The Dinner Table

Welcome to the Dinner Table! If you don’t know what the Dinner Table is, check out the intro post for a full explanation. We post a new weekly topic every Sunday. Readers can submit topics to [email protected]. We’ll credit you with first name/last initial/city (unless you specify otherwise), so make sure to tell us where you’re from.

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The Sun-Heaven Quandaryposts
Here's a quandary that's been plaguing me for a few weeks. It's not fun. I'm not happy about it. And now you have to deal with it too.
Teach Me Something - Round 2posts
Round 1 was a delight so let's do it again.
What would you do with the IQ dial?posts
Would you make yourself smarter if it would also mean happiness would be harder to come by?
WBW Caption Contestposts
This week's Dinner Table is a caption contest. I've always liked trying the New Yorker caption contest, despite being terrible at it, so let's give it a try here.
Male circumcision—beneficial procedure or human rights violation?posts
Good, healthy practice? Unnecessary, kind of barbaric ritual? Let's just make a decision on this.
Who is the most powerful person on the planet?posts
The president of the United States is often considered the leader of the free world, but who is the most powerful person on the planet?
How should we do government on Mars?posts
The concept of a colony on Mars in the near future is incredibly exciting. But it also opens up a lot of perplexing questions. One point of contention is how the Mars colony should be governed. Should we set up a similar system the way we do things on Earth? Or use Mars as an opportunity to try some...
When is it okay to lie?posts
If someone showed up at your door to murder your mother and asked if she was home, you'd probably be morally justified in saying no. But justified lying can be a slippery slope. Where do you draw the line?
Is there a ceiling on what our brains can understand?posts
A question that boggles my mind: Are we someone else's chimp?
Are designer babies a good thing?posts
Couples today are able to examine groups of embryos they produce and select one based on its traits, and we’re getting closer to a time when it may be commonplace for couples to tweak the DNA of a single embryo in order to change or enhance the traits of their future child. Are these developments ...
The Mental Swiss Army Knifeposts
A buy-it-for-life multi-tool for your brain.
The Loyalty Quandary: At what point would you turn your friend in?posts
How bad a crime would a friend have to commit for you to turn them in for it? How about if the criminal was your spouse, your parent, or your child? Where do you draw the line between personal loyalty and loyalty to your fellow citizens and to the law?
Thoughts on Brexit?posts
So...Brexit just happened. What does it all mean?
What would it be like to be a person with no senses?posts
If a person never sees, hears, feels, smells, or tastes anything—not once, ever—what would be going on in their brain?
Could human-level intelligence have evolved underwater?posts
Could there be wars, satellite launches, and concerts underwater?
What would you most regret not getting a chance to tell someone before you die?posts
If you were to die suddenly, what would you regret not having told anyone? Secret recipe? Overdue apology? Funeral arrangements?
What's the best product you own?posts
Tell us about the best product you've ever bought—one that has stood the test of time and proven to be completely worth the price.
Does Monogamy Work?posts
Is it possible to be loyal to just one person in a relationship? Or is monogamy doomed to fail?
Dinner Table: What's your favorite secret travel spot?posts
You know that place you went to that time by accident and it turned out to be awesome? Tell us the deal so that we can go.
The Two Envelopes Problemposts
Ready to act like an insane person?
Spanking Survey—Resultsposts
Here's who thinks spanking is okay and who doesn't.
The Experience Machine Thought Experimentposts
If you could permanently plug into a machine that would allow you to experience your ideal life—but none of it would be real—would you do it?
Is it okay for parents to spank their kids?posts
A lot of strong opinions on both sides of this.
Teach Me Somethingposts
If you smushed together the brains of all Wait But Why readers, it would be a cube the size of a three-story mansion. Let's mine that cube.
Is it Ethical to Eat Meat?posts
Simple question. Raging debate.
Thoughts on Ayn Rand?posts
One of the most polarizing figures of our time. Let's discuss why.
If you could learn one statistic about your life, what would it be?posts
If you could learn one statistic about your life, what would it be and why? Whether it be knowing exactly how many words you've spoken, how many miles you've walked, or something very specific like the number of red skittles you've eaten in your lifetime.
Why is There Something Instead of Nothing?posts
The more you think about this, the less it makes sense.
Ask a Question, Answer a Questionposts
Two simple options, many possibilities.
Can You Guess What Other Readers Are Guessing? – QUESTIONposts
What's your best guess for what other WBW readers' best guess is for what your best guess is about what they're guessing?
Taxes Thought Experimentposts
What tax percentage would you pay if you could choose? What about if everyone else would have to pay the same percentage?
Would Erasing All Human Knowledge of History Be a Good Thing?posts
Would doing so rid us of a lot of unnecessary hatred? Or simply strip us of the wisdom not to make the same mistakes?
What's Your Favorite Hidden Gem on the Internet?posts
You know that random site you stumbled upon that's awesome? But not many people know it? Tell us about it.
Which Woman Should Go on the $10 Bill?posts
The Treasury has announced that a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. Who should she be?
How Do People Do Food Where You're From?posts
Let us know how the culinary traditions of your country/culture/ethnicity/religion/family—anything from the types of ingredients or dishes to the way you set the table to eating-related rituals to the time of day food is eaten. It's all interesting!
What Other Type of Person Would You Be For a Week?posts
Would you want to spend a week as someone of the opposite sex? someone very old? very beautiful? very ugly? or severely handicapped? If so, which one would most intrigue you?
Is Success Smiled Upon More in the US Than Elsewhere?posts
Elon Musk believes that the attitude towards success is different in the US than elsewhere. Where in the US, people think, "Good for them" when someone succeeds, in many other countries, people see individual success as someone "rising beyond their station" or becoming the "tall poppy" that should b...
If You Could Only Save the Louvre's Art or Its Visitors, Which Would You Save?posts
Say on a given morning, there are 100 people in the Louvre in Paris. If a wicked sorcerer threatened to vaporize all people in the museum or all of its art, sparing one or the other based on your plea, which would you save? What, if any, fruits of our culture are worth more than even a million lives...
What's the Best Advice You've Ever Received?posts
Have you ever heard a piece of advice or nugget of wisdom that was particularly impactful and stuck with you for a long time? If so, tell us so we can have it too.
If a Time Machine Could Take You Anywhere for One Day, When/Where Would You Go?posts
You find a time machine that can take you anytime in the past and anytime in the future, at any location in the world. When and where will you go?
What’s The Best Joke You Know?posts
Every once in awhile, someone tells you a really good joke. And you’re like, “Shit I gotta remember that” and then you don’t remember. So if you’re one of those people that has a good joke, tell it here.
Advice For Job Applicants?posts
People who do a lot of hiring know exactly what the Do's and Don't's are for the job application process, while people applying for jobs are often total or near amateurs at doing so and will inevitably make rookie mistakes in the process. The WBW community contains a ton of people on both sides of t...
What's Your All-Time Favorite Movie Scene?posts
Doesn't have to be a scene from your favorite movie, just your favorite scene from any movie. Post a link to the scene if you can.
What Does the World Get Wrong About Your Demographic?posts
When it comes to your gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, appearance, or anything else—is there something about the way well-meaning people in society view you or treat you that you wish would change?
What's a Great Two-Person Game?posts
There are so many great creative group games—whether it's something like hearts or poker or a big ordeal game like Pictionary or Charades—but when it comes to two-person games, there's a shortage of well-known great options.
Thoughts on Tipping?posts
Who gets tipped in your country and how much? Are you a good tipper? Thoughts on the American tipping culture? If you're a tipped professional, how much are you tipped, and is that the right amount?
What's Something I Can Learn or Do in 10 Minutes That Would Be Useful for the Rest of My Life?posts
I've come across this question on the internet a few times before, and it always seems to bring out some great responses.
Does America's College System Make Sense?posts
Some think it's an expensive waste of time. Others believe it's a total necessity. Do you think the American college system is a good thing, or should it change?
What’s an Invention the World Needs to Have?posts
You know that brilliant invention you thought of but you don't want to tell anyone because you're planning to invent it some day and become a billionaire? Well you and I both know you're not actually gonna ever do it, so tell us about it.
What's Your Favorite Sports Moment?posts
What's your favorite sports-watching moment? It can be something you watched live or on TV, pro baseball or college rugby or a 10-year-old's soccer game—anything goes.
Show Us the Best Picture You've Ever Takenposts
Post the best picture you've ever taken. Lots of definitions of what makes a picture great, feel free to get creative.
If your child were to be boring, stupid, or ugly, which one would you prefer?posts
If your child were to be boring, stupid, or ugly, which one would you prefer? Would your choice depend on the child’s gender?
Who From Our Modern Era Will Be Universally Known in the Year 4015?posts
They lived over 2000 years ago, but we all know who Buddha, Confucius, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, and Jesus Christ are. In the year 4015, when our modern era is 2000 years in the past, who from our time will be universally famous?
Thoughts on Serial?posts
What are your thoughts on Serial? Who do you think did it? Do you agree with Sarah Koenig's conclusion? Thoughts on the show itself?
How Would You Improve the iPhone?posts
It's time for Christmas wishes—what would you add to, change, or fix about your iPhone?
How Would You Improve Your Android Phone?posts
It's time for Christmas wishes—what would you add to, change, or fix about your Android phone?
What Don't We Know About Where You're From?posts
There are people here from every non-North Korea country in the world. Let's take advantage.
Online Dating: Good Thing or Bad Thing?posts
Online dating, once a fringe and stigmatized activity, is now over a $2 billion industry. But is this a positive development or something to be concerned about? Is online dating making the world better and dating more effective, or is something important being lost or sacrificed as a result? And wha...
How Useful Would Your Current Knowledge Be if You Were Back in 10,000 BC?posts
You're back in 10,000 BC. A local tribe invites you in, not knowing you're from the future. How could you use your knowledge of the future to help them, and yourself?
What's One Book, Movie, Song, Poem, Etc. You're Grateful For?posts
For 51 weeks of the year, it's fine to focus all your energy on obsessing over what you don't have and take the good things in your life totally for granted. But not this week.
How Long Would You Live if You Could Choose ANY Number of Years?posts
You wake up and find yourself alone in room. The only things in the room are a table, a chair, a calculator, and a note. You have 10 minutes to make one very, very big choice.
What's Something About Your Job We'd Be Surprised to Learn?posts
No matter what you do for work, the rest of us don't get it. Tell us something interesting or surprising that we don't know about your job.
What’s something you know now you wish you had known at 22?posts
We’re all born amateurs at life and we get better at it as time goes on. What’s something you know now that you wish you had known when you were 22? (If you’re 22 or younger, what’s something you wish you had known five years ago?)

 

The Sun-Heaven Quandaryposts
Here's a quandary that's been plaguing me for a few weeks. It's not fun. I'm not happy about it. And now you have to deal with it too.
Teach Me Something - Round 2posts
Round 1 was a delight so let's do it again.
What would you do with the IQ dial?posts
Would you make yourself smarter if it would also mean happiness would be harder to come by?
WBW Caption Contestposts
This week's Dinner Table is a caption contest. I've always liked trying the New Yorker caption contest, despite being terrible at it, so let's give it a try here.
Male circumcision—beneficial procedure or human rights violation?posts
Good, healthy practice? Unnecessary, kind of barbaric ritual? Let's just make a decision on this.
Who is the most powerful person on the planet?posts
The president of the United States is often considered the leader of the free world, but who is the most powerful person on the planet?
How should we do government on Mars?posts
The concept of a colony on Mars in the near future is incredibly exciting. But it also opens up a lot of perplexing questions. One point of contention is how the Mars colony should be governed. Should we set up a similar system the way we do things on Earth? Or use Mars as an opportunity to try some...
When is it okay to lie?posts
If someone showed up at your door to murder your mother and asked if she was home, you'd probably be morally justified in saying no. But justified lying can be a slippery slope. Where do you draw the line?
Is there a ceiling on what our brains can understand?posts
A question that boggles my mind: Are we someone else's chimp?
Are designer babies a good thing?posts
Couples today are able to examine groups of embryos they produce and select one based on its traits, and we’re getting closer to a time when it may be commonplace for couples to tweak the DNA of a single embryo in order to change or enhance the traits of their future child. Are these developments ...
The Mental Swiss Army Knifeposts
A buy-it-for-life multi-tool for your brain.
The Loyalty Quandary: At what point would you turn your friend in?posts
How bad a crime would a friend have to commit for you to turn them in for it? How about if the criminal was your spouse, your parent, or your child? Where do you draw the line between personal loyalty and loyalty to your fellow citizens and to the law?
Thoughts on Brexit?posts
So...Brexit just happened. What does it all mean?
What would it be like to be a person with no senses?posts
If a person never sees, hears, feels, smells, or tastes anything—not once, ever—what would be going on in their brain?
Could human-level intelligence have evolved underwater?posts
Could there be wars, satellite launches, and concerts underwater?
What would you most regret not getting a chance to tell someone before you die?posts
If you were to die suddenly, what would you regret not having told anyone? Secret recipe? Overdue apology? Funeral arrangements?
What's the best product you own?posts
Tell us about the best product you've ever bought—one that has stood the test of time and proven to be completely worth the price.
Does Monogamy Work?posts
Is it possible to be loyal to just one person in a relationship? Or is monogamy doomed to fail?
Dinner Table: What's your favorite secret travel spot?posts
You know that place you went to that time by accident and it turned out to be awesome? Tell us the deal so that we can go.
The Two Envelopes Problemposts
Ready to act like an insane person?
Spanking Survey—Resultsposts
Here's who thinks spanking is okay and who doesn't.
The Experience Machine Thought Experimentposts
If you could permanently plug into a machine that would allow you to experience your ideal life—but none of it would be real—would you do it?
Is it okay for parents to spank their kids?posts
A lot of strong opinions on both sides of this.
Teach Me Somethingposts
If you smushed together the brains of all Wait But Why readers, it would be a cube the size of a three-story mansion. Let's mine that cube.
Is it Ethical to Eat Meat?posts
Simple question. Raging debate.
Thoughts on Ayn Rand?posts
One of the most polarizing figures of our time. Let's discuss why.
If you could learn one statistic about your life, what would it be?posts
If you could learn one statistic about your life, what would it be and why? Whether it be knowing exactly how many words you've spoken, how many miles you've walked, or something very specific like the number of red skittles you've eaten in your lifetime.
Why is There Something Instead of Nothing?posts
The more you think about this, the less it makes sense.
Ask a Question, Answer a Questionposts
Two simple options, many possibilities.
Can You Guess What Other Readers Are Guessing? – QUESTIONposts
What's your best guess for what other WBW readers' best guess is for what your best guess is about what they're guessing?
Taxes Thought Experimentposts
What tax percentage would you pay if you could choose? What about if everyone else would have to pay the same percentage?
Would Erasing All Human Knowledge of History Be a Good Thing?posts
Would doing so rid us of a lot of unnecessary hatred? Or simply strip us of the wisdom not to make the same mistakes?
What's Your Favorite Hidden Gem on the Internet?posts
You know that random site you stumbled upon that's awesome? But not many people know it? Tell us about it.
Which Woman Should Go on the $10 Bill?posts
The Treasury has announced that a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. Who should she be?
How Do People Do Food Where You're From?posts
Let us know how the culinary traditions of your country/culture/ethnicity/religion/family—anything from the types of ingredients or dishes to the way you set the table to eating-related rituals to the time of day food is eaten. It's all interesting!
What Other Type of Person Would You Be For a Week?posts
Would you want to spend a week as someone of the opposite sex? someone very old? very beautiful? very ugly? or severely handicapped? If so, which one would most intrigue you?
Is Success Smiled Upon More in the US Than Elsewhere?posts
Elon Musk believes that the attitude towards success is different in the US than elsewhere. Where in the US, people think, "Good for them" when someone succeeds, in many other countries, people see individual success as someone "rising beyond their station" or becoming the "tall poppy" that should b...
If You Could Only Save the Louvre's Art or Its Visitors, Which Would You Save?posts
Say on a given morning, there are 100 people in the Louvre in Paris. If a wicked sorcerer threatened to vaporize all people in the museum or all of its art, sparing one or the other based on your plea, which would you save? What, if any, fruits of our culture are worth more than even a million lives...
What's the Best Advice You've Ever Received?posts
Have you ever heard a piece of advice or nugget of wisdom that was particularly impactful and stuck with you for a long time? If so, tell us so we can have it too.
If a Time Machine Could Take You Anywhere for One Day, When/Where Would You Go?posts
You find a time machine that can take you anytime in the past and anytime in the future, at any location in the world. When and where will you go?
What’s The Best Joke You Know?posts
Every once in awhile, someone tells you a really good joke. And you’re like, “Shit I gotta remember that” and then you don’t remember. So if you’re one of those people that has a good joke, tell it here.
Advice For Job Applicants?posts
People who do a lot of hiring know exactly what the Do's and Don't's are for the job application process, while people applying for jobs are often total or near amateurs at doing so and will inevitably make rookie mistakes in the process. The WBW community contains a ton of people on both sides of t...
What's Your All-Time Favorite Movie Scene?posts
Doesn't have to be a scene from your favorite movie, just your favorite scene from any movie. Post a link to the scene if you can.
What Does the World Get Wrong About Your Demographic?posts
When it comes to your gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, appearance, or anything else—is there something about the way well-meaning people in society view you or treat you that you wish would change?
What's a Great Two-Person Game?posts
There are so many great creative group games—whether it's something like hearts or poker or a big ordeal game like Pictionary or Charades—but when it comes to two-person games, there's a shortage of well-known great options.
Thoughts on Tipping?posts
Who gets tipped in your country and how much? Are you a good tipper? Thoughts on the American tipping culture? If you're a tipped professional, how much are you tipped, and is that the right amount?
What's Something I Can Learn or Do in 10 Minutes That Would Be Useful for the Rest of My Life?posts
I've come across this question on the internet a few times before, and it always seems to bring out some great responses.
Does America's College System Make Sense?posts
Some think it's an expensive waste of time. Others believe it's a total necessity. Do you think the American college system is a good thing, or should it change?
What’s an Invention the World Needs to Have?posts
You know that brilliant invention you thought of but you don't want to tell anyone because you're planning to invent it some day and become a billionaire? Well you and I both know you're not actually gonna ever do it, so tell us about it.
What's Your Favorite Sports Moment?posts
What's your favorite sports-watching moment? It can be something you watched live or on TV, pro baseball or college rugby or a 10-year-old's soccer game—anything goes.
Show Us the Best Picture You've Ever Takenposts
Post the best picture you've ever taken. Lots of definitions of what makes a picture great, feel free to get creative.
If your child were to be boring, stupid, or ugly, which one would you prefer?posts
If your child were to be boring, stupid, or ugly, which one would you prefer? Would your choice depend on the child’s gender?
Who From Our Modern Era Will Be Universally Known in the Year 4015?posts
They lived over 2000 years ago, but we all know who Buddha, Confucius, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, and Jesus Christ are. In the year 4015, when our modern era is 2000 years in the past, who from our time will be universally famous?
Thoughts on Serial?posts
What are your thoughts on Serial? Who do you think did it? Do you agree with Sarah Koenig's conclusion? Thoughts on the show itself?
How Would You Improve the iPhone?posts
It's time for Christmas wishes—what would you add to, change, or fix about your iPhone?
How Would You Improve Your Android Phone?posts
It's time for Christmas wishes—what would you add to, change, or fix about your Android phone?
What Don't We Know About Where You're From?posts
There are people here from every non-North Korea country in the world. Let's take advantage.
Online Dating: Good Thing or Bad Thing?posts
Online dating, once a fringe and stigmatized activity, is now over a $2 billion industry. But is this a positive development or something to be concerned about? Is online dating making the world better and dating more effective, or is something important being lost or sacrificed as a result? And wha...
How Useful Would Your Current Knowledge Be if You Were Back in 10,000 BC?posts
You're back in 10,000 BC. A local tribe invites you in, not knowing you're from the future. How could you use your knowledge of the future to help them, and yourself?
What's One Book, Movie, Song, Poem, Etc. You're Grateful For?posts
For 51 weeks of the year, it's fine to focus all your energy on obsessing over what you don't have and take the good things in your life totally for granted. But not this week.
How Long Would You Live if You Could Choose ANY Number of Years?posts
You wake up and find yourself alone in room. The only things in the room are a table, a chair, a calculator, and a note. You have 10 minutes to make one very, very big choice.
What's Something About Your Job We'd Be Surprised to Learn?posts
No matter what you do for work, the rest of us don't get it. Tell us something interesting or surprising that we don't know about your job.
What’s something you know now you wish you had known at 22?posts
We’re all born amateurs at life and we get better at it as time goes on. What’s something you know now that you wish you had known when you were 22? (If you’re 22 or younger, what’s something you wish you had known five years ago?)