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Since StackExchange is about asking and answering questions, I came up with this problem : what is the criterion of a valid answer ?

I suppose it is a matter of the type of question you are asking, i.e what type of answer you are looking for.

For example : if you want to know the population of Kenya, you’re looking for something, that I would call a “situation”, and the answer would be the description of this situation. Answering to even such questions might be not as trivial as it seems. There are many ways to describe a given “situation” : is there a good reason to say that “52,1 M people live currently in Kenya” is a better answer than “population of Kenya is 0,67% of the world population” ? Obviously, there isn’t such a thing as a “perfect match”, what makes an answer better than an another is a matter of subjective appreciation; but both answers seem to share a characteristic which makes them “valid answers”. What is this criterion ?

Also, some questions are enounced in such a way that I cannot even figure out what would be a good answer to them. What could be, for example, the criterion of a valid answer to the question “is the world logical ?”, in your opinion ?

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    You are right : 80% of questions on this site ask for opinions. Some ask about "data"/facts : references, etc. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jun 30 at 16:50
  • @FrankHubeny I disagree. This question asks what it is to answer a question generally, not specifically on StackExchange. This is actually a topic in philosophy of language, e.g., plato.stanford.edu/entries/questions – Eliran Jun 30 at 19:48
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    If the post is about questions on SE it belongs on Meta, if it is about questions "in general" it is too broad, I am afraid. There is no meaningful "criterion" that covers HW questions, asking people for reasons or advice, metaphysical questions, etc. Rhetorical questions aim at a response other than an answer altogether. This question exhibits exactly the problem it asks about - it is obscure what sort of answer is expected. – Conifold Jun 30 at 20:50
  • The question is about questions/answers in general. – user21102 Jun 30 at 20:54

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