This site has already had a lot of discussion about clarifying cultural context in questions. I haven't been following meta well enough to link to all the relevant discussions, but here's one early one, and I've noticed that questions which don't specify a culture are being put on hold.

What about answers based on a culture different from that specified in the question?

I've heard about this being a problem on The Workplace, where (for example) a question asking about a workplace situation in India might get an answer which would be perfectly valid in the US but inappropriate in India, but which still gets a lot of upvotes, presumably from people more familiar with US culture than Indian. Is there any way for Interpersonal Skills to avoid this problem?

One solution might be to flag answers for deletion if they're based on the 'wrong' culture. Unfortunately, that will only work for answers which specify a culture. (E.g. I thought of this issue because of this answer, which explicitly says it's based on cultural perceptions in Europe, while the OP's question is about the UAE.) What if an answer doesn't say what country or culture it's assuming? Should we require answers to be more explicit about this just as we do for questions?

A less drastic solution would be simply to allow voting to do its job. But I'm sceptical about how well this would really work in practice. There isn't all that much cultural diversity among the majority of Stack Exchange users - Americans, western Europeans, and Indians probably form the vast majority of us. If a question based in Dubai gets answers which would work perfectly well in any of those places but would be inappropriate in the UAE, how many people will upvote it anyway?

  • (Hoping this isn't a duplicate. Like I said, I haven't been following this site's meta all that closely.) Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 15:41
  • Closely related (maybe a dupe?): interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/q/234/102.
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 17:33
  • I'd write an answer, but I'm out of town and writing on a 3GS isn't ideal. There are two answers that I've written that are of interest (could someone link them?) - "Related Answers: Why your Pakistani answer won't work for India" and "Globalisation and Intersubjective Communication". Basically, both of those posts argue that answers that don't address the cultural situation could be wrong. Since everything is different, these are NAAs because they solely provide things similar to personal anecdotes, unless it is argued how the answer is relevant. I'll try and hop into chat, but give me time!
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 1:44
  • Oh! One other post that may also be of interest! "Interpersonal issues with solutions that are culturally or regionally different". Also, sorry for not providing links - I just named those posts of the top of my head. Feel free to read them. I'd write a proper answer, but I can't really do that right now. If somebody else would like to make an answer based on my comments, feel free (although be warned, I may come back with critical arguments if I disagree :P)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


TL/DR -- Let OP decide if he wants culture-specific or global advice

From the question:

One solution might be to flag answers for deletion if they're based on the 'wrong' culture. Unfortunately, that will only work for answers which specify a culture.

I'll suggest in the strongest possible terms that this not be done. That approach seems -- to me, at least -- to too-strongly "ensilo" people with the notion that only Culture-X people can understand Culture-X problems. If we really think that way, there ought to be culture-specific SE sites instead of one. 'M not liking that, not one bit.

For me, the answer is that I'd entreat answerers to indicate where (culture or location) they're coming from. Should I post a question to the site, I would very much appreciate a parallax view of my problem from Europe, America, Asia, and other locations. As an OP, I would be in charge of deciding whether or not given advice makes sense in my hometown, be it location-labeled or not.

For what it's worth, I'm in America. ;D


I wrote this answer. I was, I think, careful enough from the middle-age [...] may also have been widely spread in many other countries/cultures. I thought this could be possible, and could bring something useful. OP neither mentioned the culture nor the religion.

But I also thought that they could be muslims. I didn't want to hurt neither any muslim reading, nor OP. That he is or not (muslim, I mean) doesn't even matter though. Respect to all Mankind.

Could it be rude? Maybe. I feared that!

You don't tell people about their religion or beliefs. It's theirs. You don't try and teach them about something that is private and belong to them. That's why I forgot about some possible parts of my answer, as I didn't know well how to handle them.

I didn't mean, at any time, or in any way, hurt someone's feelings or beliefs. That leaded my writing.

Charity (the third pillar of Islam) is given by muslims to seek forgiveness. The underlying purpose is to assist other Muslims who are in need. Discretion is advised and even favoured when it comes to giving charity. In other words: charity should be given discretely.

From: muslim aid

So, to answer the question whether we should allow this or not, I'd say yes if it's useful and linked to OP.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .