In light of the question Can you provide me with some evidence of a young earth?, there will clearly be dissenting views.

As the question is worded, providing these views here would be off-topic.

I can see a few possible courses of action:

  1. Re-title the question, so that dissenting views are not off topic. Perhaps Is the earth Young or Old?

  2. Create a counter-question Can you provide me with some evidence of an old earth?

  3. Allow dissenting comments

  4. Consider dissenting views argumentative, non-constructive, and off-topic.

I think, and hope, that we can rule out #4 (so long as the differing viewpoints are presented in a helpful, non-argumentative, and constructive manner).

I expect #1 will make some questions absurdly long--not to mention it makes it harder for the OP to select a "right" answer.

If we go for a question-counter-question format, I can see there being a great number of "twin" (and in some cases triplet, quadruplet, etc) questions on the site. But maybe that's not a bad thing?

For instance my question Was the flood of Noah global or local? might be a candidate for two questions, one asking for the evidence of each. That would certainly make my job of selecting an answer easier. :)

Clearly, if we go with the multi-question approach, the related questions could reference each other.

2 Answers 2


I would object to #1 being the de-facto solution. In fact I have counseled a number of people to focus their questions on a specific viewpoint specifically because I think it helps avoid making every question a hill-to-die-on.

As a young-earther myself I would be happy to upvote and even contribute to a question about evidence for an old-earth, of which there is quite a bit. I think this could be done respectfully. However if would be very difficult for me to vote in any rational way on a thread where the answers where expected to be mixed from both sides. And all around "what is the evidence one way or another" question is going to turn into a vote contest. Also I don't think it's reasonable to expect answers to always provide more than one POV.

Your #3 I think is a given. People are encouraged to provide counter-arguments and views in comments, possibly linking to other questions threads with other perspectives. However this isn't a full solution, only a stop gap.

Since you have rightfully ruled out #4, that leaves us with #2.

I don't know that pairs (or triplets+) for every question is a good idea, but I do think that the more focused and specific a question is the less contention it will be. People can use answers to assemble their own broader world view, but expecting any single question to cover all the bases seems like we are overloading the QnA format.

  • Good points... I have removed my advocacy for #1 from my question...
    – Flimzy
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 18:59
  • +1 I hope that doesn't mean we have to create two questions for every question that has two sides :) Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 20:50

I think #4 is needed.

As I've already suggested in another meta discussion, I think we should be able to (for some questions)

  • Assume without questioning. When the OP clearly specifies some assumptions for the question, we should all assume those things. We don't need to agree, but we need to accept the basis OP has given us for answering.
  • Question without assuming. (less relevant here) I think we also should be able to look at different views, forgetting for a while our current subjective stance. This is probably the more controversial one of these suggestions, and probably cannot be expected from everyone. Personally, I assure you that it pays off.

Now, a different question as in #2 can be created, but I think that shouldn't be the rule. Rather, if someone deems it worth the trouble, they'll go and make the other question. Rules applying to one question shouldn't be dependent on the existence of some other question.

As for #1, that would be a horrible option for a lot of cases. Perhaps it can be applied somewhere, but that's a special case. #3 might end up in flame wars in some cases; otherwise, I don't oppose it.

I'm saying that #4, while often not optimal, is the only reasonable default.

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