While often called the dismal science, economics is a social science at the end of the day. Social sciences don't have absolute truths and thus require debate and discussion.

I thus feel that by not allowing discussion questions, we are doing two things.

1) We are boxing people into ask questions about economics modeling in or derivations of neoclassical models which are generally quite maths intensive. [This can also enforce neoclassical economics as the dominant school of thought through positive feedback loops]

2) Because of the above, the site can never truly "grow" as the answers to the above topics are generally "texbook" answers and the site will ultimately lack the questions required to attract top economists.


  • $\begingroup$ You can just as fairly ask "Why are discussion questions not encouraged in the hard sciences?". $\endgroup$
    – EconJohn Mod
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ also im fairly sure that this question is more suited for the main site (though it might get closed because it is an opinionated question). $\endgroup$
    – EconJohn Mod
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 23:47
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Could you add an example or two of discussion questions so we can have a better idea what exactly you have in mind? $\endgroup$
    – Ubiquitous
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 6:59
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Are the site rules overly restrictive? $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 7:22
  • $\begingroup$ This question seems to be prompted by the response to this earlier question. $\endgroup$ Commented May 11, 2018 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain what you mean by "neoclassical economics"? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


Just in case that by "discussion questions" the OP means "questions that do not have modeling-mathematical content", then nothing in the SE universe "forbids" or even discourages such questions.

In any case, the very structure of the SE sites is to facilitate "question and answer" not "debate and discussion".

After almost five years of experience in the SE sites I can say that trying to have a conversation through comments essentially is not very productive. But this is the only way one can have a discussion in the main and meta sites.

On the other hand, the chat rooms have exactly this purpose: to allow for live discussion and debate.


The discursive nature of the social sciences is not necessarily in the nature of a dialog or discussion. It is possible to post good subjective questions regarding social science discourses and receive good subjective answers without there ever being a discussion between users.

Consider: “How does Mandel’s exegesis of political economy differ from I I Rubin’s?” There is no need for discussion here. While multiple valid answers exist, users don’t have to discuss the topic with each other to answer. Answers need to provide one of, some of, or all of the exegeses of the valid differences.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .