Quora answer: What stages does a good Quora question go through?

Jan 30 2012

A good Quora question goes through states prior to its being in the initial state on Quora which is in the mind of the questioner.

  1. What have I always wanted to know but was afraid to ask?
  2. Is my question inherently biased, if so take out the bias
  3. Does my question have assumptions that others would feel are unwaranted or uncounded, if so either identify the assumptions or take them out of the question.
  4. Does my question have a problematic, or context, or come out of a specific situation that I need to explain in order for it to be meaninful to others.
  5. Have I written down what drives me to ask the question, if not then include that in the clarifying information attached to the question.
  6. Can I just look up the answer on the web or wikipedia, if so don’t ask it but rather go to the sources that already exist.
  7. Do I have other related questions, if so write them down and figure out which one needs to be asked first.
  8. Is my question relevant, significant, meaninful, if not don’t ask it.
  9. Is my question something that others would be interested in also, if not then ask someone directly via email, twitter, namesake.com or some other service.
  10. Is my question superficial, obvious, inane, or stupid, then don’t ask it on quora, but rather bother someone else who you don’t like instead.
  11. Is my question deep, ultimate, meaningful, life-changing, or in some way crucial, then make sure you ask it.

Once you have formulated the question then ask whether it is in the proper form, i.e whether it is spelled correctly, has a question mark, and is not too long or too short, i.e. make sure it is a well formed sentence you would be proud of when it is answered.

Search Quora to see what other questions are related to the one which you are asking and see if it has already been asked. If so then second that other question by adding a comment to it rather than asking again with similar but different wording.

Basically you should spend as much time formulating your question as you would spend answering a question. The better the formulation of the questions the better the answers are going to be. The more time you spend making the question right, making sure it is a good question and well ordered and with appropriate context and background, the more pleasure you will get from the answers, and the more pleasure people will have answering the question who think they have an answer.

When all this has been done, then enter you question into Quora with its supporting context and references if necessary.

Wait for answers patiently. As you are waiting think about meditating, contemplating, imagining, exploring with curiosity, and do some background research of your own into the question on the Web, or by reading a good book on the subject of your question.

When the answers start coming in then read them, and think about them and consider the intrinsic production of variety by human beings, who all see things differently from you. Attempt to reconcile their answers with the way you were thinking about the question when you wrote it down. Consider other perspectives and consider the limitation of your own perspective, and what you can do to widen, or improve your own perspective.

Take the answers to heart. Those who have answered your question have invested some of their precious lifespan in attempting to give you knowledge, or at least information if not wisdom about the topic of your question, so you should respect their efforts by thinking about their answers.

Don’t answer your own question right away. If you asked it just in order to make your own point, then try to restrain yourself and let others answer first, and then put your own answer as a response to the answers you get. It is best of course that you don’t answer your own question.

After the answers come in consider summarizing the answers on the Wiki page after a sufficient time has passed and a good number of answers have accumulated.

Then consider asking follow up questions, which are then linked to the original question, either in your own answer or in the comments to the question. However, all questions should remain comprehensible if they are encountered on their own.

Engage with others who are answering the question either in the comments or on Namesake.com.

Then given what you have learned from asking your question and getting hopefully good answers go on to ask your next question.

Bateson says that there are meta-levels of learning.

The first meta-level above knowing what you know is what we all know as learning, and learning is based on the asking and answering of questions. The better your questions the more you will learn, and know matter how knowledgeable one is there is still a lot to learn, because knowledge, especially these days is endless. It is gained mostly by reading and thinking, and then questioning those who know.

The second meta-level of learning is “learning to learn” which means there are different ways of learning, and everytime you learn a new way of learning then you increase your becoming-in-the-world, i.e. you become a deeper human being with greater potential to learn, and thus you become potentially more knowledgeable.

The third meta-level of learning is learning-to-learn-to-learn. This is learning how to learn new ways learning. It is equivalent to making paradigm shifts in your understanding, because a new vista opens up when you learn how to learn differently. Say you learn by reading good books, and then you learn to diagram the ideas in those books, in order to understand them better. By learning to make diagrams of the concepts in books you have learned a new way of learning. But say you come to understand that mind-maps is only one way of diagramming, and it is better to adapt the way of diagramming to the content of the of the concepts being diagrammed, and you realize that the symbols that you use in your diagram have semiotic meaning themselves which you can also interrogate because they say something about your own thinking about concepts, then you have encountered the third meta-level of learning, where your learning how to learn itself has adapted within the learning process.

The fourth meta-level of learning is “learning-to-learn-to-learn-to-learn” which Bateson thought was the highest level of learning that he likened to achieving enlightenment, where your whole way of understanding is transformed such that your knowledge and comprehension is enhanced in a complete change by apprehending an insight. Getting an insight into the way your mind itself works, and learning to look at things in a completely different way, so that ones actual thinking process changes is attained at this meta-level of learning.

The fifth meta-level of learning is where one confronts non-knowledge, forgetfulness, oblivion, the clearing and openness in Being, and where learning itself becomes a singularity. At that point learning itself becomes a form of knowledge which has intrinsic wisdom.

When you are asking questions and learning from the answers then if you are wise you will be attempting to scale these meta-levels of learning so you can attain the various meta-levels of knowledge which are aligned with the meta-levels of existence, which are correlated to the meta-levels of Being. In this process you learn the nature of yourself and your worldview and the relation between the two, and you become who you really are, rather than merely being a phantom of yourself, because according to Plato, we recollect knowledge, it does not come from the outside but from inside ourselves, and those who give use their knowledge are only midwives like Socrates to our own intellectual and spiritual rebirth when we ourselves must pursue, because no one can give us what is already within ourselves, which is true, real, identical and present knowledge that is lost in oblivion or just forgotten, When we climb the meta-levels of learning we are approaching the meta-levels of knowledge which are the truly perduring things in our experience, which the meta-levels of Being only pretend to be.

When you ask questions of others you are actually interrogating yourself, and learning what is inside of you which comes out in your questions and your reactions to the unexpected answers. Questions of others are the key to self-discovery. As Hegel said the only way to self-consciousness is through the comprehension of otherness, and it is in this interaction that Absolute Spirit is forged.

We need to learn questioning, and also question learning. We question learning when we understand that the way we are taught in schools is not what we need to do to actually learn things in our lives that will increase our useful knowledge and will help us live in our lifeworld. But the alternative to questioning learning is to learn how to question, because the deeper our questions that we pose to others and ourselves at the same time, the deeper we become and the more likely that we will go beyond knowledge into the realm of wisdom, and then perhaps insight, and possibility even achieving self-realization. A good way to embark on that journey is to begin by attempting to ask good questions about the right subjects, in an orderly way, in order to understand ones own fate and thus attain the sources of ourselves in order to approach the root of our unique human existence.




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