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Jan 3rd 2014 at 1:36:05 PM •••

The first two sentences seem to be presented as if they were Hypocritical Humor, but that opening sentence isn't an example of the trope because it's immediately answered.

We could make a similar joke out of something like "Aren't rhetorical questions great?", but I'm not really convinced that it adds anything to the description.

(EDIT: And, actually, Rhetorical Question Blunder already has that gag.)

Edited by
Sep 16th 2011 at 7:39:13 AM •••

There is actually a Trope regarding why this rule / guideline exists: Rhetorical Question Blunder. Why isn't it referenced on the page as an explanation for "This is why Rhetorical Questions are bad"?

EDIT: The second sentence itself is "This is a blunder." That would be a perfect place for the pothole.

Edited by DonaldthePotholer Hide/Show Replies
Jun 16th 2012 at 10:27:46 PM •••

Agreed: we should have a pothole to Rhetorical Question Blunder. However, the question leading the article isn't rhetorical, as it isn't a complete thought (by itself, it's not implying any statement). This would be, though:

"In an open-editable environment, like, say, a wiki, isn't it a blunder to use a rhetorical question to make a point? (Yes!)"

(Then the second sentence "This is a blunder" can be deleted, and the phrase "a blunder" can be potholed.)

Feb 15th 2011 at 2:35:18 AM •••

I still absolutely hate this rule. Rhetorical questions are a valid tool in writing, and we shouldn't have to make ourselves boring because some people are incapable of understanding them.

Rephrasing a rhetorical question as a statement doesn't always convey the same meaning. And there are plenty of times when the trope voice needs to convey the meaning provided by rhetorical questions.

I don't see why we can't just include a comment in the source saying "This is a rhetorical question. Don't answer it." I've done it before with much success.

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Mar 30th 2011 at 2:16:14 AM •••

Since when is "don't use rhetorical questions" a rule? I assumed it was a guideline. If a discreet source-code comment after a rhetorical question does the trick for you, that's even better. The purpose of this article, whether it's a rule or a guideline, is to prevent articles from becoming infested with natter. If you can achieve that without losing rhetorical questions, I don't see anything wrong with that.

For the record, I'm one of those annoying schmucks who can't resist the lure of answering a rhetorical question (I get that it's rhetorical, I just can't resist the urge to be a smartass and do what I'm not supposed to do), but a source code comment would do a good job of stopping me, since being reminded that what I'm about to do isn't really very funny or original tends to kill that mischievous enthusiasm.

Apr 3rd 2012 at 9:22:38 AM •••

Screw that. Rhetorical questions shouldn't exist at all. They're just a product of communicative degradation. For that matter, I ALWAYS answer them when I can, online or offline... not out of some intrinsic desire to be annoying, but simply because if they didn't want an answer then they shouldn't have bloody well asked the question in the first place. AND if it is obviously rhetorical, because the answer is obvious, then I'll give them the answer AND call them a blithering idiot into the bargain.

In short, a question is for the pursuit of information, not the inverse... and thus rhetorical questions shouldn't be tolerated.

Apr 27th 2012 at 9:01:00 AM •••

Insisting on answering a clearly rhetorical question basically amounts to vandalism. Calling out other tropers on the main page is explicitly natter. Rhetorical tools you don't agree with don't warrant vandalism or natter, they warrant discussion and repair, when difficult to understand. If it doesn't demean the writing voice of the wiki, and it helps convey the correct idea, your own personal crusade against rhetorical questions should not corrupt the phrases in question.

We can't use valid rhetorical tools because a bunch of numpnuts have decided to vandalize the wiki when we do? That doesn't seem like good policy. That seems like a good time to crack down on irresponsible editors.

Edited by flocculentCamelidae
May 25th 2012 at 2:42:34 AM •••

A question in Real Life, can be used to punctuate, to lend meaning, to emphasise, to insinuate and do a whole host of other things.

None of which is relevant to a Tropes Wiki, having moved from being a fairly chaotic free-range Wiki to one that is free of natter. I agree that for the Main Page there should be no rhetorical questions as it is simply a question of objective fact whether an a) example fits into a Trope, or b) a Trope is displayed by a work. Natter not required.

Jun 16th 2012 at 10:05:05 PM •••

Rhetorical questions imply a statement rather than making the statement explicit, and their indirectness is inherently less clear and less concise than a direct statement. They are used primarily in conversational speech, usually to soften an otherwise-harsh claim or to encourage the listener to continue to follow along, filling in the answer subconsciously, and therefore allowing themselves to be subtly persuaded: in this way, they serve to cloak the argument, making it harder to critique and making any flaws easier to overlook. The issue with us smart-asses insisting on answering the question is also a valid point: it invites natter.

In writing generally, the use of rhetorical questions (when done well) is mainly a stylistic issue: they are another tool in the writer's toolkit that allows for variety. However, for Main pages, I agree that revising them away is good practice.

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