Inspired by the comments on the Jehova's Witness's answer on this.

On the site from which I hail it is a common practice to "subvert" questions that make an apparently (or obviously) false presumption, in order to provide an answer.


Q: What seafood does the OT forbid eating? I need to know because I'm a Baptist and I don't want to go to Hell.

A: Actually, you can eat whatever you want; Baptist doctrine holds that we are bound by the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant, and so we are permitted to consume any food provided we have faith that doing so is not offensive to God (citation) (continued explanation of how Baptists don't have to worry about the issue presented).

Is that kind of frame-change an acceptable answer here? (The frame being challenged here is that the OT food restrictions apply to the asker. The asker did not say "can Baptists each seafood?" the asker asked "What specific kinds of seafood is there a Biblical basis for not eating in the OT?". This question is absolutely fine, but it is an example of an XY problem.

This is the meta post pertaining to frame-challenges on RPG.SE. I expect the appropriate method of dealing with this for this site will be different, but that thread might be useful understanding what changing the frame of a question means and some situations in which it might be appropriate, as might this one.

  • 1
    Since the questioner has specified they're a Baptist, in what way does your answer involve a "frame change"? Or what, exactly, do you mean by a "frame change"? Dec 26, 2014 at 18:33
  • +1: Because this question made me laugh.
    – Jim G.
    Dec 26, 2014 at 19:05
  • 1
    Wax Eagle is a Mod on this site and his sentiment there is close to the community sentiment here.
    – user3961
    Dec 26, 2014 at 20:01
  • Ah. I misunderstood the question; you have one sentence which I read wrongly. I'd like to edit that so that it's more understandable from my point of view. Dec 26, 2014 at 20:14
  • @MattGutting Yah, that's probably fine. It happens in an accepted way in a couple of other XY problem situations (the biggest one being "Yes, P will work, but Q is better in every way" like my answer on this). I don't really have a problem with the change though; it makes the question fit the answer better. Dec 26, 2014 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


It is always acceptable to tackle and show the error in false assumptions. In you example, the false assumption is that Baptists must obey the Levitical law. Your answer corrects that.

However, questions with seriously obvious false assumptions tend to get closed on this site anyway. You example question, for example, is, well, a dumb question. I would vote to close it just for being a dumb question that shows a lack of research effort.

In the case of the question and answer you link, no there is a problem with that. The question is asking for the arguments that the cross is not an idol (though the wording could be better. Notice the date; it's an old question and guidelines are stricter today). That answer says, basically, "Well, it is an idol". You can see that some community members properly objected to it then and would do so again now. 1 However, this little bit about JW's and others would be acceptable in an answer if it was provided as an afterward to something that actually answers the question.

Take these questions for example:

They are asking for the reasoning that some Christians believe a certain thing. It is wholly inappropriate to answer "Well, actually, those Christians are wrong."

  1. Today the guidelines do much better that questions must be written in a way that prevents such obviously ensuing arguments. Here's some further meta reading.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .