By virtue of using the word "average" in a question, am I asking for answers that are opinion based and not objective?

I came across an article whose heading was

What Is The Average Rate Of Return For Day Traders?

How can I re phrase this above question so that I don't have to use the word average and thereby receive objective answers and not opinions?


The use of the word average in a sentence to me is a broad comment.

What is the average American?Are they male or female?Once you say one or the other almost half are now not average, so there is no average gender.

This is the reason why I feel the use of the word average in the above sentence is probably an invitation to opinion based answers.

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, JHCL, Hot Licks, tchrist, anongoodnurse Oct 26 '15 at 18:57

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • "Mathematical mean". – Hot Licks Oct 25 '15 at 14:40
  • From this source: Since most day traders do not disclose their trading results to anyone but the IRS, an exact answer to how much money an average day trader makes is impossible to answer. However, there are numerous sources of information, including reliable academic studies, that offer clues on average earnings. The majority of available information does not shed a positive light on day trading. The research typically indicates that, in fact, most day traders lose money. – Graffito Oct 25 '15 at 14:49
  • You are asking for "a rate". What makes you think you can expect to get an opinion with that question? – user140086 Oct 25 '15 at 15:00
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    Why would you need to rephrase the question so that you don't have to use the word "average" if it's from an article you "came across"? Are you the secret author of this article? – Robusto Oct 25 '15 at 15:04
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    I think this question is entirely a matter of opinion. I can't for the life of me think why OP should think including the word "average" in a question has any bearing on whether answers are "objective" or not. But whatever his reason for wishing to avoid it, I suggest likely alternatives are expected (by either the day traders themselves, people using their services, or by those studying their activities), or target (set by traders or their paymasters). – FumbleFingers Oct 25 '15 at 15:05

You are conflating two entirely different questions.

The first, "What is the average rate of return for day traders" refers to an entirely mathematical and numeric quantity - rate of return. Since this is (in principle) entirely quantifiable, "average" means "mean" and there is no ambiguity. Any subjective replies to the question do not, in fact, respond to the question.

The second, "What is the rate of return for an average day trader" is a much more ambiguous and nebulous question. What does one quantify in determining the nature of a day trader so as to allow determining the average? A great many people will seize on "average" to mean "representative", and then use "representative" to mean a narrowly-defined subset of day traders. In this case, trying to employ a term other than "average" rather misses the point - day traders display a wide range of qualities and competence, and trying to shoehorn all day traders into one category which also describes an overall competence is a futile, Procrustean exercise.


I would go for mean or arithmetic mean as an alternative for average. Mean has a well-defined mathematical formulation, whereas average can be interpreted mathematically or as a general English term.

You might also want to ask for the median, which may be a more useful figure.

  • But first we need a medium, to divine what Opie really means in his question. – Hot Licks Oct 25 '15 at 19:57

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