This is the antitheses of Is the lack of a question mark always a "bad question smell?" What I'm wondering is, is a question answered with a series of rhetorical questions almost always doomed to failure?

I don't think I can change the mod messages, but a one I'd like to use would be "your answer contains too many rhetorical questions, please rephrase your answer in the form of an answer".

Can someone give a really good explanation to new users as to why this kind of a device is not appropriate here, so we can link to meta when flagging/deleting answers?

  • 3
    Can you give a couple of examples of particularly problematic questions with rhetoricals?
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Nov 2, 2017 at 11:38
  • Should I edit this answer of mine? I did use rhetorical questions a few times.
    – user32540
    Nov 7, 2017 at 14:25
  • @4castle I'd say edit it for clarity (not because that's a bad answer). In my opinion I think writing "these passages answer why ..." is a clearer way to phrase what you're trying to convey.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Nov 7, 2017 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Personally the examples I remember seeing almost always include some other major problem and I usually approach these posts from the more defined other problem than the somewhat vague issue of the rhetorical device used. Yes I think answers that lean on rhetorical questions tend to be much less useful than ones that present the answers to those questions, but that just gets my downvote it isn't actually a moderation issue.

A moderation issue these posts often exhibit is they frequently tend to be preachy "truth" answers arguing for or against their own personal position rather than answering from the perspective asked for in the question. Note this is correlation but not causation. I frequently see rhetorical questions used by people defending their own view and trying to lead other people to it and much less frequently when answering in a third-person voice describing the views of somebody else.

If these posts don't match the scope of the question I'll address that as a moderation issue. Otherwise they usually are just less than useful and hence get my downvote. If I did leave feedback it would focus on how little information they actually give in response to the actual question asked.

If there are more egregious or frequent examples that we need a more focused FAQ entry for, please include some examples in your question of the problem so we can narrow in an a more targeted solution.

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