[Original request: If this question is clear enough now then please retract your close votes.]

How to resolve my Indian aunt's inter-personal and inter-cultural conflict with her American daughter-in-law's mother?

My question had attracted 2 early close votes for being

'unclear what you are asking'

so I have rewritten the title to accurately summarise the problem and also added relevant information in the question based on feedback from members in comments.

Since the person(s) who cast the close-vote(s) are in the best position to help improve the question, could you write an answer explaining how I might to improve it so that 2 close votes do not become 5.

A stitch in time....

Prevention is better than cure.


the number of close votes has gone up to 3 (all for 'not clear what you are asking') even after I made edits to clarify my question.

What is still unclear in my question? How can I make it clearer?

Please note that I am not really asking members who did not close-vote, what might be wrong with the question, at this point. All 3 close-votes say 'not clear what you are asking' at present.

  • 1
    I think it's going to be better for you to just wait for the question to be closed or not. There are only two close votes and I've removed my comment.
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 21:51
  • Ok @Catija. But I have seen how fast close votes can attract other close votes. It is 3 now after I clarified the question... Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 23:41
  • I didn't think close votes could be retracted... can they?
    – Beofett
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 0:35
  • 1
    @Beofett Close votes can be retracted if the close voter clicks again on the 'close' button and when the close dialog box opens, can choose to retract the close vote. I haven't tried it myself but read about it elsewhere on SE. It would seem this feature is available specifically to enable close voters to reverse their close vote once the OP or someone else has edited the Q to correct the reason for close-voting. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 0:44

3 Answers 3


The editing job which I might have suggested is going to harm the answers already posted. It's a bit late to chop down the trees in order to see the footpath.

When someone writes an answer that begins with

Allow me to say that reading your story felt like watching a comedy show.

First of all, cats don't resent being called Kitty but they usually don't like being picked up by strangers.

That tells me the question is on the rambling side. Asking if cats resent being called "kitty" is distracting and facetious. The "problem" itself seems light-hearted and airy, which is fine if the original question is really asking "Do cats not like being called ‘kitty’? Luckily, the title makes it clear that the question is a serious one.

How to resolve my Indian aunt's inter-personal and inter-cultural conflict with her American daughter-in-law's mother?

But it is a bit wordy, perhaps it needs to be summarised:

How to restore harmony between an Indian mother and her American daughter-in-law's mother?

The note at the beginning is helpful but it is also distracting, I would place it at the end of the question or with a title "Disclaimer" and the rest in small type. The user nominated has deleted their comment so why mention their name? Again, extraneous and unnecessary information.

For example:


Someone asked me what is my role in all this? Good question. I am not at all close with Aunt but I am close with my cousin (son of Aunt) and he needs help to keep his mother and mother-in-law peaceable. Unfortunately, he is a member at Stack Overflow under his real name and he feels vaguely disloyal to his mother to ask this question here himself. Call it Indian Sentiment, but it's all right because I have sent him the link and he will read all your advice himself, to help him act as an effective mediator and quickly resolve this interpersonal conflict!

  • 2
    Good thinking. I kinda feel like English's question is unnecessarily long, which may be the reason people close voted as "unclear". Plus one.
    – NVZ
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 10:01
  • Not every interpersonal problem is deadly serious @Mari-lou A. That doesnt mean it is not serious for the development of the relationships concerned. I can only see this particular inter-cultural misunderstanding as a 'comedy of errors' with my wilful and blundering aunt taking the lead role, but my cousin fears for the peace and stability of his marriage and this question would have sounded far more dire if he had written it.Again, my question was much less clear when the opening close votes were cast, before kind user feedback helped me clarify better. Thanks 4 your suggested edits! Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 13:46
  • I have incorporated your suggested edits on the title and disclaimer, @Mari-lou A. I also learned small type formatting in the process! Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 14:07
  • @EnglishStudent you may use <sub>subscript</sub> and <sup>superscript</sup> together to make something even smaller.
    – NVZ
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 14:29
  • Yes indeed, I worked it out -- thanks for the tip; I think small script in particular is a really pleasing and useful formatting option, @NVZ. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 14:33
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    @EnglishStudent I think it's also safe to delete the following (name changed to Tinky after a famous sportsperson of the original name rose to justified greatness in the mid-2000s; I mean, what does that add? It's fluff, nothing more. Just say that your aunt's dog (Tinky) now lives with her daughter.
    – user3114
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 15:44
  • @EnglishStudent Is mentioning Bangalore relevant? Is it very far from your aunt lives? Clarifying, to me means, it is easier to see what the problem is. You're not writing a story.
    – user3114
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 15:48
  • @EnglishStudent Try and reread your question to yourself, multiple times. You'll then see what words are unnecessary, what can improve the flow, etc. Clear and concise posts tend to attract more readers. Mine aren't concise, though. Just saying.
    – NVZ
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 16:13
  • Excess of detail whether relevant or not is not supposed to make a post clear or unclear, @Mari-lou A. Lack of clarity is when the underlying problem is ambiguous. Details are details whether fluff or essential. I have already got 3 good answers and no more close votes, which is a reasonably satisfactory situation. Thanks again for the pertinent suggestions and the 'fine editorial hand' in copy tuning! Nobody can see where you edited the details, which is apparently a high accolade for a copy editor. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 19:57
  • I got a bit of feedback from my cousin just now, @Mari-lou A: he is very grateful for the constructive answers and comments that IPS members have addressed to his problem and feels much better now he has some good suggestions how to handle the delicate situation. Of course I'm sure if you could write your own answer to the original question it would be highly appreciated! Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 0:11

I would suggest one more edit to the title, along the lines of

How can my cousin restore harmony between his Indian mother and American mother-in-law?

You're really asking for advice on your cousin's behalf, and the whole string of relationships in aunt's daughter-in-law's mother is hard to parse. Putting your cousin at the center of the relationship tree makes the relationships clearer, and is appropriate to your question.

  • Good thinking. I wish to see more clarity and that's why I even proposed encouraging users to use placeholder names instead of my friend's cousin's grandma's dog's previous owner's neighbor and all.
    – NVZ
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 4:30
  • Good edit! Thanks @ 1006a. I am incorporating it. Please note I used 2 placeholder names (Alice & Jane) @NVZ. Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 4:38
  • Do you mean to suggest I should rewrite it with terminology like 'my mother' and give a preface that this Q is written from my cousin's perspective, @NVZ? Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 4:43
  • @EnglishStudent Hmm. I didn't think that far. It might make it complicated. Forget I said it. :)
    – NVZ
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 4:44

Note: this answer was written when the question was primarily a request for close votes to be retracted.

Campaigning on Meta, not to reopen a question, but merely for the retraction of close votes really is overkill. Don't post when there isn't actually an actionable problem.

To explain a little more, what you are asking for here is actually harmful. By retracting close votes those voters will forever lose the ability to vote to close the question. If you for some reason edited the question further such that it would be unclear or too broad in a different way, or if the site rules changed in the future in some way such that the question would then be off-topic (it has happened on many sites), they would be unable to vote to close at that time. Retraction is a feature with rare utility.

It is much better to just let the votes expire. Having a couple of close votes lingering on a question for a week or two is not a problem. And if the question continues to gain close votes then that might indicate that you haven't actually fixed it as much as you think you have.

  • 4
    On the other hand, asking what's motivating close votes ("what's wrong with this question?") is a good use of meta. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 3:27
  • @MonicaCellio Absolutely. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 3:49
  • 1
    Crucial point: "By retracting close votes those voters will forever lose the ability to vote to close the question." -- I learnt that just now and it is a very good reason not to ask for retraction of a close vote. I had thought the voter reserved the right to close-vote again if the question was edited further. Thanks for the information @curiousdannii. Also pertinent: "And if the question continues to gain close votes then that might indicate that you haven't actually fixed it as much as you think you have." Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 4:21
  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion: I have changed the title of this meta question and asked again for feedback from the close-voters on what's not clear on the question and how to improve it, @Monica Cellio. I got a few questions closed on various SE sites and had to exert much diplomacy and spend much re-editing energy for getting them reopened -- hence the tendency to be pro-active once I see 2 close votes. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 4:32
  • This doesn't answer the question in the slightest way. This answers the question: "Should a user post on meta, asking for explantions if their question receives two or more close votes?"
    – user3114
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 7:59
  • 1
    @Mari it addressed the question before it was edited. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 8:01
  • The original title was: "If this question is clear enough now, then please retract your close votes?" the body is more or less the same. I still don't see any tips or advice on how to make the OP's question clearer or explaining "why" users are voting to close it.
    – user3114
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 8:04
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA Meta Q&A are looser and more general discussions are permitted. The major original request was to retract close votes, and I thought it was important to explain why that's not a wise request. I'll leave those who have voted to close it to explain if they think it's fixed or not. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 8:52

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