Asking a Question

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.

Thank you for deciding to take part in
Y? The National Forum On People's Differences.
To submit your question, first read the guidelines below,
and then go to Y?'s Posting Form.

 In order for your question to be used, you must read and understand the following. Questions not meeting these guidelines will not be posted.

  • Keep your questions to 40 words or less. Except in unusual circumstances, longer questions will be trimmed or will not be used.

  • You must include an identifier and where you live with your question (bonus points if you include your age and demographic background). Y? prefers your full name; however, the forum understands that some people might be uncomfortable having their names attached to an "embarrassing" or sensitive question. To accommodate that concern, Y? will, upon your request, list only your first initial and last name (or first name and last initial) with your question. Just let Y? know in your submission. As a last resort, Y? will accept your initials only, or a nickname, as long as you include your city as well. This is needed so that others can refer to you as they answer your question or add to your comments.

  • Be specific. For example, rather than "Are older people afraid of younger people?" you might ask "Why does it seem like more older people are moving into their own separate communities these days? Are they nervous about being mugged?"

  • Avoid putting an "assumed truth" into your question. For example, better to ask "Is it true that white men can't jump as high as black men?" than "Why can't white men jump?" The latter makes an assumption; the former seeks to clarify or gather information.

  • When asking a question, always frame it in such a way that it is being asked not of "the powers that be," but of a person from a background different from yours. A good way to think of this is, "How would I ask this question if a person of this background were sitting across from me, and I felt comfortable enough to ask it of them?" The reason for this is simple: Y? is trying to foster a direct exchange of information between real people, as opposed to information that is filtered through traditional sources such as the media, spokespeople for causes and academicians. This does not mean, however, that Y? will not consider comments from these sources, as appropriate.

  • Please don't try to make a political or moral statement with your question. Just ask what you would like to know. If you have come to this site, Y?'s assumption is that you are interested in an exchange of information that is as free of bias and preconceived notions as possible. That is, quite frankly, the entire point of this effort.

  • Don't bait or ask mean-spirited questions. A good rule of thumb: If you're curious, ask. If you already feel you know the answer to your own question or are trying to "make a point," don't. The purpose here is to exchange ideas and promote dialogue.

  • Take your time and be thoughtful in the wording you choose for your question. Always err on the side of being as inoffensive as possible in how you phrase a posting. Y? wants your questions; however, there are ways to seek answers that are less incendiary than others.

  • Direct your questions to people from a demographic group that is different from your own. That is, if you're gay, avoid asking a question about gays (answer one instead!). Or if you're male, avoid asking a question about males. Again, the purpose is to get people who are different from one another asking and answering questions.

  • 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.

    That's it. Now, to ask your question...