What is the purpose of your question?
How can you tell the difference between a question to encourage discussion and one to encourage conflict? Some questions have hidden agendas. Can you identify them?
If I ask you: "Do you believe Christ really walked on water"? That's a question to encourage discussion about the substance of faith and personal interpretations of scripture.
If I ask: "Why do Christians ignore basic physics and believe Jesus could walk on liquid"? That's designed to encourage conflict between Christians and Atheists.
I would suggest your question has a "hidden agenda"; perhaps to illustrate the derision and divisiveness that seems to be so prevalent on the forums here.
You can tell by the way questions are presented. The hidden agendas are not that well hidden.Actually quite obvious. The people that ask questions that are open for discussion, are people that are on HP for gaining knowledge, exploring other's points of view and just plain entertainment. Questions that create conflict are the questions that usually get the most activity. More hits; more money. People love to argue more than agree. I guess that's human nature. But income creation is the main motive for asking questions that get people riled up.
In all honesty I believe all questions can lead to discussions especially those where the questioner inserts his or her opinion.
If I say, What is your favorite ice cream flavor? (It's not likely to lead to a discussion or debate.)
However if I say, Why do some many people fail to recognize that Oreo cookie ice cream is the best flavor in the world? (That question is likely to get people who disagree with you to list why they chose their favorite.)
You are right about many questions having hidden agendas. Some people love to stir the pot so to speak. There is one woman who blames president Obama for every drop of rain that hits the earth! Clearly she enjoys preaching to her choir and getting the opposition to chime in against her. Right now someone asked why "Black History Month" isn't racist? These are the types of questions designed to generate lots of responses and create discussions. And yet many of them remain on HP.
Maybe "discussion" is in the eye of the moderator! :-)
In other instances some people genuinely are asking for (help) or suggestions to cope with death or relationship issues. Although these can often lead to discussions I tend to enjoy trying to help people whenever I can. I have no problems with these types of questions.
Personally speaking I have from time to time posed a question to test it as a possible hub. Depending on the number of answers or types of answers I may be inspired to create a hub on the topic. I suppose that is a "hidden agenda" as well.
There is no way to actually determine if a question was to encourage discussion or conflict. Some state that it is easy based on the way the question is framed. However, due to the restrictive nature of HUB-PAGES, wording must be limited for the question.
One can never actually determine the intent if not considering the restriction. This is because the individual asking the question would need to state that the question was to exact discussion rather than conflict. Every individual reading the question will personally decipher it according to their own belief of purpose due to their own internal conflict.
Many individuals immediately seek a conflict because they have been trained to react this way to all discussion. Even Presidents of the USA do this when discussing personal situations. This is due to the omission of truth within the political domain.
When reading a question, the individual should not try to determine the intent of the question, but the factors outlined within the question. Seeking truth about the question without invoking personal feelings and agendas is the only way to provide a truthful answer to any question.
For example, if one were to invoke personal feelings about this question, then one could say that you were trying to encourage conflict for other questions that were asked solely to invoke discussion.
Another example would simply be that you truthfully want to know the right way to identify the reason for a question without really knowing the reason for the question.
However, chasing this type of knowledge requires more than a surface decision based on the words of a question. Especially when an individual would use personal beliefs and feelings about the subject in the question.
Questions that seek expanded information concerning a subjective situation will always be considered conflict. But, these are actually nothing more than discussion for expansion of knowledge.
And, just like those that are objective situational questions, they provide a forum for transfer of statements concerning each participating individuals personal thoughts and reactions to the statements of others.
Thus, statements and reactions in both cases results in discussion.
So, what can be considered the hidden agenda of any question that initiates discussion. I believe that no hidden agenda is applicable to any social, political, referential, theological, or scientific question asked by anyone that wishes to learn more about the situation..
I enjoy answering questions that encourage conflict! Questions on Christianity with a tint on glorifying Christianity are common and their hidden agendas are not really hidden!
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