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Summer is a slow season for us. School is out; people are taking vacations, or doing retreats or sabbaticals... I also think our audience may skew a little younger over summer.

We catch a lot of flack for our justified insistence on "gravity" (motivation of philosophical interest and importance of questions, contextualized with specific texts.)

What if, just for a few weeks or so during the summer, this restriction on seriousness is lifted, at least for some appropriately-tagged subset of questions?

I'd welcome examples of "silly season" questions if you think this might be engaging, as well as arguments for and against the proposal.

I submit that even silly questions can have pedagogical value, especially when clearly differentiated by tags and maybe a notice at the top of the post.

Please share your thoughts below on instituting a brief silly season for Philosophy SE!

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    This could be tied to a "topic of the month/week/whatever" idea that was done a while back. I think aesthetics was the topic, and that hasn't been tried again. – Dave Jun 13 '16 at 0:29
  • I think its a good idea; a little light humour wouldn't hurt. – Mozibur Ullah Jul 4 '16 at 20:26
  • Agreed whole heartedly – Alexander S King Jul 29 '16 at 19:00
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Mi Yodeya does this with their purim-torah-in-jest tag for a few days each year. Not being Jewish, I cannot say how well said tag is accepted, but as someone who wanders past their SE every now and then, I enjoy their efforts.

One reason I think Purim Torah works so well is that the answers appear to take the questions dead seriously, so the satire comes across beautifully. I think this could be done in philosophy, given the vast corpus of text to work from, but we as a community would have to work to make it fun.

I'd hate to see:

Q: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree.
A: The tree was dead.
Q: Why did the chicken fall out of the tree.
A: It was stapled to the monkey.

That'd be a total waste. However, to see

Q: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree
A: Ayn Rand's Objectivism would suggest the only valid reason for a monkey to fall out of a tree is if doing so is answering the monkey's higher calling. However, this fails to account for the Greek understanding that all trees must eventually die, and a dying tree will obey the natural laws, permitting the monkey to fall whether that is his higher calling or not.

would be fun. It'd be even more fun if someone took more time than I did playing with the idea and wrote up a jesting answer that didn't feel quite as stilted as my work right there.

  • This pretty much nails it. As long as it has a philosophical background, it's fine. I very much enjoyed Monty Python's football game, this video or these comics. And that is because there is some truth in the total exaggeration of the positions. – Philip Klöcking Jul 30 '16 at 11:06

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