Quiz gripes

I've been doing a lot of online personality quiz type things because I'm working with a partner on maybe developing a new online personality quiz type site thing. Anyway, here's a bunch of gripes I have about the online quiz stuff.

Questions of the form "Should X?" For example, "Should the government censor publicly broadcast television and radio shows for profane language?" These type of questions seem to be ignorant of the Is-ought problem. The basic idea is that it's irrational and meaningless to ever talk about how things should be. I'm guessing that the intent of the question is asking what I'd like. I.e., what the questioner is really interested in is "Would you like it if the government censored publicly broadcast television and radio shows for profane language?" or something along those lines.

To me, the question has completely different semantics, and thus completely different answers. The answer to the first question is "It's impossible to know what should be." The answer to the second question is "No". Unfortunately, almost every question of these forms, when they appear on online quizzes, only have "yes" or "no" as an option for answers.

So why don't I simply assume that whenever someone asks "Should X?" they really mean "Would you like it if X?"? Because that might not be the question they're trying to ask. Perhaps instead they are asking "Would the world be a better place if X?", or "Do you think the world would be a better place if the government censored publicly broadcast television and radio shows for profane language?"

Now recall that my answer to "Would you like it if X?" was "No". However, my answer to "Would the world be a better place if X?" is "Possibly yes". That is, sometimes what I want is not in line with what is best for the world.

Actually, it's getting a bit late now, so I'll save my other gripes for next time.

 
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1. msanford said:
Great observations! All this is is a huge logic puzzle: count me in if you want an extra brain to compose or audit questions!
Posted on Sun January 21st, 2007, 7:30 PM EST acknowledged

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