our politics, whether personal around home and office or on the national stange, the rudeness of replying with a question is a shield to hide behind.

    I might ask you something absurd, like why you're a baby-raping Nazi.

    If you reply with the question of who says you're a baby-raping Nazi, you're being rude.

    If you reply with the question of what such hyperbole expects to accomplish, you're being rude.

    If you point out that you're not a baby-raping Nazi, then you're calling me a liar, and being rude.

    That is, we say insane things from behind the shield of obligations assigned to the other person.

    The only proper response you could make would be to explain exactly why you're a baby-raping Nazi, and since you're a baby-raping Nazi, there really is no excuse for being a baby-raping Nazi, so there's just no point in dealing with you.

    That's the other half of the transaction.

    Sure, there are plenty of conversational forms that don't require such posturing, but those have fallen out of vogue, at least in my corner of the Universe.

    But even setting aside that potentially extreme suggestion of an answer, the reality is that people don't like to think, so if you answer a question with another question intended to illustrate the answer, you're simply being obtuse, and fuck you for making things so complicated.

    People just need to be offended. At least, that's the nearest I can figure.
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  11. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    Are you saying that if I ask a question to a question it is offensive ? I had know Idea that if I am asking you if this is offensive that I am asking you if this is offensive that it becomes offensive just by Me asking the question is this Offensive ? Are you offended? Can you tell Me why you are Offended ? F---ck Can you listen up , open the ear and hear ? Are you Offended ?

    I like it when people ask a question to my question . It forces my brain to think!
    That is just Me though. I don't take offense to it
  12. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    Oh juicy gossip Styder is a Baby Raping Nazi . I gots to spread the news
  13. Ellie Banned Banned

    I dont think during the course of normal conversation, even formal, with people who are not hostile that it is viewed as offensive.

    Like someone said, sometimes a question is warranted, but then to do it incessantly is just being a pain and argumentative. I am not aware of any rules that you cannot reply at all with a question.
  14. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    I always answer questions posed because this is a discussion forum. The poser wishes me to answer from what I think, not for me to ask as question back of what they think in lieu of answering what I think.
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  15. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    That's fine for you SAY ("always") but I doubt if it's the whole truth. Because I've seen so many muddled questions here that. in order to give a meaningful answer, you MUST first ask them what they are talking about.
  16. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    because ppl always call BS when they don't understand my answer,
    so it is just easier to lead them to their answer by asking questions that lead to their answer.

    Why do you want to know? (rhetorical)
  17. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    Socrates! You have returned!

    The prophesies are being fulfilled...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Edit: Huh?
  18. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    Or perhaps if you have stopped beating your wife yet.
  19. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    i was wondering about that..

    do you understand what i was 'trying' to communicate?
    do you know some understandings require other understandings? (gotta crawl before you can walk..)

    if a person is smart enough they can think of more than one way to answer a question.
    some ppl do not understand if it sounds scripted,(see 'have you heard about jesus?')
    and then there is :you would present yourself as an authority on any answer you would give,
    Last but not least..
    there is the worthiness thing...
    our desire to be worth something,
    we get worth by answering questions, as that assumes a knowledge base we may or may not have (how/why do we know what we know) that the other person does not have.
    answering questions has a positive reward on our state of being (just after we answer and just before we find out we are wrong)
    some ppl understand this and deflects the worthiness by leading the asker to his own conclusions rather than the asker relying on just his word.(but isn't there more worth in teaching, than telling?)
    (doesn't science do this alot?)

    isn't this more of a 'think for yourself' concept?
    to directly give an answer would be akin to 'do as your told'

    so according to a squirrel it boils down to 'do as your told' vs 'think for your self' OR 'teaching' vs 'preaching'
  20. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    What, exactly, were you wondering about, since you failed to specify, and I'd hate to misinterpret you?


    Yes, I am aware of this. Is this a relatively new revelation for you?

    Truisms are wonderful little artifacts, aren't they? Especially if such is actually understood by the recipient...

    No, no, they don't. OTH, they don't understand if "it" doesn't sound scripted either, right?

    YES!!!! I've heard the good news! May it spread far and wide within your sphere of influence.

    Well, if I was to present someone else as an authority on a given subject, that presumably would mean that I had interacted with said authority on some level, so, therefore, I would be presenting such knowledge on behalf of said authority, so I guess I would be presenting myself as an authority...

    Hmmm - Loop: See endless loop.


    This would be a counterexample.

    Please do learn to properly embed quotes and / or indent paragraphs. I feel as if I was denied an epiphany just now, simply because of improper sentence structure.

    Ahh, the everlasting answer to the biblical paradox.

    But hail to thou, who unbeknownst to thyself, already possesses all answers - for ye possess all questions!

    Oh, my. Multiple choice.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I pick 42....

    Now that you've fed me some salad, could we maybe have something with a little substance?


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    P.S. - Say hi to your daughter for me 'k?
  21. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    My husband responds to every question I ask him with the answer and then "why?" . annoying as hell. I don't even think he knows he does it.
  22. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

    For real?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Hehe, Cifo, well-spotted!

Share This Page