This site is built on testing the referencable accuracy of specific claims. And it does a good job. But I was recently prompted to consider whether strict accuracy is the same as truthfulness.
Two things came together. This question: Are black Americans responsible for more than 50% of homicides? and a recent article by Tim Harford in the Financial Times titled How politicians poisoned statistics.
Quoting the famous Harry Frankfurter essay On Bullshit he argues that
bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
His specific complaint appears to be that politicians (and political campaigners) appear to have become adept at quoting statistics that are strictly true but incredibly misleading when taken out of context. He uses plenty of statistics quoted in political debate from both the politics of the USA and the UK as examples.
An example in the article concerns misleading murder statistics and he quotes one example that illuminates the linked question above (though in a slightly different context). True, about 50% of USA homicides are committed by blacks, but only about 20% of homicides of whites (which provides extra context that a strict answer to the question asked on Skeptics might not provide). Other context that might get omitted from answers to this question might include the confounding variable of the relationship between poverty and murder rates and the disproportionate number of poor blacks in the USA.
The question I want to pose is how should questions where a lack of context might mislead be handled? Should we expect good answers to provide the broader (unrequested) context that points towards the broader truth rather than the specific accuracy of the claim?