It seems pretty usual to ask both the pros and cons in a single question, however I am wondering if that should always be the case.

I only asked the advantages on the question about hiking at night because I thought that otherwise everyone would show up and say that it is a terrible idea. There is a comment that I should ask the disadvantages as well, but I don't want to invalidate the existing answers.

There is also a question that I would like to ask and self-answer, but I don't think that I could objectively do both sides.

Would it work to ask in one question the advantages and in another the disadvantages and then link them together?

It would help get the question rate up...


3 Answers 3


I think your logic was sound with the night hiking question. When the question has an abundance of obvious reasons why it would be a bad idea it is fair to ask about advantages. The only caveat there is when it is clearly a safety related question at its core. We don't want to encourage people to do clearly unsafe things because of dubious "advantages." One example of this would be a question like "I know early climbers sometimes used 2x4's as chocks. What are the advantages of using 2x4's in lieu of modern climbing protection?" If that question was posted I would hope and expect that and "advantages" wouldn't be discussed and the responses would be about the dangers of using 2x4's instead of modern climbing protection.

Please don't split a good pro/con question into two questions. That is really awkward to write answers for and makes finding the information harder to find than it should be. Like other answers here state the default should be a pro/con mixed question. Occasionally there is a good case for focusing on one side so it can be helpful to specify which side you're looking for.


I think it is OK to sometimes ask for only the pros or only the cons, but you should explain why you are doing so in the question. Such a question should justify itself as an exception to the more usual question about the pros and the cons.

I'm not clear on your ante-penultimate paragraph: are you saying you want to ask and self answer two questions because you don't think you could write a balanced answer on one? Will you write a good answer on one and a not-so-good answer on the other? That seems to be pushing it. And I recommend that you edit out your last sentence, although it was meant humorously. We shouldn't artificially up the question rate.


First of all I want to address your last sentences (even if it might not have been seriously): We are a long-running beta that falls exactly into the category of "won't be closed, but won't graduate either". See Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites. Seeding questions doesn't make any significant difference. We should really not base decisions about single questions on our question rate. It is a different story for scope questions, where establishing new topics can lead to sustained and significant increase due to recruiting new users. As you yourself analyzed pointedly: Our problem is too few users:

The top 10 most active users wrote 890 questions and 1684 answers for 26% of the questions and 20% of the answers.

But I digress, I just felt a strong need to promote quality before quantity. So lets get back to separating pros and cons:

If there is a good reason as in this night question, it is absolutely fine to ask for one side (side as in either pros or cons). This is probably true for question that are heavily biased towards one side. In that case it makes sense to ask about aspects of the other, less prominent side. Other than that, I can't think of reasons to separate. Very often it isn't meaningful to strictly divide, as there is no clear line between pros and cons. One aspect might be an advantage in some respects, but a disadvantage in others.

So in general I don't think pros and cons should be separated. And to have a real discussions about the pros and cons of separating pros and cons, I would need to have concrete examples or characteristics of such a question.

  • 1
    Very well put.....
    – ab2
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 17:56

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