Answering Questions

To help you get started, you'll find extensive articles here at on diversity, racism, sexism, sexuality, ageism, religion and disability. We encourage you to browse these articles before beginning your dialogues.

Please read the following guidelines carefully before answering a question posed to Y? The National Forum on People's Differences.

  • Peruse the submitted questions by using our search page or looking over our Archives. Or, you can browse whole categories at the Categories page.

  • If you see a question you'd like to answer, read the following guidelines and then go to Y?'s Posting Form.

  • Please keep your answers to 150 words or less. Except for unusual circumstances, longer answers will be trimmed or will not be posted.

  • You must include an identifier (name, initials, handle, alias) and where you live with your answer, as well as fill in several other required fields. There are a number of optional fields that will add context to your posting. You are encouraged to fill in as many as possible. Y? prefers your full name, but will accept other identifiers. Your name or identifier is needed in order to help others search for your comments at a later date.

  • Please do not answer questions that do not relate to your own demographic background unless you have direct, first-hand knowledge of the information or are an academician or other expert on the topic. In the latter case, please demonstrate in your answer how you are qualified to answer the question. Remember, the chief goal of this project is to foster a flow of information between people who are "experts" about themselves and their demographic group.

  • Avoid generalities. Get to the heart of the question with your response, using factual information in your answers derived from your own experience or from information with which you are intimately aware because of your demographic background.

  • Resist the temptation to make a political or moral statement with your answer. Remember, the forum is an attempt to parcel out information that is as free of bias and preconceived notions as possible.

  • Be patient with others' questions and use care in how you phrase your response. Y? realizes that some queries may offend, but remember that not everyone knows everything about everything. The forum is trying to promote a reasoned dialogue in an atmosphere of curiosity and sensitivity, and the chances are good that you may be uninformed about someone different from yourself as well. If someone else has shown the courage to acknowledge to themselves and others that they don't know something, they may well be on the path to knowing. In that spirit, try not to penalize them by deriding them or being condescending with your responses.

  • If you don't think you can answer a particular question, but know of someone (either a member of the public, academician or other expert) who can, e-mail Y? with the information and Y? will try to contact the person.

  • IMPORTANT: Y? reserves the right to edit questions and answers for space and readability, and to paraphase questions or answers to render them suitable for general viewing. Before deciding to take part, be advised that if you post a question or answer that contains hostile language, assumed truths or preconceived notions, it will very likely either not be posted, or it will be edited to meet the non-confrontational standards set up by this project.