I would like to understand what “too broad” means on SE Interpersonal.
The SE official ‘handbook’ states
- too broad - if your question could be answered by an entire book, or has many valid answers (but no way to determine which - if any - are correct), then it is probably too broad for our format
The following citations seem to suggest that a question can be put on hold for the aforementioned reason if it meets certain conditions:
N.B Statements are not attributed; however, I have provided the source for each one.
- A question is too broad if it elicits an array of answers. (link)
- As of now, folks here can only guess what information might help you specifically. That is why it is closed as too broad. (link)
- I think questions of the form: "here's my tale of woe; what do I do now?" are too broad and opinion-based on many sites, especially here [IPS]. (link)
- Questions should be specific enough that the general user can find a question with answers that apply to their problem. If a question is too general, it might get a wide array of answers, all of which are decent, with no clear winners that stand out as the "best" answers. (link)
- We want specific answers to specific questions, because that is the only way we will fulfill our purpose, while serving people from all backgrounds, cultures, languages and faith traditions. (link)
How to cure a “too broad” question?
If I can be helpful in terms of advice for a specific situation, and be able to do so in the course of several paragraphs, then it's worth posting. (link)
Think of a specific situation, and ask about the specific situation. (link)
For this site to work I really think that we have to limit ourselves to well focused questions. Questions need to focus on specific situations and the skills to use in them. (link)
We want questions that aren't just "Which skills do I use?" or "How do I use this skill in this situation?" but also "When do I use this skill?" and "Why is this a useful skill at all?" (link)
- …then you have a real world example to discuss, and the problem stops being imaginary or theoretical. (link)
It would be best to define more precisely what this site infers when a question is labelled as too broad and how it is significantly different from too vague. The SE standard description for the former is inadequate, it should either be improved, or possibly, reworded as too vague.
1.1 Thinking or communicating in an unfocused or imprecise way.
What do users think?
For example, the following question was put on hold for being too broad.
Originally entitled: How can I ensure my girlfriend and we continue to communicate effectively? (link) The OP later changed the title to:
this edit proved to be successful, and the question has now been reopened.
However, the problem described in the body is specific. The locations mentioned are very specific. The OP proposed several specific ideas but does not know which one to choose.
is was it judged to be too broad?
The following question was closed July 5, 2017. I have no qualms with it remaining closed–it doesn't feel right for the site–I chose it because it's easier for me to understand why it was closed for being "too broad" And because the question is brief, its contents are copied below.
A major drawback in human interactions when politics come up. This field fundamentally affects our lives and shapes who we are, and why we do what we do.
The incredibly violent consequences are detrimental for us, though. How to deal with people who, while would be great partners at any aspect of life (from drinking buddies to wives/husbands), are hard or even impossible to bear, due to said conflicts?
I don't consider that question to be either vague or unclear. On the other hand, it is teetering on verbosity.
It is clearly related to interpersonal skills inasmuch that the problem described is between two or more people, and the skills required to handle this type of disagreement will involve tact, diplomacy, courtesy, respect and, finally, assertiveness. But it covers so many different scenarios, so many different cultural aspects, and cultural habitats, it would be impossible to reply in a single answer. That, to me, is the quintessential “your question could be answered by an entire book” example.
Case No. 3
The following question was closed for being too broad, it was edited (minor additions) and subsequently reopened. Five answers, not dissertations, have been submitted.
Case No. 4
The following question is currently closed as being too broad.
The post appears to be neither vague nor unclear, but it is verbose. The question in the body is specific, the related question title (edited by me) is focused and answerable. I think it's a good fit for the site, much better than case No.2 for example.
Why is No.4 considered off-topic, i.e. too broad for IPS? I sincerely don't understand.