I was going to flag Is it considered normal to publish job offers inviting candidates to apply based on their gender and / or race in academia? for moderators' attention, or attempt an edit myself, but then I wasn't sure if I would be acting correctly.

I will try not to get bogged down in the specific topic of that question, which seems to be contentious (and now it's hit the non-academia SE sites and Twitter, natch). Following observations by Dan Romik in his answer and various commenters on chat threads, I think it is objectively true that the question has the following structure:

Title: Why is it normal/acceptable for A to happen?

Preamable to question: Some description of circumstances A.

Question(s): Why is B acceptable?

Here it seems to be assumed that A will either lead to B, or has been set up in order to lead to B, or that A and B are the same.

My own question: instead of arguing against the apparent motivation for the question, should users or mods instead change the question to one that is more neutral? Or is this too intrusive against the wishes of the original author?

Sorry if this is too nebulous: I am trying to find a point of principle or practice that it might be useful to sort out, rather than get overly focused on the rights and wrongs of a particular question.

2 Answers 2


I would not recommend changing the question. In general, I think we as a community limit edits to grammar/readability, tags, adding content from comments into the question/answer, and rewording the titular question to provide better information on the front page. Trying to change the question i think is too invasive. That said, working with the OP to improve the question through comments and chat (and possibly a mutually agreed edit) is encouraged.

As for what to do with these difficult questions, I suggest flagging, and when you have the reputation voting to close. Often these questions are unclear and/or opinion based and not a good fit.


I think, in most cases, that questions of the form "A is True, Therefore B, Why?" where there is either a false presumption or that the question itself is a sort of rhetorical device rather than a question have a valid answer of "It Isn't".

This doesn't even necessarily need to be controversial questions. Consider, for example, my answer to Paper rejected. Should I appeal against biased reviews?

I will say that it's unlikely the answer will be accepted if the OP isn't posting in good faith, but community voting enables disagreeing with the OP's premises in an answer.

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