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I've noticed a trend in questions, in which basically a question is asked of the form "I just read a [fatwa|ayah|hadith], does this mean [extrapolated ruling applicable to all Muslims everywhere]?" A few recent examples:

These questions are, to my mind, decidedly low quality, given that they pretty much consist of nothing in the way of research effort, usually little more than the quoted evidence and the "does this mean..." question itself, making it no better than a one-liner question.

I have argued before that evidences rarely if ever speak for themselves, but that doesn't change the fact that many users (Muslim or non) still have such questions. However, as phrased they're usually too vague to attract quality answers, being just as open to apologetic and polemic as it is to…well…pretty much any ruling ever that involved that piece of evidence.

And in my experience, the question usually comes directly as a result of sloppy polemic; not necessarily on the questioner's part himself but from reading any number of forums/blogs which cherry-pick evidences to either "prove" that their opinion is right or that yours is wrong. This sort of tactic is sadly common, but also decidedly non-academic, as it is typically used on (and often by) users who lack (a) a basic understanding of how Islamic jurisprudence works, and (b) sufficient critical skills to recognize the obvious weaknesses of the argument.

(And the fact that my closing of such questions is often met with hostility rather than any attempt to improve the question does nothing to change my opinion of that matter.)

Often these questions have already been asked ad nauseum on the Internet at large, and here end up more akin to Truth questions which just regurgitate the same apologetic/polemic that's already been out there for years without getting any closer to an actual answer.

But even in those cases where it actually is a novel question asked in good faith, it still demonstrates nothing in the way of research effort or basic understanding of Islamic jurisprudence. I don't claim to be an expert in all madhahib, but my understanding is that the only right answer for a lot of these questions is "No, that's not how fiqh works." With no sort of scope or context, the only real way to expand on such an answer to make it not a useless negative is to go into an explanation of Fiqh 101, which is not only just too broad for any sort of SE-style answer, but is very likely not what the questioner even wants.

So the question lies: How exactly should we be handling these sorts of questions? How should they be phrased, what information is needed to make them answerable, what would be involved in a good answer, or should they just be closed as unclear/too broad until the questioner can focus them?

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    I completely agree with your description of the problem. Unfortunately, I have no answer. – Daniel Mar 15 '15 at 17:28
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Well your question could be closed as "too broad" per se...


Obviously, people find it curiously interesting and feel like asking questions here too, in order that they might be covered in here too and also they might have really not understood that concept. Now, there can't be set a definite standard for your case and maybe we (the whole community) should try to deal those type of questions appropriately. So....

How should they be phrased, what information is needed to make them answerable, what would be involved in a good answer, or should they just be closed as unclear/too broad until the questioner can focus them?

That entirely depends on the question right on that moment, while most questions are getting closed when we recognize they fall in the "truth claim" trap, while others maybe have a one link answer while other questions can be really improved, you know. It entirely depends on the question and can only be decided right on the spot, but only with support of the community.

Here, what I've felt is.... this community takes it too long for questions to be closed all by themselves without moderator intervention.

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