I've asked a few questions recently and am posting the ones with no upvotes and some query in the comments under them about whether they are on topic.

I know it's not usual to post and dissect individual questions, but I need a bit of guidance to improve my posts.




What are some tools for overcoming bias within a participant when engaged in a Socratic debate?

I am starting a degree with a Philosophy major, so am very new to Philosophy.

2 Answers 2


Welcome to the site. :) First of all, thanks for taking an honest effort to try to improve your question-asking here, that's a kind of "meta" cognition we don't see very often in newcomers. :)

Before I address your questions, you should note that we have a steadily growing but still fairly small community of people here; even pretty good questions will max out around 4-6 upvotes and many will still only get a 2-3 while being acceptable questions. The amount varies based on how the question was posed and how interesting the topic is to people. For example, if your question is too long no one wants to read the whole thing, or if it's about some obtuse theory no one really knows much about or cares about, or if it's poorly formatted and difficult to follow... these things will tend to discourage people from upvoting your questions. I'm not saying your questions are like this; these are just some examples of how some questions can get lots of upvotes and others not so many.

In your case, here are the issues:

Does freedom of speech exist?
I'm just confused about this question overall. I do not see any clear logical deductions/reasoning, it seems you are just jumping around in your explanation. All we have left then is to assume you are asking what the question title is asking, and a question like that is off-topic here. Do hummingbirds exist? There's no philosophical question there.

What are some tools for overcoming bias within a participant when engaged in a Socratic debate?
As I wrote, I don't really understand the question. What biases are you talking about? Remember, we are not mind-readers, and we may not all have learned the same stuff you have learned even having taken similar philosophy classes, so you have to be clear to explain every part of your question clearly and define terms you use. This question also appears to be a poll (asking for ideas, tips, "tools") which we discourage here.

How have propaganda techniques refined with an increasingly education and internet?
It's not a philosophy question, it's a history / anthropology / sociology (maybe) question.

Is it true that 'there is nothing new under the sun'?
This question is simply too broad. The major thing that needs to be addressed before the question can be reasonably answered is: What does it mean for something to be "new"? Without that definition, the question simply cannot be answered. Now, we could (as question answerers) simply write an answer describing several possible definitions of "new" and speculate on whether anything could actually be "new" according to each of those definitions, but that's a lot of work for a single question. You should narrow down your questions by defining your terms in advance, and often the very process of making your question clearer to others will lead you to the answer itself. :)

At any rate, your questions are not bad. They just need a little work, that's all. You'll get the hang of it pretty quick, esp. as you study more philosophy. Eventually you'll understand more clearly the subtleties of philosophy questions vs. other types of questions, and know exactly how to phrase them to voice your particular confusion. :)

  • I think thsi Q needs to be migrated. philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/8563/… sorry on chat ban (suspended account tsk tsk) I wanted your feedback as mod, as I can be pretty bossy.. btw my background is medical science, neuroscience, some vet science and cognitive sciences generally.. So I will refrain from asking Qs here for a couple of months, but still visit :)
    – user4638
    Nov 2, 2013 at 6:38
  • I've addressed that question, I think it's fine here. I'm not sure biology.SE would even take the question anyways, it's pretty theoretical. But back to you, don't feel like you can't ask questions; if you have them please ask, and we'll help you improve them as we can so they are better candidates for people to answer. It's not a big deal, this is a volunteer site we all are here to help. :)
    – stoicfury
    Nov 2, 2013 at 9:05
  • I don't think it's suitable for Biology, I think, in it's current format it's on topic for Psychology & Neuroscience. and ty for the welcome.. btw I'm pretty active on cogsci, so have a good idea about the scope there
    – user4638
    Nov 2, 2013 at 9:08

I'm also new to this forum, so take the answer with a grain of salt:

I see two things at work here.

1) Philosophy is one of the oldest and most diverse of all human disciplines, so there is a lot of disagreement and contention within the field about what qualifies as respectable philosophy.

2) Stack exchange in general is optimized for questions with clear, knowable answers. That doesn't always align well with the questions that make for good philosophical discussions.

Personally, I liked most of your questions. If they didn't get up votes it may be that they aren't good fits for the stack exchange format, not that they aren't legitimate philosophical concerns.

  • I wanted to let you know I appreciated this and +1
    – user4638
    Nov 2, 2013 at 6:39
  • Both points are true, but particularly we don't want people to just post open-ended questions with no real answer or to start "discussions". We have to stick to the philosophy of Stack Exchange and how they want this site run for the most part, and that's a Q&A site, not a forum. :\ Philosophy does indeed have it a bit harder than the other topics here, but it's not impossible and this stack is not without use. It's just typically harder to those new to philosophy or asking targeted questions) to learn how to pose things well. It's an art, really (so to speak).
    – stoicfury
    Nov 2, 2013 at 9:08

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