I have seen this Question asked here: Why are you on the internet while you could be outside enjoying the weather

It is closed as being of Topic. Most likely this is due to the notion of the community that this question is offensive, trolling or spam.

But how are we supposed to know the actual intend of the question?

If we are unsure about the intend, how can we decide if it's off Topic and close this question?

Was there feedback provided to the Enquirer which explains to him why we see this topic as off topic?

Couldn't it be that he lost or is in the process of losing a good friend due to anxiety or depression, because this friend spent most of his time in the internet?

Wouldn't it be possible that he is desperately looking for help and support to understand why the thing he has seen is happening?

Couldn't it be that he sees to be outside to be the best approach to fight Anxiety and Depression?

Couldn't it be that the Enquirer is just trying to help us to not fall into the same traps as his friend did?

Shouldn't we always assume that there is a good intend in the question and answer it to our best ability?

I feel like we should have at least left a comment that we need more background information on why he is asking this question before even consider closing it.

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  • Maybe this is more of a Meta question. Or even a Meta - Meta question. – user44636 Mar 9 at 15:53
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    Despite the "intention", the question is really about "philosophy of language"; see Provate Language. The issue is that we do not know: the only thing we know is the statement written/uttered and its "face value". – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Mar 9 at 16:14
  • Thank you for suggesting that link. I haven't read that before and it actually supports my thoughts that i can not know the actual intend of someones statements or actions. But the way on how we can have a better understanding of this intend is actually pretty simple. – user44636 Mar 9 at 16:25
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    1. This should be on meta. 2. Good intent does not make a question good or on-topic. – Eliran Mar 9 at 20:38
  • Completely agree with your second point. But as SE is interested in good Q/A Pairs we should not assume bad intend and close or even downvote the question based on that. Instead we should assume good intend and ask to improve the Question or Answer to be good and on-topic. – user44636 Mar 9 at 20:46
  • Which confirms my thought that this question is a Meta - Meta (SE Meta) question. But they do not understand my intend because i am a newcomer and the data we (Me and Meta SE) gathered is percived to be too far away for my thought to be possibly correct. – user44636 Mar 9 at 20:49
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    If the "intent" does not come through in the post that already is grounds for closing it ("lacks details or clarity"). In the end, the "intent" is moot, only what is posted. There is also limited point to waiting with closing and downvotes until the post is clarified, as they are exactly the means to induce such corrections. However, we typically do make allowances for new users when the post is remotely palatable, but this one was not. And yes, this question is for Meta. – Conifold Mar 9 at 22:25
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    All StackExchange network, including Philosophy, is intended as Q&A sites. This means that posts should, first of all, be questions. The post you've referenced is not a question. It might be a health advice, at best. It also has no relation to philosophy. How can any intent on part of the author turn a non-question with no relation to philosophy into a question related to philosophy? – IMil Mar 10 at 4:38
  • I will rephase this question in a different way and ask again. There is misunderstanding as of the intent and the meaning of my question, as well as my answer. – user44636 Mar 10 at 21:35

You can not know the intent of a sentence or action you recevice!

To understand this you have to understand the Dual Process Theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory

Read Daniel Kahnemans book "Thinking fast and slow"

Key concepts in it are:

  • There are two Systems (System 1 and System 2) thinking in "parallel"
  • System 1 is very fast and not visible to you
  • System 2 is what you can "hear" in your head when thinking, it is extremely slow
  • System 1 bases it's thoughts on a lot of data you have gathered throughout your entire live.
  • System 1 provides you with hearable thoughts (System 2) or even feelings.
  • System 1 is basically your intuition

So why can you not know the intent of a Sentence or action?

  • Almost all of your own toughts, feelings and actions are based on intuition
  • As a majority of thoughts is happening in System 1 (which is intuition) they are not visible to you
  • As System 1 is reflecting based on it's gathered Data, your Intuition will tell you which Intent is most likely
  • The System 1 of the writing, speaking or acting party has a completely different set of data (he is not you after all), this means his intuitive intent can be completely different
  • The likelyhood that the percieved and meant intent are vastly different is increasing the further away those two sets of data are (think of a toddler vs. physics professor)

What can you do to better understand the intent?

  • Always trust in best intend!
  • Try always to think of a reason why a person does, says or writes something which provides at least a little value for him (be it only "This seems like a troll question, i think the TO just want's to have a little fun here)
  • If the Intent you implied is of value for you, ask for feedback if this is the actual intend of his doings
  • If you do not understand his Intend, ask him to explain it to you

For example, the intend for me to ask and then answer this question on my own was to share knowledge. The Value i gained is that i feel good when sharing knowledge. My general perception is that all people feel good when sharing knowledge as long as they trust you.

Trust.... Trust is a topic on it's own. It's an axiom of my own personal interactions and explains all of the things i have encountered in human, business to business or country to country interactions.

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  • Judging someones intent is actually even harder on written conversation. On verbal conversation you can hear the tone and accentuation of someones saying. This helps your System 1 immensely to decide if the intent is good or bad. Keep that in mind when reading things. – user44636 Mar 9 at 22:04

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