There have been a few questions like:

How to convey a message that will convince an unknown person to not urinate next to my garage door?

That appear to be asking for an interpersonal skills answer but in reality are seeking a solution to a problem that is not interpersonal skills based.

The question is quite popular, but almost all of the answers (it has 11 at the time of the writing of this question) address the problem with solutions that are not interpersonal skills based responses. They are addressing this as a security problem(which it really is).

The only answer that actually addresses the question with a communication solution is at -1.

Should we, be enabling these questions, and rewarding answers that are not interpersonal skills based solutions? If not how should this be addressed?

  • 1
    Related: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1471/…
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:03
  • Can you tell us what about the question doesn't relate to IPS. We don't close questions because they attract non-IPS answers.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:06
  • @Catija - The question is asking to solve the problem using the wrong tools. It is clearly a security problem not a problem communicating that the activity is undesired. The question being asked is really how do I get them to stop. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:13
  • I also did not get that the linked question was practically the same question. But I think there is value is addressing the question aspect, that question deals with the answer aspect. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:17
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    If there's not a good IPS solution, explaining that is a valid answer.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:19
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    @Catija - Please make that into an answer. It doesnt even need to be a long answer. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


Communicating with a rude or offending party is an interpersonal skill as is appealing to a third party like a landlord or police officer.

The problem isn't really with the question, it's with the answers.

When someone asks for an interpersonal skill related answer and they get a security related answer, it's a bit like a C# question on Stack Overflow where someone suggests that they should use jQuery... They're effectively not answers to the question.

Don't punish the question when people answered with the wrong tool.

  • Or is the problem that the asker wants to use a hammer to drive in his screw... ie is trying to use the wrong tool, one that may work but would be far less effective than using better more approriate tools Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:14
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    @Chad It's possible, but it shouldn't be assumed. The problem in this case very likely could be solved by using interpersonal skills.
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:16
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    I think you can attempt to solve it using those skills, but I suspect in 99%+ of the cases the attempt is going to fail, possibly miserably. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:35
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    @Chad in those rare cases where exercising an interpersonal skill didn't work/or likely won't work, feel free to write an answer explaining that. But keep in mind that it's awfully difficult to prove something impossible, unlikely maybe, but impossible carries a heavy burden of proof.
    – apaul
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:44

I'll post the same answer I posted on that other thread:

This site isn't necessarily just about written or spoken communication, AFAIK. Not speaking with someone is still interpersonal relations.

I would interpret the cameras / paint answers as implicitly saying "don't even speak with this person, just solve the problem with a device". Perhaps they think being passive-aggressive is the best solution, despite what the OP stated.

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    So effectively you are advocating enabling/allowing these types of questions? Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:23
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    I think as long as they have a specific question in there, they're good. I find them more interesting than the usual google-able questions, in fact.
    – user2191
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:38

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