Sparked by this question:


Since it's a well known faux pas to ask, I'd like to find a different way so I can offer my congratulations (or not as the case may be).

I do not want to just wait till some point in a regular conversation with them, or eavesdrop on someone else's conversation to get this information. The goal is to ask, but to do so tactfully.

How can I ask tactfully whether or not someone is pregnant?

What should I do if I see a "How do I do X?" question when I think the answer (under normal circumstances) is "Don't!" because the poster is looking for a way to circumvent other peoples' autonomy or boundaries (and apparently isn't aware that this is a problem)?

Hypothetical other examples might be "How can I make a girl I like go out with me even though she said she's not interested?" and "How can I tell my son that I'm offended because my grandchildren don't want to sit on my lap anymore?"

Disregarding someone's autonomy and "tactful"/"polite"/etc don't go together - so I guess the question taken literally is unanswerable (other than "not possible")?


  • Downvote
  • Flag
  • Vote to close
  • Ignore
  • Edit the question
  • Write a "Don't!" answer, explaining why not
  • Something else?

Is there a FAQ page explaining the concepts described by Catija in this answer that can just be referenced?

In my opinion, (dis)respect for other peoples' autonomy is the root of a lot of interpersonal issues, hence it'd be useful to have some general guidelines somewhere...

  • 3
    The first example question seems a bit extreme without context, but the general gist is there, good question!
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:00
  • I think there are probably better examples (though the "even though she said she's not interested" was a good one), but +1. It's a good question and I hope you/we get a good answer. I do hope that whatever measure is suggested will be applied with moderation. As mentioned, I don't believe we'll consistently agree on what goes too far. Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 23:02

5 Answers 5


Write a "Don't!" answer, explaining why not.

People are probably asking these kinds of questions because they've heard "Don't!", but they don't fully grasp why they shouldn't.

I would say that "Don't because..." can be a really good answer. Knowing why you shouldn't do something is valuable.

While simply "Don't!" doesn't really answer the question and tells the asker something they likely already knew.

Voting to close seems somewhat inappropriate, because in some cases the "don't because..." answer is a good thing to have on the site.

Flagging seems inappropriate because you're asking a moderator to step in and make a judgement call in a very gray area.

Editing the question seems inappropriate because doing so would diverge from the author's intent.

Voting and/or ignoring are always an option. Your votes are yours to use as you see fit, and if the question isn't something you want to see, you're always free to skip it.

  • Can you take into account the question at hand here? Clearly, this question is a problem. Do you think that how it was handled was correct? What do you think of the answers it got?
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 17:14
  • 2
    @Catija I think deletion was unnecessary in this case. The top scoring answer made it worth keeping. interpersonal.stackexchange.com/a/1540/59
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 19:06
  • That's not how SE works. Amazing answers on low-quality questions get deleted if the question is deleted. We don't let very poor quality questions stick around merely to save an awesome answer.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 19:13
  • 2
    @Catija I feel like I'm missing a piece of the conversation here. Why was the question necessarily low quality, or more importantly, of such low quality that it needed to be deleted?
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:17
  • @Catija A similar issue came up on SO a long time ago. Sometimes the best answer to how do I do X is "Don't ever do X, because..." On SO it's a little more cut and dry, sometimes you technically can do X, but it's a terrible idea, because it'll leave your code vulnerable to attack or it creates a bad user experience, etc.
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:22
  • I don't know if this can be equated to one of the purely objective sites. If someone asked "how do I do X" on SO and the answer is "don't do X"... it's probably is because it doesn't work or is absurdly inefficient. When you're dealing with subjective questions, knowing why someone wants to do something (particularly when they know that they shouldn't do it) is an integral part of finding the best solution.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:25
  • If the OP had said, "I'm hosting an event for my entire staff and I want them to all feel comfortable. Right now I'm considering going to a winery but I'm worried... One of my female staff has put on a few pounds recently and I think she might be pregnant and I wouldn't want to make her feel excluded by having an event where she can't completely participate"... Now we know that the OP has an X/Y problem. They don't really need to know whether their staff member is pregnant. That's unimportant. The real question is "how can I make all of my staff feel included when I'm having an event?"
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:29
  • 1
    @Catija That's assuming that all of these questions will be XY problems. Some probably will be, but others may not. I'm still thinking that a better way to deal with it is to answer for X, even if the answer is "Don't, because..." If it turns out to be Y a second question can and probably should be asked.
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:35
  • I'm not talking about "all of these questions". I'm talking about this one question. I am not saying that all iterations of this question are bad or lacking detail or X/Y problems. Have you read my updated answer? I have no issue with the question as a type. I have an issue with this specific question and the lack of detail.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:39
  • @Catija On the workplace, there are questions like this and answer that they "you can't", "mind your own business". In fact I'd say that this is very important to know that they're things you just don't do, whatever the way. Having an IPS with every possible question on what you can do and what you can't will make it incomplete which is not the spirit or SE's site.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 11:29

I see those as completely valid questions, and it is absolutely legitimate to answer them. Why should the questions and their authors be punished by being closed, downvoted, deleted, or something else? What is wrong with this type of question?

The one thing which I see as wrong here is that they go against a very important principle in interpersonal skills (don't trample down people's boundaries). Which simply means that they are absolute beginner questions.

Now I know very well that experts get annoyed at absolute beginner questions which get the fundamentals of their area wrong. I have seen it happen hundreds of times both on Stack Exchange and outside of it. But should "it annoys the experts" automatically translate into "they are taboo"?

From the point of view of the asker, there is nothing wrong with the question. They have two goals - 1) satisfy their curiosity about a pregnancy, or get that hot girl to date them, or whatever, and 2) not hurt the other person. And if they are asking the question, they are not aware that their two goals are incompatible. If we want to be actually helping people out there - the kind of people who have to come and ask questions on a site like this - then yes, this is the kind of question we have to answer. And in the best case, also explain why.

The alternative would be aiming to get rid of these questions, by means ranging from downvotes to deleting. For the regulars, this can mean a lower number of annoying questions. For the askers, and the random users who came from a search engine, this is a catastrophe. First, coming for help in a place designed for that and getting shown the door for no obvious reason is rude, and it is also terribly ironic when it happens on a site for interpersonal skills. Second, if all potential experts here or elsewhere decided to prevent beginners' learning in such a way, they would either start taking advice from others (who only have bad advice but are at least willing to give it) or just barge ahead on their own. This goes against our goal of helping people learn.

I would even go as far as argue that this kind of question may be one of the best question we can answer. If a single inept person asks "how do I [break a boundary]", hears "Don't" and heeds this advice (and maybe even grasps the reasoning behind it), this is worth more than a gaggle of nice people learning the optimal frequency of complimenting their barista.

The arguments above are more about the lofty goals of "what do we give to the world". Separately, I would like to point out another thing: a rule to get rid of "such questions" would be pretty much unenforceable. Even the most sensitive among us tread over others' boundaries now and then - and this is because there aren't that many universal boundaries. We can probably agree on a bunch of usual ones within a culture, but this will leave hundreds of moderators' and users' hours wasted in pointless wars of "this question is otherwise cool, but should be closed because this is clearly about a boundary, and we have a rule to close those". I have seen similar rules - moderate on a site that has them - and can only advise this site to avoid them.

A few examples of questions asked on other sites whose answers are "you are asking for the impossible". If you are a non-expert in these areas, ask yourself: do these questions sound preposterous?

  • We can't really look at the hypothetical questions because they are only titles. The pregnancy question clearly states that they know it shouldn't be done but they want to do it anyway without explaining why. On SA, why someone might want to make chocolate from the bean may be unimportant but even there, if someone is trying to avoid a specific ingredient, we like knowing whether it's because they are allergic or have non-medical dietary restrictions or it they just don't have and or can't find the ingredient.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:34
  • @Catija Even there the answer is the same regardless of reason. Similar to the answers to this question, the answer is "if it's just for personal curiosity that you'd like to know, too bad", I'm sure you've read the response to that by the answerer. Just because it's nice to know does not make it a necessity, especially when the question is as basic as this.
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:36
  • @Anoplexian No. it's not. If the OP can't eat something because of allergies, there's probably other limitations on what they actually could substitute. If they can't find the ingredients, we can recommend where to find them or alternate names the item may have.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:39
  • @Catija I didn't get to see the full pregnancy question, but I am not so sure that the OP really didn't know it shouldn't be done. From what I understood, it was a matter of "I know I cannot just ask directly, so how do I learn in another way" which is the opposite of knowing it shouldn't be done, it could be the OP was so unclear on the concept that they don't realize there are boundary issues there. An answer explaining the difference between "popping the question is labelled 'impolite'" and "the how doesn't matter, your goal is incompatible with the person's wellbeing" is valuable.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:41
  • @Catija with your new comment, you seem to be arguing about underdefined questions, which the concrete example may have been. But the meta question is about making a rule to deal with questions on the basis that the OP wants to transgress someone's boundaries, which is independent of the issue of underdefinedness.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:42
  • @rumtscho It indeed was and has a few different applications in my life, and as so many people find themselves in hot water for asking this and getting the cliche "I'm not pregnant". It's a valid question that has a simple answer, and one that it's obvious (otherwise it wouldn't be a cliche) that a lot of people don't know the answer to. Rather than being specific to my situations so people can find workaround answers, let's answer the topic at hand, and explain.
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:43
  • The question, in its complete form, is in the question up top. I agree with you that these questions are generally fine but the important caveat, which is addressed in my answer, is that they must meet site quality standards - they must be sufficiently detailed.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:46
  • "as long as they are fine by all other rules" is implicit each time somebody argues that "these questions are fine". In the first days of the site, you are lying down rules which will have a lot of weight down the years, while the single question which sparked them will be forgotten. If you get into a "they are fine, but (they might hurt other rules in which they are not fine)" line of argument because you are focusing on the triggering question, people will only notice the "but" and think there is more to your resistance. As my communication teacher said,"Yes, but" is not heard as agreement.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:53
  • I feel that it is necessary to write an answer to a question that references a specific example - that was closed and deleted - at least in part by explaining why the question was closed and deleted and how to prevent it from occurring to other similar questions - this bolsters the argument that the general question type is acceptable and that there were other factors at play. To ignore the low-quality nature of the example (when there's only one example) gives users nothing to strive for, particularly since most of them can not even see the example.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 19:09
  • I see your point now. I hadn't recognized that angle in your other comments.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 19:38

In general, these questions are fine. Part of interpersonal skills is understanding how to communicate with the people around us. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we shouldn't do something. There's no reason to take any of the actions in your list.

We actually have a few other examples here that are worth talking about.

How to tell friends something goes against my religion?

Here we have an eighth grade student who is conflicted about his friends' cursing around him. It's a short question but it has enough detail for us to give a precise answer that still caters to his situation.

Is it rude to answer someone's question before they finish the question?

In this case, an employee and friend discusses their interactions with family, friends and coworkers and their habit of interrupting them before they have finished because they've "solved" the problem already. This is quite detailed, explaining the situation and even noting where this habit was picked up. This is slightly different because the central question is "is it rude" rather than asking "how do I do ___" but the OP seems pretty confident that the answer is that it's not rude, and they regularly do something that infringes on the boundaries of the people around them.

Both of the answers to this question are "you don't"... and, to me, they're both pretty obviously "you don't". These questions can work quite well here, as these examples show.

That being said, the question you bring up as an example here - it falls short in other ways. The fact that it was closed and then deleted is not because of the subject or the type of question. It's because of the quality. How we deal with quality issues on this site is up to us to decide but my recommendations are as follows.

How can I tactfully ask if someone is expecting or not?

  • Comments should be made that request clarification of the question.
    Particularly if you feel that the answer is "don't do it", and the OP's question infers that they're aware of that, as was the case in this question. We can not respond in a helpful way if we do not know why the OP feels it's absolutely necessary to broach this subject. A question with no explanation is only half a question.

  • The question should be voted closed (or flagged if you don't have sufficient reputation).
    If you feel that the question is lacking in details - which this one most definitely was - close it! It should stay closed until the OP adds more details. Closing is very important to prevent answers on low quality questions. This question should have been closed, not answered.
    We've been using the "Too broad" a lot for detail lacking questions but I think that "Unclear what you're asking" is better, though we could also consider making our own version of this close reason that contains links to the help center (once it's drafted). The current "Unclear" reason explanation is:

    Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

  • Vote or not, your call, as always
    I hesitate to tell people how to vote but I will quote the downvote text and let you decide for yourself. Personally, I would downvote these questions until they are edited to add details. I'll be honest here - I upvoted this question initially because I do think it's interesting but after reading comments and seeing how the question was received, I regret that choice. We all need to practice really thinking critically about the questions we get here.

    This question does not show any research effort. It is unclear or not useful.

  • Don't answer a question that doesn't have sufficient detail.
    Even if you think a good "don't do it" answer is what is needed, until you have all of the necessary information, you can't really do the question justice. If the question really is "I'm planning an event for my staff and I don't want to do something that will cause one of the team members to feel left out, how can I find out if they're pregnant so that I don't book a trip to a winery? - we can answer that question without so absolutely saying "don't do it" but we can't really address this if the OP never tells us why they want to know if someone is pregnant.

  • Edit it in a way that adds more detail, even if it's not what the OP intended.
    These are referred to as "Heroic edits". Sometimes a question is interesting but needs some help. It may veer into an off topic subject or ask something too broadly. We can fix these questions, even if - or perhaps especially if - the OP is not interested in fixing the question themselves. If they do it, they may actually get an answer they could use but they will have to decide whether they'd rather have the question at all or have it removed entirely.

  • Delete it if it isn't being fixed.
    If no one adds detail to the question then the question needs to go away. If deleting it encourages the OP to edit it, great. It can be undeleted.

All of this is to say that quality is absolutely necessary here. Questions must ask an specific question about a problem that someone actually has. That is what Stack Exchange is about. If we do not up our quality, we are at risk of this site being closed entirely. None of us can be experts in how to make this site what it needs to be without being open and willing to consider that what might be "okay" as a question on forums or chat sites or advice columns may not work here. We need to consider what fits on a Q&A site on Stack Exchange and hold our questions and answers to that standard.

  • 2
    So, you're saying that the question must include a specific for instance? I'm having a hard time seeing what detail could be added to the question, without turning it into an XY problem, that would meaningfully change the answer. Is the issue that answers assumed a possible XY because it lacked a specific instance?
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 21:35
  • 1
    @apaul34208 what's wrong with an X/Y problem? If someone wants actual answers, we need to know what the problem actually is, not what they think the problem is. There's nothing wrong with someone asking the wrong question and getting the answer they actually want. From here: To avoid falling into this trap, always include information about a broader picture along with any attempted solution. If someone asks for more information, or especially a more specific question, do provide details. All we are asking is for more details.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 21:38
  • 1
    It already is an XY problem... it's just one that isn't detailed. What we need is for the OP to stop asking how to get to a specific solution (finding out if the person is pregnant) and start thinking about how to solve the actual problem (making everyone feel welcome at the staff retreat).
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 21:41
  • 1
    @apaul34208 Sorry, I may not have really responded to your first sentence before. Yes. A specific instance. Stack Exchange is the place for questions about a problem you actually face. That means you need to tell us about the problem not the solution you've decided will fix it.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 23:05

You left out delete.

This is a great example of what I was talking about yesterday

It's also worth remembering that this problem doesn't exist in isolation. You've already identified a related problem - answers that do answer the question but contain generous helpings of opinion along side it - but in many cases the questions themselves encourage such digressions by including long or salacious back-stories by way of context; an answer might be forgiven for addressing matters tangential to the question if the question itself obscures the actual problem.

In this case, the question simply neglected to include a real problem at all, preferring to present a paradox - and as a result, most of the answers boil down to "don't". Which... May be the right answer, but there's really no way of knowing - and certainly no way to know if there's an alternate solution to the actual problem.

The Workplace faced many similar problems in its early days, prompting jmac to present a call to action:

We need to:

  1. Leave comments telling users that their posts are getting negative attention, and more importantly, how to fix it
  2. Aggressively edit posts (especially closed posts) where the asker has stopped participating (doesn't respond to clarifications) and there is a good core question that can be drawn out

The same solutions present themselves here... But y'all have to be willing to put them into action. A question that goes two days without clarification and attracts a pile of unhelpful answers is probably doomed - get rid of it and move on.

  • 2
    As you linked, please view Is “Don't do it” a valid answer?. This is why the current answers actually do answer the question despite the vague nature of the question (as a general help rather than specific help tool).
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:12
  • 1
    I didn't delete the answers...
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:13
  • 1
    If it answers the question to that point, then it's obviously not unclear what is being asked....
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:13
  • 3
    @Anoplexian We are part of Stack Exchange. We are not a forum or chat board. Questions must meet the quality standards of this network. One reason that questions must be sufficiently narrow is so that we can focus on a specific problem. If you ask that question and you want to know because you're planning an event, the answer to that question is different than if you're merely curious. It's perfectly acceptable to have both questions here because we consider them to be different. When questions are too broad, there's no way for one person to answer them and the answers become less useful.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:26
  • @Catija That applies if the answer isn't the same in both cases, which is is here. I agree with your point that this is not a chat board or a forum, but it is however a resource for people to go to in order to (in this case) understand how to act in relation to social situations. If we treat this as a resource (which I've been told numerous times it is), then both the question and answers are valid despite the context that people don't agree with the answer I accepted, which clearly says "Don't, but if it's for safety, don't be direct".
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:30
  • 2
    @Catija As a side note, if what you say is actually the case, then it's not a closure due to "Unclear what you're asking", which is where the issue lies. There is a closure reason for "Too broad" on many of the SE sites. I have a bigger problem that with 4 reopen votes, the question was deleted, negating any activity on it.
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 18:32
  • 4
    @Anoplexian, I explained the problem with your question yesterday and did as much as I could to direct you toward a solution. Heck, if I could've I'd have fixed it for you. You've refused to lift a finger to actually move this forward, so I'm done talking about it until I see your name on an edit.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 19:16
  • 1
    I'm a bit confused, the time stamp says an hour from when I first posted, and you refused to engage in any discussion regarding the validity of the question. You unilaterally closed and deleted the question (within minutes of each other) using a lacking close reason and rejecting any votes to the contrary (4 reopen votes). As far as I see it, your explanation is rather lacking, as is the effort on your part to understand a different perspective on the question itself. This is evidenced by your lack of community consensus on this meta post from what I can see, but yet it is early on....
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:04
  • 2
    @Anoplexian I don't know if you saw the discussion rumtscho and I had on on her answer. Community consensus on this question will not somehow rescue your question because, even at this early stage, it's not the question type that is problematic. While I may have failed to address that in my initial revision of my answer, I've since rectified that. It is the lack of details in your question that make it a bad fit for this site. Even if everyone says "These questions are on topic" your question wasn't closed because it was off topic. It was closed because it lacks detail.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:09
  • 1
    @Catija That's all well and good, but that would still fall under the "too broad" category; it's not unclear what's being asked. As an aside, if there's an urgent yet confidential motive to ask, would that change the question or its answers?
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:12
  • @Anoplexian As much as I agree with you... It's probably time to compromise. Shog9 is unlikely to undelete otherwise, so maybe you could meet him halfway? Is there any additional context that you would be willing to edit in?
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 1:01
  • @Anoplexian If you don't give a good reason for why you want to know if a woman's pregnant, I'm left to assume that you consider it your fundamental right to know what's going on another person's body. And it just isn't... The only way I'd see to salvage the question is if it really was about safety and not an XY problem. That leaves a handful of situations (probably involving mutagenic substances) where "Don't be direct" is the opposite of the correct answer. So in my view you've further reduced the quality of the question by accepting a misleading answer. Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 10:41
  • 1
    @Shog9 While I agree with and admire most things you do for the community, this instance of deleting the question was, imho, an overkill. Feels like a death penalty for a minor offence. So far, my experience on the network says "don't do it, and here's why" is a valid answer and those questions are useful information for generations to come. Deleting them benefits whom exactly?! shrug
    – NVZ
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 10:18
  • 1
    @Shog9 I'm really sorry for bothering you with this again, but I'm not exactly sure what you meant by saying there exists no benefit from the questions here. What else is there, if no benefit to the readers? Or did you mean something else? Or am I missing some hidden meaning? (I'm not a native speaker; if that's relevant).
    – NVZ
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 17:59
  • 1
    @Shog9 Okay, well, apparently most users do not see it that way, I suppose. Your answer did not make your case well. It's at zero-score. Perhaps you could expand the answer? Currently, from my view, your point is not clear from this answer, and your unilateral deletion of that post is uncalled for. :)
    – NVZ
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 5:22

Note: I originally wrote this as an answer to a different question and then migrated it here because I believe this question is a better fit for what I wanted to talk about with this answer

We want askers and other readers to understand and incorporate certain ideas into their approach to and mental framing of an interpersonal scenario as pre-requisites to asking and answering questions. One that I feel could use more clear stating on our part and is (imo) the root of differentiating "bad" vs. "good" questions of this type is:

Respect the agency of other people

That is to say, people are entitled to hold their own choices, beliefs, views and opinions. There is no healthy interpersonal skill/tactic/trick that will always, with total success, change other people's opinions or actions. There are plenty of unhealthy tactics that aim to achieve these results such as manipulation and coercion. IPS does not condone, nor cover these unhealthy practices, furthermore, they don't really work.

Derived from this principle of respecting the agency of other people are some guidelines for framing and approaching an interpersonal scenario:

  • You cannot make/convince/force somebody to do X, you can only attempt to convince somebody to do X

  • You can only reliably change your own behavior

  • Accept that you may fail to change another's view

Helping askers fix their questions

The principle and related guidelines above are, I feel, a core differentiator between "bad" questions which today attract flags, close votes and long agonizing re-re-re-edit efforts and "good" questions, which we feel represent a healthy and responsible framing of an interpersonal goal/problem and are likely to attract good answers.

I think a challenge faced by attempts to moderate this sort of content in the past has been that the difference between a "good" and "bad" question of this type seems to be all about following a pedantic wording structure. If I am not thinking about the above principle, the difference between:

How do I make my co-worker stop eating the candy canes on my desk?


How can I better communicate to my co-worker that my candy canes are not for them?

seems arbitrary and pedantic. As a first time asker, being asked to align with a specific question structure without clearly understanding the implication of this change will be annoying and frustrating. From what I've seen on this site, they will also probably fail to restructure the question sufficiently leading to exasperation and despair in the community members trying to get the question to a good state.

For a question to align with the above principle and guidelines it should:

  • Focus on the interpersonal aspect "communicate"

  • Place the onus for action on the asker "how can I communicate"

  • Accept that success is not guaranteed when measured by others' reactions/responses "how can I better communicate"

My example is obviously contrived and the quoted text above is an example, not the example. Forcing people to follow a script is not a solution, nor is it going to improve questions.

There are other good meta resources on how to improve these questions below, however I feel that they do not clearly state the why of the change, which I believe to be the above principle:

Do we need to re-write "How can I get X to do Y" questions?

Are questions about 'how to convince another person to change their behavior?' on topic

What is the difference between a "convince" question and a good question?

IPS will continue to get questions like this.

  • Considering and respecting other people as complex individuals with their own rights, feelings and agency is not a universal practice

  • A common measurement of success in an interpersonal exchange is the post-interaction behavior of the other parties

  • A natural way for people to think about a situation is "I want to do X" so this creates he question "How do I make do X"

By making what seems like a slight wording change we can change questions to reflect a core principle of healthy IPS, reduce low quality "try this" answers and provoke good answers that don't have to all start off with "You don't..."

Proposed improvements and constructive criticism are welcome, I want to create a solid meta post that we can link question askers to which will help them improve their question and explain why these changes are improving their question.

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