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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 397)...

    I've read nearly every single question and answer in the past year and a half and have found that a great number of the questions are asked in the same tone, same style, same length...and appear to come from the same person. My question is, are questions "planted" here to deter people from asking them in the first place, or, more to the point, are questions with the same basic thought taken and a new, simplistic question formed from it, and given the appearance of having been original?

    ...and the response:

    (From the Webmaster) Most of the time the questions posted to the website are 2-4 paragraphs long, ramble on and on, and almost never get to a point... If we find a nugget in all that text, we take the time to carve out a question that has wider appeal. We get thousands of visitors and dozens of questions per week to the site...instead of answering every "how do I answer my mom about this very specific issue...", we try to cast the question as a wider net...that's what gets posted. So, yes, there is a consistent filter that things are passed through before content makes it to the site...for obvious reasons.

    Occasionally, Dan or I will come up with a question that apparently needs answering after we have seen it in several different forms but have opted to not answer any of those incarnations. In addition, sometimes a question will come up at a lecture or public presentation that seems appropriate for the Q and A. In those cases, yes, we "plant" a question.

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