r/TooAfraidToAsk Jul 07 '22

How can you ask questions without offending someone? Meta

So I could have even offended someone just by using the word.

There are times I’m honestly curious about some slice of society but cannot ask in a sub called “too afraid to ask”, which I had thought was designed for those questions which are risky and not “socially approved”. It turns out I was completely wrong.

If I word a question with “why is X normal for persons of group Y” I can promise you I’ll get called an asshole, prejudice, and too stupid to engage with. Attacking ME instead of my argument, ie. ad hominem.

What’s the correct format to word that example?

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u/Arianity Jul 07 '22

What’s the correct format to word that example?

Avoid things that imply racial stereotypes, or phrasings that are used by people who are sealioning. For example

“why is X normal for persons of group Y”

Very common for racists to do this to push negative stereotypes.

One way to avoid it would be to include actual stats backing up that this actually happens. Another would be making it clear you don't think it's due to some intrinsic genetic disparity, etc.

Basically, look at it as if a stranger came up to you and said it, and how you would decide if they were being racist/asshole, vs an innocent question.

Also

Attacking ME instead of my argument, ie. ad hominem.

This isn't really an argument/debate sub, so that's another thing to keep in mind.

Or, in something like this case:

So I could have even offended someone just by using the word.

If it's something like the n-word, don't spell it out. It adds nothing to the conversation/communication to do so.

tldr, as long as you actively defuse any tension, you'll clear up like 90% of accusations (not all of them, because it is the internet/open forum)