I wrote a question about the A.C.D.C. lyrics 'who made who ' and many comments where made between other users. I commented on some challenges to my position then one user started debating points ,I responded trying to defend my positions. The user said he wondered why the debating wasn't being moved to the chat room. It seems after editors or moderators make suggestions for changing the original question ( whether the suggestions are constructive and encouraging or just negative) ; if the original author doesn't change or alter the question within some 'time limit' it gets deleted. Is this fair? If the editor (or editors) does not like the question any alterations probably won't work.(I know these comments won't get anywhere because the Stack Exchange policies are not democratic.) Some users have mentioned all the s.e. sites are a meritocracy. I suggest these sites are inefficient and wasteful. If a question and relevant responses are disliked by various editors they will respond in discouraging or non-constructive ways and as a result the questioner will probably respond defending him or herself. Then some editor will respond e.t.c. So it will probably set up a seemingly endless debate ,which waste time and energy even if moved to the chat rooms. This is also wasteful in that people just communicating to defend their OWN points of view is NOT a good learning environment.

  • I noticed with your 'tags'you use you have no tag for 'fairness' or 'debate' or 'open questions' or 'democratic'....
    – 201044
    Aug 16, 2015 at 0:35
  • Can you provide a link? Aug 16, 2015 at 11:58
  • I can not provide a link because the question has been 'wiped out'. Why not ask Cort Amon and get 'his side of the story'?..
    – 201044
    Aug 16, 2015 at 13:01
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    Link for 2K+(?) members: philosophy.stackexchange.com/q/22616/2953 (@JamesKingsbery)
    – user2953
    Aug 16, 2015 at 15:53
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    If you think this site is inefficient and wasteful, what are you still doing here?
    – user2953
    Sep 26, 2015 at 7:47
  • I'm hoping someone possibly outside the exchange sites might read some of my ideas and find them interesting. Does it matter what I think ( some editor-users have already tried to make made me think my opinions do not matter much) ; if the lack of civility with some editor -user dialogs which does promote endless debates with neither side 'saying' the other person may be right --if this does happen then these sites are wasteful as a 'learning experience' and they use up time and energy with the perpetual arguments.
    – 201044
    Sep 28, 2015 at 23:56
  • I'm also trying to promote the idea any information sharing site should not have the slightest amount of condescension even if subtly implied. Any meritocracy-driven sites are not collaborative and lead to endless debates where both sides are defending themselves or are non-compromising.
    – 201044
    Sep 29, 2015 at 21:22
  • @Keelan; I have also invested a lot of time and energy and thought into my writings on these sites ; over many months and I initially thought I might 'get somewhere' promoting my ideas and arguments . It wasn't until recently some users pointed out this is not a democratically driven information sharing website , it is a meritocracy. Where if a submitting isn't liked it get's criticised ( and not necessarily in polite ways) until it's changed or deleted. To give up all my previous efforts would seem like a huge waste of time and effort.
    – 201044
    Oct 2, 2015 at 12:20
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    I am voting to close this question because this is a long rant, not a question, and cannot be reasonably answered.
    – YiFan
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:17

5 Answers 5


Three thoughts on this:

  1. If you're getting into comment wars with people who try to answer your questions, then at least one of the parties is misunderstanding the StackExchange format. Your comment (with part I'm thinking of highlighted) in response to Keelan is revealing about a misunderstanding on this point:

If the question is off topic why did so many users comment on it and debate about it? Only two users set in motion the deletion process. One of them Cort Ammon didn't seem to like replying to my rebuttals. I guess he thought his opinions were correct and I was just some upstart who always wanted to rebut his challenges ...

That the question and its answers inspired so many comments and debate is not necessarily a good thing here. This is because this is not a discussion forum. It's a meritocratic Q&A site where you earn privileges by asking and answering questions.

The purpose of comments on questions or answers is to clarify what someone wrote in the question or answer. It's not meant for debate. If it gets to 30 or 40 comments with most just between two people, something has gone very wrong. If you don't like an answer after clarification, then click the down arrow (assuming you have enough rep). If you like the answer after clarification, click the up arrow or if you feel it explained what you had a question about, click the check to mark it as the answer.

  1. It's easy to misunderstand the purpose of the philosophy.SE. It's not intended to spark discussion. It's also not designed to be an opinion poll. Even though the word "philosophy" is in the title, the kind of thing it is is a SE.

Stack Exchanges are designed for answerable questions. In our case, the purpose is to answer questions related to the academic discipline of philosophy. We do are best to understand "philosophy" broadly, but to make it workable, there always needs to be a question of the sort that is answerable.

  1. My only action related to this question was closing it as off topic. I was not even aware that the Community "user" automatically deleted questions in this manner.

If you have complaints about the SE, then you have two internal options provided by the system: make a discussion on meta or "contact stack exchange" at the bottom of the page. A third Lockean possibility is to not participate here and form your own site devoted to whatever topic you please with whatever democtratic or non-democratic bases you want.

  • c.f. bullets 6,7,8: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5221/…
    – Dave
    Aug 17, 2015 at 16:01
  • Thanks for admitting that this site is a meritocracy and not DEMOCRATIC which is definitely not for any person to ask a question as is advertised. Any novice or amateur or 'wanna-be philosopher should avoid this site which is not an encouraging place for an exchange of ideas.
    – 201044
    Aug 17, 2015 at 22:42
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    Where is it advertised as (1) a place for "any person to ask a question" or (2) a place for exchanging ideas?
    – virmaior
    Aug 17, 2015 at 23:16
  • Peter Mortenson wrote about this in the Meta Stackoverflow; 'What happened to the quality of answers'..He also wrote ( I think) ' they claim to be helpful but they're not..'..Someone also wrote on the stack overflow; ' Stack overflow technology makes me write bad answer. I think to avoid long discussions and questioners continuing to respond even when some editor thinks they have sufficiently dealt with a question is editor etiquette. Criticize if it is merited but let it not be personal in any way or even sound personal. Constructive criticism is great !
    – 201044
    Sep 2, 2015 at 11:25
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    I don't at all follow that comment. Specifically, you're going to have to frame the quotes better for me to have any idea what you take it to mean. Also not sure where the second quote ends. It'd be easier if we had a link. On a first reading of just your comment, I cannot fathom how it has anything to do with this thread.
    – virmaior
    Sep 2, 2015 at 11:28
  • Also any criticism should not sound like a challenge to a person's intelligence or abilities. Apologizing isn't necessary if any criticism is constructive and not sounding personal. If your s.e. sites follow this there would be less perpetual -sounding debates.
    – 201044
    Sep 2, 2015 at 11:31
  • 1
    Maybe a link to the meta.se post would help? I'm not connecting the dots here.
    – virmaior
    Sep 2, 2015 at 13:16
  • This is the Philosophy meta site , where users can bring up points or problems for discussion. If the Philosophy s.e. site is just for answering what questions are deemed 'answerable' and not for debates then editors should , if they decide to respond to something that is poorly written , they should do so in a constructive fashion. If they don't want to do that just delete the question or flag as something that should be rewritten. That is if they want to avoid endless discussions.
    – 201044
    Oct 9, 2015 at 20:44
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    Philosophy.SE is a beta site which in part means how it works is still evolving. Ideally, I agree that questions which do not fit on philosophy.SE (which involves a mixture of objective rules about what makes a question fit here and some subjective judgment calls grounded in an idea of the site) would be closed with a link to a post explaining the relevant reasons. This will never happen perfectly. At some point, though, discussion comes to an end, which I thought happened a few months ago with respect to your question.
    – virmaior
    Oct 10, 2015 at 6:09
  • @virmaior; I noticed when on goes to a stack exchange site and before one logs in there is a definite statement at the top , 'Anyone can ask a question'..
    – 201044
    Oct 25, 2015 at 3:32
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    It is the true that "anyone can ask a question", but that doesn't mean every question fits the site. The same thing shows up at all of them, but this doesn't mean you should ask philosophy questions on the Japanese SE or academia-related questions on English SE.
    – virmaior
    Oct 25, 2015 at 3:33
  • virmaior said on Aug. 17 at 23:16 , 'Where is it advertised as a place for any person to ask a question?' then says what is above. The phase anyone can ask a question is indeed on all the sites. And that is my point , these sites should not advertise in any way they are open to anybody and their questions. If these are to be an efficient question and 'final-answer' websites.
    – 201044
    Dec 6, 2015 at 6:32

The A.C.D.C song 'Who made who?' ; a definite philosophical question in a hard rock song. A common proposition is 'If the 'creator exists who created the creator ?' I think this is problematic for one particular reason; if a person does not believe in any deities or the supernatural then how can the person 'set-up' such an argument ( while ignoring any possible relevant logical results of such an argument). If one defines partly a 'Creator' as a 'being' that made ALL things that exist or ever could exist or ever will exist then to say this 'creator' was made by something else (where this 'something else' existed without the 'creator' existing at the same time) as the 'something else' was 'about to 'make' the 'creator' seems illogical. The statement 'who created the creator' wouldn't work. If a Creator of all things exists it logically could not be created by some thing 'else'. Does this sound reasonable?

Was the original question. It was closed as off topic on August 5 by Cort Ammon and Virmaior, with the comment:

Questions that push a personal philosophy with no question beyond "am I right" or "what do you think" are off-topic here as this is not a blog. It's ok to express unique opinions, but you must have an actual, answerable question to go with them.

Since no effort was made after that to improve the question (no edit, for example), and the question nor its answers had a positive score, the question was automatically deleted by the system.

Now, the question itself has 35 comments, Cort Ammon's answer has 48. That's way too much. You should have gotten the request from the system to automatically move this discussion to chat and you should have done that (looking at both you and Cort Ammon here). Now, since you didn't do that you lost everything.

I would suggest the following course of operation:

  • We undelete the question.
  • You or a moderator moves the comments to chat.
  • We redelete the question, because of the problem mentioned above.
  • You continue your discussion in chat, which is more suitable for this kind of conversation.

Currently there are 2 votes (one of them mine) to undelete your question. When the counter reaches 5 (or when a moderator passes by) your question will be undeleted.

Again, if you would have taken care of this yourself there would've been there problem. Also,

  • Virmaior did not delete your post, the system did.
  • Closing a question does not prevent comments, only answers.
  • SE policies are indeed not democratic.
  • 1
    @201044 this is how I know. Diamond operators do not hold privileges to control the Community user.
    – user2953
    Aug 16, 2015 at 16:40
  • I know my comments won't get anywhere here as you said the policies of the s.e. sites are not democratic. This seems to be what an elitist intellectual site might do ,not one open to comment by ANYONE as you people advertise.
    – 201044
    Aug 16, 2015 at 16:50
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    @201044 I don't see the "many users commenting". Many of the comments are by you. Others are by Cort Ammon. Others are mostly from users who are not very active here and/or don't know the system very well. Again, Cort Ammon and Virmaior did not start any "deletion process". They closed the question (not disabling comments), it was automatically deleted. Also, why would anyone want to ensure to have the last words in an internet debate which isn't likely to be read by anyone else? You're being paranoid.
    – user2953
    Aug 16, 2015 at 16:55
  • 1
    @201044 I guess I don't really see what problem you're trying to discuss. It's a pity your discussion was removed, but if you would have just followed the link to move your discussion to chat, you would not have this problem. So it's really kind of your fault. You aren't seriously suggesting that Cort Ammon and Virmaior closed your question so that it would be automatically deleted in 9 days and he could "win" the argument? That's, if I may be frank, insane.
    – user2953
    Aug 16, 2015 at 21:09
  • I have said many times I don't like the chatroom. I'm trying to discuss possible unfair practices at these sites and why the policies as you mentioned are not democratic with MANY USERS if possible not just one.
    – 201044
    Aug 17, 2015 at 0:38
  • 3
    @201044 you may not like the chatroom. Suppose I don't like to drive safely. When I get an accident I don't start complaining, especially since there were warning signs all along the way. I really don't see the unfair practises, nor your proposed solution. And again: you are right, the process is not democratic. And why should it be?
    – user2953
    Aug 17, 2015 at 7:35
  • I'm not complaining, I'm just never going to use you're chatroom.
    – 201044
    Aug 17, 2015 at 22:47
  • 2
    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – user2953
    Aug 17, 2015 at 22:59
  • Why would I discuss in the chatroom how I'm never going to use the chatroom??
    – 201044
    Aug 17, 2015 at 23:02

I don't see a specific problem with using rock lyrics or material from any other art form - poetry or film - to help form a question; I tend to think of it as an element of style (though there are other angles).

But there needs to be a philosophical question and intent in the question; and not be a question that will prompt discussion, debate or comment-wars; and in these cases it's best to tie it in with some standard recognisable or canonical text.

One problem is that lyrics from songs that take philosophical questions as their subject take a broad and general view; its this that makes it difficult to answer.

Even when there is a specific philosophical question, it can still go wrong, if the entire question isn't clear and focused.

For example, in one question I asked about the nature of time I used an aphorism by Heraclitus to lead into it; but this confused the community into thinking the question was about Heraclitus.

On reflection I felt I could have written it better.

  • this is clear and to the point. i posted a long question on a poem but ostensibly about wittgenstein. it got downvoted, and i still don't know if the question itself (rather than the gumpf) was a good one
    – user6917
    Oct 5, 2015 at 20:39

A few hopefully useful comments from someone who was not particularly involved:

  1. Questions of the format: "Here's some of my ideas, do they seem right?" are generally not well received. There is a reason for this: it has been observed that Internet posts of that format tend to lead to endless discussions, flamewars, etc. However, you can ask almost exactly the same question and it can be much less contentious, eg "How does group X respond/defend assertion Y?" Questions of that format are less contentious because one can provide a specific example or reference.

  2. Lots of people have made observations similar to the one raised in the OP about how exactly a first creator would work. However, in ACDC songs, the Matrix, or whatever other popular culture work these ideas are generally not as well developed. It is often more useful to refer to a source that raises the same question that is more developed.

  3. Generally, if someone leaves a comment (on Philosophy.SE or other StackExchange sites), the goal is to get the original author to edit the post, not start a long discussion.

  • I have never liked getting into long discussion because on these site it has always been to defend myself after some user says some very discouraging responses to some post or comment I made and I then felt I had to respond to the negative challenge , that's the only reason I would respond. Fortunately I have had some encouraging responses.
    – 201044
    Aug 17, 2015 at 22:53
  • The thing is shouldn't philosophers or those who are good at promoting sound philosophies be concerned about this whole 'media world' of vague and unusual and unsound philosophical concepts that are promoted in modern music , books or movies? There are many rock song with lyrics that criticize ideas to do with religion or the after-life or any type of 'authority figures' ; the same with many movies. Obviously young fans of modern music are more likely to listen to the vague songs than reading about the actual philosophical ideas involved.
    – 201044
    Oct 9, 2015 at 20:26

On this site you don't really need to provide references or an answer that is as clear as possibly can be:

  • you have to convince the users not to downvote you by spoon feeding them anything unusual.

That way they can ignore you.

Once you both know and adapt to that, you will enjoy the site a lot more.

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