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This question

What is the English word for "female philosopher"?

currently stands at +2/-5. I'd like to discuss why it's being downvoted.

I'm not suggesting that there should be any changes in behaviour, or changes to rules or anything like that, I just think it's an interesting topic.

What I suspect, is that people don't like either

  • The conversation/story-like tone of the question.
  • The fact that the story is about a guy flirting with a girl and getting her number.

Nevertheless, I think it remains an interesting question,

Are there any words for female philosophers or similar?

And in fact the OP gives context for how it's being used.

What are other people's thoughts?

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    I'll put my hand up and tell you I downvoted it without even reading the body of the question itself. Of the collection of reasons I downvote questions, two are primary: the question itself would never occur to a native speaker, because the answer is obvious, and so doesn't belong on the site, and the question embeds a false premise, and so is invalid. I downvoted this question for the former violation, but the latter applies as well (questions which commit this latter crime are even more annoying and odious when they do it to advance a particular political position, i.e. are peeving). – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 13:57
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    The explicit question 'is there a single word for female philosopher?' is reasonable (given that there are terms for other gendered professions), but the great majority of the question is the Urban Dictionary-like motivation, which is totally irrelevant (adds nothing to the explicit question). Remove that and you might not get so many downvotes. – Mitch Jun 25 '15 at 14:20
  • It is, in essence, a POB question, see my comment below Chenmuka's post. And what relevance has "masturbation" got to do with "philosopher" female or not? And the OP talks about it being "unfair", unfair to whom? To men who want to specify that a woman is a philosopher or to women who want to emphasize the importance of their sex? – Mari-Lou A Jun 25 '15 at 15:20
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    What @Dan said. I can just about get my head around someone asking if there's a term for a female chess grandmaster, since master might be thought to imply male. But philosopher has no such gender implications, so it seems to me asking for a specific word that does can only reflect some underlying wish to discriminate. You might as well ask for a word that specifically applies only to negroid philosophers - even if there was one, it would probably be considered inappropriate to use it today. – FumbleFingers Jun 25 '15 at 16:14
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    If I can guess what might motivate others to downvote I'd venture it's because the motivation just screams idle, Urban Dictionary-speculative 'fratboy' perspective. – Mitch Jun 25 '15 at 17:19
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Forget about the backstory: I actually enjoy questions which have a bit of a narrative to them, and especially ones which share personal motivations for asking. That makes them not only more fun to read, it makes them easier to answer! I didn't downvote for the narrative aspect of the question.

Also, forget the indelicate details; I'm going to hazard a guess that if any of you knew me personally, "prudish" would not be in the top 5 adjectives you'd use to describe me ("impatient" would be). I would not, do not, and did not downvote because of sexual language.

Rather, let me turn the question around on you. How would you vote on a question which asked:

What is the English word for the color of the sky on a sunny, cloudless day at noon?

I'm going to hazard another guess that you'd vote it down (at a minimum, you'd close-vote it for lack of research).

As I said in my comment:

I'll put my hand up and tell you I downvoted it without even reading the body of the question itself. Of the collection of reasons I downvote questions, two are primary: the question itself would never occur to a native speaker, because the answer is obvious, and so doesn't belong on the site, and the question embeds a false premise, and so is invalid. I downvoted this question for the former violation, but the latter applies as well (questions which commit this latter crime are even more annoying and odious when they do it to advance a particular political position, i.e. are peeving).

I was being honest: I voted down immediately after reading the title, before I read anything else. You could make an argument that I should not do that, but I did, and in this particular case I don't see anything which suggests I should reverse my decision. Do you?

tl;dr: It's a dumb question.

And, I suppose, for the sake of completeness: questions on socially-relevant topics tend to attract more votes overall than simple factual questions, and questions which implicitly or explicitly advance the cause of equality for women tend to get upvoted. The reverse is true, too. That line of reasoning didn't motivate my personal downvote, but it may have influenced others.

Yes, I put all those adjectives in to preempt the wags in the audience. But, they're always making better wags. Let's see what they come up with.

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    Wait... so is there a word for such a sunny day? – Mitch Jun 25 '15 at 17:15
  • @Mitch I can't tell if that's a joke or not. – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 17:16
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    It is a joke, but I'm still left with a nagging uncertainty. Sometimes there really is a good word. – Mitch Jun 25 '15 at 17:16
  • @Mitch The (hypothetical) question is looking for the name of the color of the sky, not a word for the type of day. – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 17:19
  • Saudade? Sehnsucht? Cornflower? There's a lot of made up color terms, any one of which could capture the slightest nuance for how you felt when looking at a particular wavelength combination. – Mitch Jun 25 '15 at 18:17
  • @Mitch I guess that's what they mean by ask a dumb question.... – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 18:25
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Taken in a wider context, it is an interesting question on English usage. While there are many words that have a feminine ending, -ess or -rix, there are many that do not. A question regarding why this should be could elicit some interesting responses.

The first two paragraphs of introduction in the question don't help. I can see many people downvoting based on their wording alone. They are irrelevant to the core of the question, maybe editing them out would increase the question's popularity.

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    Agree the OP's premise is distracting, and, weakens the question's validity. He can name "her" anything he wants in his contacts page. What do I care? It is a POB question. – Mari-Lou A Jun 25 '15 at 15:05

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