This question has been asked:

How can i deal with someone obsessed with me on a website?

There is a comment:

Are you talking about Stack Exchange or some other site? If you're talking about SE you really should be asking at Meta Stack Exchange instead.

And a replying comment:

@curious the point of this site is any interpersonal issue. If you want to limit it, bring that up on meta.interpersonal Is it ok to ask questions about issues on Stack Exchange? If so, where do we draw the line?

The OP has been freely discussing a recent suspension in our site's chat room, and discussing the issues being referred to in the question.

Is this a suitable question for our site, or should it be a meta question elsewhere?

If it is suitable - at what point do we draw the line?

  • 5
    By the way, the specific question you linked to comes with a lot of baggage from other sites, and it has clearly already attracted attention from various people and groups of people from across SE. I'd like to remind everyone voting on this meta post to consider the general issue, and all the possible questions about SE issues that we might get, rather than focusing too much on this one particular instance. Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 10:16
  • @Randal'Thor although this instance is something we need to protect the site from. We need clear guidelines.
    – user57
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 11:07
  • 1
    It seems to me that OP is intentionally not mentioning the specific website. Asking for this or even mentioning it seems rude in my opinion. Rand has already explained this specific question has more baggage, but I think the guideline should include not guessing or openly telling the source of the issue. I have had this happened to me on other SE's, where I purposely did not mention the name of a company and people started guessing anyway. It can be hurtful and cause a lot of problems.
    – Summer
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 14:20

4 Answers 4


Interpersonal Skills is not the "court of public opinion" of Stack Exchange.

If you have a serious grievance with the users, moderators, or community managers on this site or any other site in the network, that needs to be voiced (preferably in a calm and open manner) on the child meta of the site the issue relates to if it's a single-site issue or on Meta Stack Exchange if it's a broader network-wide issue. You should also feel welcome to use the "contact us" link at the bottom of any page (at the top right corner of the footer) if you feel that only a community manager can address your issue. If you have already done this and disagree with the outcome, keep contacting them. Bringing it here is inappropriate.

If you honestly have an interpersonal question you would like assistance with that relates to interacting with other users on Stack Exchange, that is welcome here. The key is that the question could be asked about behaviors in general or on another website. So, for example:

How to politely notify in an online conversation that I am a woman?

While this question mentions Stack Exchange as a place where this has happened and the answers to it might have some specific advice relevant to SE, the same question could be asked of reddit or Twitter or any forum where gender isn't specifically indicated for every user.

This is visible in Arwen Undómiel's answer:

In my experience, I've never really had this type of interaction go badly (although it will spark a "oh, so why do you use that avatar?" question often, that's not applicable to your situation). The other person will often just go "Oh, okay! Sorry!" and then you can flag the comments as no longer needed ;)

That last part about flagging as no longer needed is specific to Stack Exchange but the question and the general recommendation in the answer applies in most places with a slight adjustment.

  • 1
    This well balanced and nuanced answer reflects your vast experience ar Stack Exchange. Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 15:20

Questions about learning and applying skills are on-topic.

Questions about specific Stack Exchange grievances need to be taken to either Meta Stack Exchange, or the SE staff.

  • +1. And in this particular case, the best option is to contact the site admins through the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 7:40

The Stack Exchange's meta support site was created to deal with social issues as well as technical. While such questions may involve interpersonal concerns, I'm going to ask that we don't split these conversations between two sites. Ask your questions on meta.stackexchange.com (or the specific meta site where the problem occurred) so the broader Stack Exchange community can benefit from whatever is being discussed.

Generally speaking, if the Stack Exchange name does not come up in the question, dealing with online social issues may be on topic here. But if the Stack Exchange location is relevant (where an SE feature or SE etiquette may be the solution), then please bring your question to meta.stackexchange.com or the individual meta site where the problem occurred.

  • 1
    Normally, just because a topic is ontopic on one site doesnt mean it's offtopic on another site. Why should that be different in this case?
    – user288
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 16:51
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    @Hamlet It's not about topicality. It's not productive to split off the meta social issues and community support discussions between the two sites. I think we can safely forgo questions about SE-centric issues for the benefit of everyone on the network. See Catija's♦ answer for another take on what I wrote above. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 16:59
  • To be fair, my answer isn't as limiting as this one. I don't mind the limitation. I think it will make deciding when to close easier for us. I do think that questions that would relate to all web-based forms of communication, that just happen to refer to SE should be welcome here and I think you agree with that, seeing as such a question was left open. this one
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 17:22
  • @Catija Here's an acid test — if you can strike out all instances of "Stack Exchange" and still have the question work, it is likely okay. The problem is when solutions will likely desire SE-specific features or etiquette. If someone asked, "Can I love someone I only know online?" (for example), whether they met on Stack Exchange or somewhere else will hardly make a difference. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 17:29
  • That's certainly reasonable. So, when closing, would it be helpful to give guidance that "if this question can be rewritten such that it doesn't apply explicitly to SE, please do so". I think that this question could easily apply to a forum or chat space rather than SE specifically. Obviously, if the OP is only interested in the question as it relates to SE, then the question should stay closed but if it's just about getting along on a website, that should be fine.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:11
  • @Catija Personally, I wouldn't press the issue. The author is clearly interested in a Stack Exchange problem they can ask in meta. If they have another question, they can ask it. I'm just not a big fan of doing the bait-and-switch thing turning off-topic questions into something the author did not ask. I can only speak for myself in that regard. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:20
  • I didn't mean to imply that anyone should change it. I know that some people may take a liberal hand with editing to push something to be on topic - I'm not one of those people. I wouldn't recommend that anyone else make that change, only the OP. If the question was closed quickly (because of this policy) and it wasn't answered, I guess I don't see why the OP couldn't edit it if they were interested in a broader question rather than asking a new question. I'm also thinking this may be a good use of one of our custom close reasons.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:25
  • 2
    You're not going to get all the questions in one place anyway, because there are 170 child metas where they're on-topic and there's also Community Building, another SE site, where they're definitely on-topic. I agree with Catija's answer here: IPS is not the court of appeals for issues on SE, but one can ask valid questions here about interactions that occurred on SE -- or Reddit or Facebook or Quora. The question needs to be about the interaction, not about the platform features, but it's not off-topic just because it occurred in a particular place. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 17:30

A good question about a serious potential issue: and the answer should be that it is not OK to post a question at Interpersonal.SE about any specific interpersonal issues or grievances originating within the Stack Exchange network. The community needs to make a call depending on how generally or how specifically the question relates to a dispute originating on SE.

A simple demarcation of domain, as already mentioned in earlier answer, could be made that

Interpersonal.SE will take an on-topic question about interpersonal interaction except when it relates to any grievance or disputed behavior at Stack Exchange sites, in which case it falls within the domain of meta.SE or the meta site of a specific website at SE.

This is in fact necessary to ensure that Interpersonal.SE does not become a forum for disputing differences of opinion that occurred elsewhere in the network. The proof can be found in the 'debate' now in progress in the comments section under the original question.

OP might well have a genuine grievance but it should be taken to the appropriate moderator recommended by the SE network, or raised as a public meta question at the appropriate site -- not at interpersonal.SE or the interpersonal meta site. The action of OP in not mentioning at the outset that the dispute relates to other SE sites should also alert experienced members here that there is currently scope for asking a seemingly general question about a specific dispute: in that context, not every question on an interpersonal topic can be answered as a general question before ascertaining whether it refers to a dispute at a network site, which would make it really a meta question for meta.SE!

  • 2
    I disagree: if the question is a valid one, it shouldn't matter where it originated. Asking about specific issues on SE like "how to deal with user X harassing me on site Y" should be taken to meta, but general questions about interpersonal skills shouldn't be closed or migrated just because they were inspired by some event on SE. Or would you argue for closing this question just because the OP says this issue has caused them some trouble on SE? Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 10:12
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    @Rand al'thor I agree the community needs to make a call depending on how generally or how specifically the question relates to a dispute originating on SE. My answer was specifically directed at the type of question referred to in this meta post. You can see how the comments section under that question deteriorated into an argument totally unrelated to interpersonal skills. Again, a strong position needs to be taken to prevent Interpersonal.SE from becoming a forum for 'debating' SE disputes. Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 10:17

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