Please avoid asking multiple versions of the main question all in the same posting.
Sometimes we want to clarify a question by asking it in slightly different ways. Unfortunately, this frequently results in radically different questions being asked all at the same time.
The following are three recent examples of questions with this problem. Three links, but nine distinct questions are asked. (I am linking the the original question, and then directly quoting "rephrased questions" from the body of each linked question.)
- Do Christians believe in Ethical Relativism, in other words, that good and bad are determined by culture, society, tradtions, etc?
- "Do Christians believe that a rational moral code is possible or do they believe that without god a good universal moral code is impossible?"
Ethical/cultural relativism is not the same as developing a system of ethics using reason. At all.
- Without God is there only evil?
- "What does the bible say about good and evil coming from mankind?"
- "Are people actually capable of good without God" ...
- "or would there be only evil in the world if God took a vacation?"
(1) deals with the atheistic non-existence of God, (4) deals with a deistic "set in motion and then stop interacting" notion of a god, (2) deals with good/evil being of human origin, (3) deals with human dependence on God for doing good
- What effect does baptism have on a non-believer?
- "what happens to a non-believer when they die?"
- "Is there any difference for a non-believer who has been baptised compared to a non-believer who hasn't been baptised?"
(2) might be asking what happens in general for a non-believer upon death, (1) deals with immediate effects, (3) deals with the "ultimate" effects.
The issue is not with asking multiple clarifying questions. Asking questions that clarify or expand on the main question is perfectly fine. For example, the following is perfectly fine:
- In Catholicism, what distinguishes a priestly blessing from a lay blessing? What are the differences in formula and manner? Is there a difference in effect or efficacy?
The problem is with re-phrasing the "central question", especially when there is a difference between the title and the last question in the posting. It should be easy to not ask the same question in different words: just use the same words. Strive to ask once, but clearly. And if the same words are used at the start and the end, then one can be more sure that the question hasn't "drifted" while it was being asked.
(Of course, there is no problem when the re-phrasings do turn out to be the same question. And there is no problem with editing a question in order to clarify it.)
What is the right way to ask good background questions that frame, expand, or clarify the intent of the original question?