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This question (a community wiki) I may add was recently closed for too broad: What to do if I/Someone I know is feeling depressed/suicidal?

Why? It's intention was not to be a proper question, it's purpose was to be a central location for people with depression/dealing with depressed people would be directed to. The question is not even the important part, what is important is the answer.

So is the question actually "Too Broad"?

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    I suggest changing the title to the more neutral "Is this question too broad?" . "Why is" would imply that the question is acceptedly too broad and that you are simply asking what makes it so. – nic Jul 7 '17 at 13:46
  • I added a comment on that question to why I closed it, as well as pinged you in 2 comments on the meta post you made to post it, as well as addressed it in the answer I made to another suicide handling question on the site. I made it very clear that there is no catch-all situation, and that everything should be handled case-by-case. The way the question was set up was detrimental, and the factual content of that situation was risky, dangerous and debatable. I recommend you read my answer and comments on the mentioned posts. I'm out of town, but I am not than happy to discuss in chat when I can – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 3:00
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The question is too broad, regardless of the intentions for using the answer as a link-point when closing other questions.

There is, at the moment anyway, a general sense of consensus that these type of questions, depression and suicide, ought not to be answered by anyone in any manner other than to direct the OP to a canonical response of seek professional help, and then close the question to prevent any answers to the question.

From a variety of discussions, in Meta, in chat, and in comments to posts on both main and Meta, the linked to response, the canonical response, should be on Meta, not the main site. The closure of the question should be with a custom close message that links to the canonical response.

A common concern is what a new seeker will find at the end of a Google search, specifically whether or not the search result will lead to a page that covers all conditions of depression and suicide advice for the seeker, and for someone the seeker knows.

I am not proficient at creating the needed text, but I am sure there are other active users who can do so with the proper style, tone of voice, and search engine juice. So my thinking is that we need to create a total of eight questions, and four answers.


  1. Meta site question: What is the proper response to questions seeking advice from someone who is suffering from depression?
    • A carefully worded "answer" that says find a mental health professional to talk to that is worded such that a seeker in this situation will likely be prompted to make the proper connection to a mental health provider.
  2. Meta site question: What is the proper response to questions seeking advice from someone who is (apparently) suicidal, or thinking about suicide?
    • A carefully worded "answer" that says find a suicide prevention hotline to talk to that is worded such that a seeker in this situation will likely be prompted to make the proper connection to a hotline.
  3. Meta site question: What is the proper response to questions seeking advice from someone who knows about another who is suffering from depression?
    • A carefully worded "answer" that says tell them to find a mental health professional to talk to that is worded such that a seeker in this situation will likely be prompted to help the other person they know make the proper connection to a mental health provider.
  4. Meta site question: What is the proper response to questions seeking advice from someone who knows about another who is (apparently) suicidal, or thinking about suicide?
    • A carefully worded "answer" that says tell them to find a suicide prevention hotline to talk to that is worded such that a seeker in this situation will likely be prompted to help the other person they know make the proper connection to a hotline.

  1. Main site question: How can I deal with/overcome my depression?
    • A comment linking to Meta site question #1, and/or
    • Closed, and locked, with a post notice that links to Meta site question #1
  2. Main site question: How can I deal with/overcome my suicidal thoughts?
    • A comment linking to Meta site question #2, and/or
    • Closed, and locked, with a post notice that links to Meta site question #2
  3. Main site question: How can I help my friend deal with/overcome their depression?
    • A comment linking to Meta site question #3, and/or
    • Closed, and locked, with a post notice that links to Meta site question #3
  4. Main site question: What do I do if someone I know is feeling/acting/talking suicidal?
    • A comment linking to Meta site question #4, and/or
    • Closed, and locked, with a post notice that links to Meta site question #4

Later, whenever a new question is posted that resembles one of the Main site questions above (#5 - #8) it is closed as a duplicate of the one it matches. Maybe a comment is added that matches, or is a direct copy of, the comment on the that is the dupe target. That gives the instant OP a direct link to the canonical response as well as anyone that lands there from a search engine result.

This puts the canonical responses squarely in Meta, where SE custom places such canonical material. It creates a Main site question that links to the canonical response in Meta that is appropriate for the question. It provides for the possible use of a custom close reason on the four "crafted" questions. A dupe target is provided for all future questions that match any of the four situations we have envisioned. It remove the need to use four of our limited set of custom close reason slots, allowing us to use them for other, probably more common needs.

Having never seen the inside of the mod tools, I have probably set up something that isn't totally correct with what can be done. Following the spirit of this plan, using the actual tools available, should still be workable, however, with some fine tuning as needed.

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  • I'm not sure I agree with you that we should close questions as duplicates. However, I do agree with you that we do need to address a framework on how to handle these sorts of questions. – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 3:09
  • @Zizouz212 Being totally unaware of what tools are available to mods, or even 10K+ users, this is the best I can devise. If we put or collective mind into the effort, I know we can create an excellent solution that offers the best aide to seekers and enhances the usefulness of the site. – User27 Aug 12 '17 at 3:12
  • Of course! I like the fundamental idea in your answer, even though I may disagree with a few details (+1 btw). I would love to discuss this in chat and develop our framework, I'm just out of town, and will be gone for a while :/ – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 3:19
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That question should be split:

Depression / suicide

Suicide and depression are two very different things, even if they can be a causal relationship between the two.

Robert has a 'situational' depression due to his aunt's death. The right answer to him might be psychotherapy, or something else, but if we have only one question then Google will direct him to an IPS page which is half about suicide. He would have been better served by a page that focuses on depression. We are an expert site, we can certainly afford having two separate pages, even if that means that a part of the information overlaps.

On the other side, Roger is suicidal, and he definitely needs concise and to-the-point information about suicide prevention. Don't waste his time with advice not targeted at him.

I / Someone I know

The first will give useful information to the suicidal person, including how she can approach people to untrigger the problem.

The second will be targeted at very different people. The answers will probably include some of the same information ("tell her XYZ"), but it will also include how to tell her in a way that she will be receptive to, plus tips on how to get a better understanding of the situation, what are signs that might help you save your friend's life, and also tips on how to not get harmed by the crisis yourself, as this can be a terrible experience for yourself.

So, we can definitely afford to separate into 3 or 4 questions.

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  • I agree with your general stance, but I can't understand your specific argument. I proposed a framework for handling mental health questions in "Should we be sending [suicide] and [depression] to trained professionals" (or something worded similarly). I am curious as to your thoughts on that. – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 3:07
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No.

Firstly, as I've mentioned in the OP, it's not meant to be a proper question, it's a location to put an answer for everyone who's dealing with depression/suicide, whether it be themselves or others. The important part is the answer, the question's content is irreverent, and having 2 questions reduces the importance and centrality of it.

Secondly, the answer, in 2 parts is essentially repeating itself both parts of the answer are clear in their meaning - Talk to someone qualified the entire section dedicated to "What can I do if someone else is suffering from depression" is all about making them do the things in the first section. If you were to make 2 separate Questions, then essentially the second one (what to do if a friend is suffering) would be a referral to the first, with the words "encourage them to do this".

Even if we made 2 separate questions we would have to change/extend the tag excerpts for and , which may mean that the excerpt might not even be able to contain the link to both questions.

To sum it up, the purpose of each answer is the same, we are not trained to deal with this so go to someone who is

If the overall consensus is still to make it 2 separate posts, then I shall do that, however I feel it makes a lot more sense in 1 post.

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    "Firstly, as I've mentioned in the OP, it's not meant to be a proper question, it's a location to put an answer for everyone who's dealing with depression/suicide, whether it be themselves or others. " Every question, even canonical questions, need to be proper questions. If the question is flawed then its use as a duplicate target or link target will be flawed. – curiousdannii Jul 8 '17 at 15:59
  • @curiousdannii but here's the thing, It's still not meant to be a proper answer or question, as we are not qualified nor should we be answering it the answer acts as a referral guide to the correct places you should be asking this question. – Crafter0800 Jul 8 '17 at 16:23
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    If you think such questions don't belong here, then they shouldn't be allowed here. Instead we would have a custom close reason with a link to a Meta page. It would also be possible to have a side panel disclosure box like in Law and other sites. – curiousdannii Jul 8 '17 at 16:25
  • But there isn't a central meta post, and dealing with suicidal people is an interpersonal skill, but not one we should be answering. Yes, it does belong on this site, but it's not the category of question we should be answering, it doesn't belong here in the sense of "No one here should be answering or giving you advice on this", not "This question is off-topic here". We DO plan on closing questions about it and linking them to that central question that is the purpose of it – Crafter0800 Jul 8 '17 at 16:28
  • I would argue that it's only fair to close questions as duplicates if they're essentially the same. If someone writes a very detailed and unique question related to suicidal people, it wouldn't be appropriate to close it as a duplicate of a generic question. But it would be appropriate to close it with a custom close message which links to a general Meta page. So if the community wants all questions about suicidal people to be closed (which could be wise) then it should be through a custom close message, not a canonical question. – curiousdannii Jul 8 '17 at 16:30
  • But we're not closing them because they're duplicates, we're closing them as they're not "on-topic" for SE (i.e. you shouldn't be taking advice from unqualified people on the internet for this), and thus the central post, is the post everyone will be referred to as the only advice that anyone should be providing. Any false advice given could be fatal, so we shouldn't be giving it. – Crafter0800 Jul 8 '17 at 16:32
  • Agreed. So that's why it needs to be on Meta, not on the main site. That's how it works in all the other sites I've seen. – curiousdannii Jul 8 '17 at 16:33
  • @curiousdannii Based on what you've seen on other sites, and what we need/want to do here, is this answer inline with SE customary practices? – User27 Aug 12 '17 at 1:44
  • @Crafter0800 If the purpose was to not provide advice, then why did you write advice in the question? We have a specialized procedure to deal with this. We can provide advice to our community on how to deal with it, but under no circumstance should we have any information of that sort. I will vehemently oppose any attempt to make any mental health question a duplicate of yours. I made a comment above, so please feel free to follow it, and I will be more than happy to discuss with you in The Awkward Silence when I can find a time that works for both of us. – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 3:05

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