When I asked Is "pikuach nefesh" on shabbos "hutrah" or "dichuya"?, someone left a comment saying that "This is a rather famous Yeshivish Chakira [question discussed in Yeshivish circles] . Answering this is basically opinion based."

Is that really the case?

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    What a chakira is. – msh210 Nov 26 '14 at 21:14
  • @msh210 Thanks for the link! – MTL Nov 26 '14 at 21:33
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    I'm not sure if the downvote is because of a low-quality question (which I don't think it is)....because it's certainly not because of a disagreement with the premise, because no premise was made -- my opinion is in my answer. – MTL Nov 26 '14 at 22:53

I believe that these questions are not primarily opinion based, though I don't have case-studies to back this up.

The reason I think that they are on-topic is because a question like that is effectively asking for sources, looking for answers along the lines of "R' Elchanan says X, although R' Baruch Ber disagrees because of Y, etc," and not asking for anyone's personal opinion on the matter.

  • I don't have much time right now, but I think I could find some support for my opinion by skimming the lomdus tag. – MTL Nov 26 '14 at 20:54

Well, the way you worded the question implied that you were looking for a definitive answer to the question, rather than a general review of what sources say.

A standard cop-out to the "opinion-based" problem is to ask for only answers that quote sources. That is fine, but my only point was that as written the question wasn't asking for both sides, it seemed to be asking for a conclusion. Any conclusion on this question is strictly an opinion, in my opinion ;-).

I do think any question is improved by stating what you already know about it and by specifically stating that you are looking for sources on the question, when you are.

  • Ah, thanks for your opinion. ....let's see what the community thinks of our answers through voting. – MTL Nov 26 '14 at 20:52
  • When I wrote the question, I did think that it was pretty clear that I only wanted answers that cited sources.... – MTL Nov 26 '14 at 20:53
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    @Shokhet re your first comment: I agree with both of you, and have upvoted both answers. I agree with your answer, Shokhet, that it's not an opinion question because it seeks sources, and I agree with your answer, Yishai, that that source-seeking is better made explicit. – msh210 Nov 26 '14 at 21:13
  • @msh210 D'you think that needs to be made clearer in my question? – MTL Nov 26 '14 at 21:33
  • @Shokhet, needs? No, the question clearly states two sourced views exist in general and asks about the specific case, so you seem to be seeking sources. But would making it explicit improve the question IMO? Yes, it'd clarify. – msh210 Nov 26 '14 at 21:45
  • @msh210 All right; clarified. Thanks for your help with that :) – MTL Nov 26 '14 at 22:12

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