So, I asked a question about homosexuality, was it an illness, and was a tiny bit annoyed to receive three comments and an answer saying only that it was just because psychologists said it was.

I think this highlights a recurring problem I've had on stackexchange, where people are so eager to reply (compounded here by the nature of the question) that they just state the obvious rather than provide any kind of answer (compounded here by the nature of philosophy).

A bit like someone asking "why is the sky blue" and four people jumping up and down saying it's "becasue of light".

I was a bit annoyed that the question was closed, I think this demonstartes (again) a lack of familiarity on the scope of philosophy, which includes the nature of psychological terms like "illness".

Incidentally, this is a bit dicussion based, but I have no-one interested in my (pseudo) intellectualism, anywhere, so end up having to ask questions here.

  • and i did add the tag "constructivism" which is a bit like asking "why is the sky blue -- diffuse sky radiation" – user28117 Aug 8 '17 at 6:13
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    I presume you are talking about philosophy.stackexchange.com/q/45205/2953, but that was asked by a different user. If you are the same, you should ask the community team to merge the accounts through the contact us link at the bottom of the page. – user2953 Aug 8 '17 at 7:36
  • As for that question, you have not made it clear how it is about philosophy as defined in the help center. Also, if you ask a one-line question, don't expect elaborate answers. See How to Ask. – user2953 Aug 8 '17 at 7:38
  • @Keelan yes that is correct. i asked a few questions this morning, which didn't show up. it doesn't bother me... – user28117 Aug 8 '17 at 7:39
  • @Keelan oh ok. that's interesting. don't expect elaborate answers is all i need to know. i should quit – user28117 Aug 8 '17 at 7:39
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    There are many people here ready to give elaborate answers but that's only possible on elaborate questions which show your level of understanding, highlight the exact problem and show some background research. Again, I strongly recommend you to read How to Ask. – user2953 Aug 8 '17 at 7:41
  • @Keelan hm, well i don't find that as helpful. i mean obviously imho i knew that homosexuality was listed as a mental illness, or the question would be weird. seems wrong to list what i know about constructivism, in a question – user28117 Aug 8 '17 at 7:42
  • In regards to the specific question you posted I have 2 points: 1) you phrased the question "Was homosexuality a mental illness?" I honestly do not know what you mean by the question, I have several ideas of what you could mean but I do not know which one you mean specifically. "Was homosexuality a mental illness?" When are you asking about? In the past? All of the past or a specific period of time? I went with interpreting that you meant "is" because the entire body of the text gave no contextual clues as to when it is that you are asking about but "is" seemed to contextually make sense. – Not_Here Aug 9 '17 at 3:40
  • And to that extent I agree with Keelan that if you are going to ask short and broad questions you’ll get short and broad answers. That doesn’t at all mean stop asking questions, it means ask more detailed and specific questions. 2) My comment was not a short “because psychologists say it is”. I did say “it’s not in the DSM” but I also linked to a long article talking about the history of homosexuality in the SEP. I didn’t feel like summarizing what the article had to say, that’s why I left it as a comment, but that article is more than “psychologists say it is”. The article explains why. – Not_Here Aug 9 '17 at 3:40
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    But finally, I disagree with the idea that it was closed due to a lack of familiarity. It was closed because it was broad and confusing (again, when as you asking about?) The question is a psychological question, mental illness is now within the realm of science, it is not a completely philosophical issue, so answers like "the field of psychology has data that says x" is an answer to the question even if its not what you wanted to hear. But even if you asked (which you didn't) specifically for only a philosophical view, what was wrong with the SEP article? Did you read it? – Not_Here Aug 9 '17 at 3:44

I think there are three aspects that are important here:

First, regarding the original question and how it is asked. You plainly asked whether it was a mental illness. This has been answered and the question was correctly closed, as this question by itself is not on philosophy. If you expected answers with a different scope, e.g. that there "obviously" has been a change in the understanding of homosexuality and the implications for the reality/plausibility of constructivism, you should have written that in the body of the question.

You cannot expect us to guess your level of understanding, needs, and framework. It is your task to make it clear.

Second, the whole spirit of this meta question (and comments above) is inappropriate imho. You basically failed to make yourself clear and build bridges, and now you are implicitly belittling the intellect of every single individual active on that site because they were "too stupid" to get what you were looking for. Alas, nothing is "obvious", as we have a wide range of users with very different levels of knowledge and understanding. The reactions were perfectly appropriate to the information given.

Again, it is not everyone other's fault. The written medium is very reductionistic and lots of information available in direct conversation is unavailable, therefore you have to include every important bit of information explicitly.

Third, because of the format of this site, it would be wrong to expect users to answer with highly philosophical answers (whatever this means). A good answer is based on publicly accessible sources, pointing out the relevant philosophical or factual content that is important for the question. They have to be correctly answering the question as asked, nothing more or less. One of the highest voted questions and answers in Meta are to be found here, reflecting this and trying to prevent misconceptions about what is to be expected here.

Before anything else this is a StackExchange website on the field of philosophy, providing correct, sourced, and concise answers to questions arising within the field of philosophy, rather than philosophy within the frame of StackExchange.

  • it is a philosophical question, so while i appreciate your attempt to "build bridges", and i really do apologise for being rude, we got nowhere, and i'm still frustrated – user28117 Aug 11 '17 at 13:38
  • you may notice that the philosophy of mental illness a thing, which includes discussion of how to define it, ergo if homosexuality is, among other reasons for the question being on-topic. anyway, people are wrong sometimes, i guess it's fine – user28117 Aug 11 '17 at 13:40
  • @User3293056: I am very aware that the definition of psychological pathology is a heavily discussed topic. That is out of the question. But if you wanted to ask about philosophical reasonings on this in general and homosexuality in particular, you should simply have done that in a manner obvious for everyone, not only to yourself. It is clear that you know what you ask for. Frankly, you could still edit the question accordingly! – Philip Klöcking Aug 11 '17 at 13:51
  • I also think its relevant that the first sentence in the IEP article says "The Philosophy of Mental Illness is an interdisciplinary field of study that combines views and methods from the philosophy of mind, psychology, neuroscience, and moral philosophy in order to analyze the nature of mental illness." which explicitly says that it's interdisciplinary and not entirely a subject of only philosophy, which again reinforces the idea that a purely philosophical answer to the question isn't the default position. I also agree that editing the question for clarity is still a valid option. – Not_Here Aug 11 '17 at 22:11
  • @Not_Here thanks, that is a valuable point. i urge forgiveness haha – user28117 Aug 12 '17 at 19:37
  • @PhilipKlöcking i don't understand what you mean. If I ask whether homosexuality is a mental illness, on a philosophy site, then trivially I am asking the philosophical reasons for defining it as a mental illness. – user28117 Aug 13 '17 at 4:41

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