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Is there a difference between an unclear question and being unclear as to why you believe something? It's not obviously the same thing; there's a difference between asking if I am a teapot, and not having a good reason to believe I am a teapot. Maybe I've been told that I'm a teapot so many times that I just believe it, and I want reassurance I am.

What's going on that people in academia don't see the difference? They could just say "do you have a handle?".

I'm guessing it's because the question is difficult to answer, so that one can only answer the question by trying to show that my answer has made a mistake. And saying "I don't know" may just make the question seem to be something it is not.

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What is common to both "an unclear question" and "being unclear as to why you believe something" is the lack of clarity. If one resolves that the other distinctions may not matter. Being clear is a challenge that anyone faces who uses language.

Here is part of the question:

What's going on that people in academia don't see the difference?

I assume this is about the people who are currently using this SE. There are two things to be aware of regarding the people who are currently using this SE:

  1. Anyone may ask a question. The person with a question need not be an academic nor a professional.

  2. Anyone may answer a question. The person attempting an answer also need not be an academic nor a professional.

As an example, I am neither an academic nor a professional philosopher. Others may be academics and professionals in the sense that they make an income from doing philosophy.

Here is another concern:

I'm guessing it's because the question is difficult to answer, so that one can only answer the question by trying to show that my answer has made a mistake.

Perhaps this help center link is relevant. Look under the section labeled Get answers to practical, detailed questions: https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/tour

Focus on questions about an actual problem you have faced. Include details about what you have tried and exactly what you are trying to do.

Making the question (or answer) specific aids in clarity whether one is an academic or not.

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