My question here was closed for being too broad. The only way I can think of to narrow this down substantially would be to restrict it to a single school of aqidah and only use one of the three questions I put in boldface. I talked about this at length with Medi1Saif in chat (the conversation spans what you get by clicking the "next day" button twice), but that didn't really resolve the issue.

I think these questions point out an important problem in aqidah and would be a worthwhile addition to islam.se. How can I narrow the post down sufficiently to remain open? I'm happy making 9 questions for each combination of 3 schools of aqidah and each of the 3 boldfaced questions, if that's required. I can also frame the problem more concretely if necessary; while talking to Medi1Saif about the issues in chat, it turned out that the inconsistencies I (and many other Non-Muslims) see with these doctrines took some time to outline precisely enough for him to realize what I'm talking about.

1 Answer 1


The topic of "multiple-question questions" has been raised on meta.SE a number of times: 1 2 3 4 5 6.

The goal of questions on Stack Overflow is to be clear, concise, and answerable. A multi-part question is none of these things. -- Jeff Atwood ♦, 2010

The problem is that they're not particularly compatible with how the site is designed (e.g. maybe a sub-question is a duplicate; perhaps an answerer has expertise only to answer one sub-question.)

The same thing comes up on math.SE occasionally, particularly where students ask for help with multiple homework questions in a single post. In this context, this solution has worked:

If you can't isolate that concept, ask about the questions in separate posts, but space them out - if the questions are related, you might learn enough from the first question that you don't have to ask the others, and in any case it's a little impolite to fill the questions page with only your questions. -- Qiaochu Yuan, 2011

So the algorithm is:

  1. Ask a "clear, concise, and answerable" question.

  2. Understand answer(s).

  3. If there's more to understand, write another "clear, concise, and answerable" question that has been adapted according to the previous answers.

  • It's not so clear to me that the posts by Atwood and Yuan apply here; it's easy to ask about a short programming problem or math exercise in an isolated concise way without losing anyway, but with multifaceted issues like free will, predestination, and justice that form a context for each other, if you isolate them you lose something. The top answer to your first reference even says "If the sub-questions (...) are closely related, then they should stay with the question."
    – G. Bach
    Mar 8, 2017 at 11:04
  • That being said, I already suggested in my question that I would attempt breaking these closely related questions apart, but I'm already anticipating the frustration of "nope, still too broad, rinse and repeat", which is why I'm asking for specific advice.
    – G. Bach
    Mar 8, 2017 at 11:09

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