Why I try not to answer my questions on Facebook

I created a habit of asking questions through my statuses on Facebook. I do it for a number of reasons, but none of those reasons involve answering the questions myself.

Friends have asked about this, though, one in particular recently, so I thought I’d share my response, why I try not to answer these questions myself.

  • I want the first responses to be authentic. I want everyone to answer for themselves as much as they can, not base their answers on what others think. In fact, I’ll often ask questions that, to me, have hidden quirks in them. If I give those away in the beginning, the questions lose their force.
  • I want everyone to feel free to share what they want, without having to worry about agreeing or disagreeing with me. It’s easier for someone to disagree with one of my friends, especially if they don’t know each other, than for someone to disagree with me. If I answer first, some people will decide not to answer instead of posting a contrary opinion. But contrary opinions are just what I want everyone to post. Those are the ones we learn from.
  • I don’t want anyone to worry about responding to future questions. If I ask for someone’s opinion and then criticize that opinion later in the discussion, that person might stop answering, or worse, stop answering honestly. Even if I don’t criticize, just offer a different perspective, it can come off as criticism, especially in print.

For forums to work, I think the forum itself needs to stay as neutral as possible so everyone feels safe to answer. I don’t always follow this rule, but I try.

Please feel safe to answer.

(Or if you really want to know my answer, ask the question on your own status, tag me, and I’ll answer there. I try to support questioning wherever I can!)