Jimmy Strobl

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Is it okay to ask a question that you already have the answer to?

Many times I've thought that there are a lot of questions that aren't being asked here on TED.
I'm talking about questions that are answered on say different Youtube channels that score viewings in the millions, questions that people in general obviously want answered but perhaps haven't thought of asking those questions.

Would it be right to ask those questions yourself in a conversation even though you've just learned the answer?

You could always post it as in idea or debate. But what if it's not an "idea" simply a very interesting and useful fact? And what if it's not debatable, how would you then post it?

I often Google stuff before asking a question on TED and after that I usually have no reason to post a conversation about it since I know. But the information isn't shared then, it's a problem I think.

Here are some questions that haven't been asked on TED that a lot of people find interesting.

These questions are from Michael Stevens Youtube channel "Vsauce", and his related Talk asks the fundamental question "How much does a video weigh?"

Why Do We Feel Nostalgia?
What if You Were Born in Space?
Why Do We Kiss?
How Much Money is There on Earth?
How Big Can a Person Get?
Is Your Red The Same as My Red?
Why Don't We Taxidermy Humans?
What Can You Do Without a Brain?
Why Do We Have Two Nostrils?
What If Everyone Jumped At Once?
What Color Is A Mirror?

Well the list can be made really long, and I just took some of the most popular videos from a single Youtube channel.

So, is it okay to ask a question if you know the answer, but you think that most people don't?
If so, how should that Conversation be structured? A question in the title and explanation in the explanation?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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    Jun 7 2013: sometimes I think I know the answer and I massage it into a conversation, and I find out there a lot of other answers, many ways of looking at the same subject. One of the glories of TED.
  • Jun 6 2013: Teachers do this all the time.
  • Jun 5 2013: I think yes. As an educator, I ask hundreds of questions for which I all ready know the answer. Of course, it is for education purposes with my students.

    As an adult, working with other professionals, some questions simply need to be asked repeatedly. The answer may change on circumstances. The answer may change based on new information or science or even with changing staffs.

    To ask questions just for redundancy, while potentially worthwhile, is more of a cerebral exercise than actual knowledge gaining.
  • Jul 4 2013: could that be a rhetorical question?
    The definition in wikipedia could make it quite clear:
    A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point.[1] The question is used as a rhetorical device, posed for the sake of encouraging its listener to consider a message or viewpoint. Though these are technically questions, they do not always require a question mark.
    For example, the question "Can't you do anything right?" is asked not to gain information about the ability of the person being spoken to, but rather to insinuate that the person always fails.
    While sometimes amusing and even humorous, rhetorical questions are rarely meant for pure, comedic effect. A carefully crafted question can, if delivered well, persuade an audience to believe in the position(s) of the speaker.[2]
    In simple terms, it is a question asked more to produce an effect than to summon an answer.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_question
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    Jun 10 2013: well, it seems that TED doesn't want to just post "facts." They want to spread interesting ideas that might move people to action. Or create conversations that people get smarter and better at thinking, at seeing different ways of looking at things, at seeing the good points and bad points of an idea. It does seem that the "facts" you mention could be useful as part of an idea, or might lead to an idea, but they don't seem to be enough all by themselves, TED wants a bigger picture. But I can see why you ask, these kinds of lone facts are interesting and do lead to thought.

    As far as posting something where you already know the answer, Jerry, well, some of it would depend how satisfied you are with the answer. If you feel like the answer is true and adequate, maybe you wouldn't need to post. However, if you feel like there are some unanswered questions, you might. My experience is also that sometimes living people can take you much faster to an answer than written sources, and to a better answer. For example, I have posted a question about Hinduism here, and I am getting answers from men in India. Perhaps I could have gotten those answers if I was willing to read many pages, or even whole books, on Hinduism, but here I am getting them so fast, it's better. Also, an answer from a living human being is the most up-to-the-minute, if I read an article that was published six months ago, or a book from two years ago, it won't be as good as something from a living human being that reflects the situation as it is now.
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    Jun 6 2013: Sometimes a fact you have learned has interesting implications that people on the site would find engaging. One option you have, then, is to share the information you have (rather than asking and making people look it up or guess) along with an important idea or implication you believe springs from it.

    Your discussion, then, would revolve around the idea.
  • Jun 5 2013: In my case I wouldn't find the point in asking a question if knew the answer in advance, I wouldn't find it right, meaningful, or even interesting, except perhaps if such question could have more than one "right answer" and I wanted to know which could be the other "right answers", or in a situation in which such question was important to make a decision and I had evidence I was the only one knowing the answer... but in general therms, without the element of "doubt" I would consider it boring and pointless.