5

I've voted to close How do I let someone I'm romantically interested in know I think we wouldn't work out because I am not straight? this morning, since in my opinion, it isn't fit for IPS SE as it is:

  • It's opinion based. All the questions in the body are, at least: Do I tell my friend I think I am not straight? Do I pursue a romantic relationship with him with or without sharing that secret? Should I risk losing him as a friend by possibly breaking up with him later because we are just too different?
  • It's lacking a clear goal: We don't know whether the OP wants to tell or keep a secret, although the title suggest that their goal is communicating that they think they aren't straight, the body asks "Do I tell my friend I think I am not straight?".
  • It's lacking a desired outcome. We have no clue whether the OP wants to have a romantic relationship or just maintain a friendship.

Although it was put on-hold, it now has three reopen votes already, without being edited at all, or without having the very serious questions in comments addressed by the OP:

While I sympathize with your situation, we cannot tell you what to do. What we can do is suggesting how to approach should you decide to coming out to him, or how should you keeping the status quo (while I definitely won't recommend it). Please edit your question so we can better provide answers that meet your needs. – Vylix 13 hours ago

I'd like to know if and why we consider this question to be inside our scope or out, and why users are voting to reopen. Do they think a clearly stated goal and desired outcome aren't necessary to answer this question? Why? Do they think it's okay to provide answers to the opinion based questions in the body of the question? Why would this be a good practice, how does that help the OP?

Is this question on-topic or not, and why?

I'm going to edit this to include the latest facts:

How come this question received it's fifth reopen vote yesterday?
What was in that edit that warranted it's reopening?
Why was that edit removed?
Did that edit influence other users to vote for 'Leave Open' when the question popped up in the close-vote review queue after reopening?

Personally, I'm a bit disappointed. I'm seeing people voting to reopen these types of questions, but I see no answers that are upvoted to such an extent here that reflect that this question should have been reopened/remain open. Even worse, this question and the two most upvoted answers here reflect that the question should have remained closed. I'm disappointed and confused. What happened here?!

If we disagree with putting a question on hold, is it really so much effort to up/down vote some things, and leave a little comment with your opinion? That way, we can have questions and meta-answers that actually match, and work on the scope of this site constructively!

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    Considering that this question is indeed unclear and questions are put on hold to allow the OP to modify their question, it is strange that it got (just checked) already 4 reopen votes. The OP was last seen the time they posted the question. – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Oct 9 '17 at 17:21
  • Have you considered the possibility that people voted to reopen because they didn't agree that it should have been closed in the first place? – apaul Oct 13 '17 at 22:19
  • Yeah... That's the obvious part. But if those people could please explain why (or upvote your answer), that would give some insight... right now, the top 2 answers are stating 'leave closed' (+3/-1 both) , the question got +7/-2 votes, your answer is at 3+/-4 and the other answer for open is at -2. I'm just not seeing people reasoning here, which pissed me off. I've put a lot of effort in meta questions/answers lately, but I was seeing a discrepancy between meta and what's happening, and it felt like people were just muddling along. I've since learned that this is normal for a beta site. – Tinkeringbell Oct 13 '17 at 22:49
  • So basically, I don't know where the flaw in my reasoning is and this means there will probably be another question with the same 'problems' turning up soon. And if my reasoning isn't corrected, this will mean another time where I think that all the examples on meta prove that question should be closed, but where the community on main decides 'well, we'll ignore that'. If I never learn why that may be ignored, I'll never learn to adjust my opinions/arguments as to why something is/isn't a good question, and I'm basically just waiting time/effort here. – Tinkeringbell Oct 13 '17 at 22:55
3

I was struggling on that one yesterday, too.

I would have loved to answer that question, but without rephrasing it I had to assume an answer so I decided not to give it my reopen-vote, as OP had to clarify before. I was thinking about editing OP from all the "Do I...?" to "How do I...?" questions, but then I realized, while everyone assumes the same here, we can't actually know if in fact the intend would have been to ask "How do I not...?". So I decided to leave a comment and hope for OP getting clarified.

No response yet, and therefore with any given right, this is Off-Topic in the given state, and without any input of the author its also not editable in a way that changes the authors intend. So as much I would love to answer that post, I decided to leave it closed.

For your question, why you think people are voting to reopen it: it is a lesson I learned on other sites before. People tend to break the rules for something they sympathize with like "comments are not for thanks or +1 comments and that alike" But never dare to flag an highly voted condolences comment. ;)

And you quoted it already your self, emphasis mine:

While I sympathize with your situation, we cannot tell you what to do. What we can do is suggesting how to approach should you decide to coming out to him, or how should you keeping the status quo (while I definitely won't recommend it). Please edit your question so we can better provide answers that meet your needs. – Vylix 13 hours ago

I feel the same, and on this platform especially quite a few others as well. So it isn't about the post being On-Topic here, but about people wanting to answer it as they sympathize and probably simply want to add how they would handle that situation.

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    @dhein: OP can mean Original Post or Original Poster (abbreviations.com/serp.php?st=OP&p=3) depending on the context within a sentence – Tinkeringbell Oct 10 '17 at 16:06
  • @Tinkeringbell: Hm I used OP for Original Poster too quiet long. Once someone pointed me on the fact it stands for Original Post, while linking to an meta post that collected abreviations on for SO. Can't find it anymore yet, but allways had been anoyed of the fact that OP doesn't mean Original Poster v.v sigh – dhein Oct 11 '17 at 7:42
3

After having a long comment thread underneath apaul's answer, I think I should write an answer to my own question. This consists entirely of my own opinion after having that discussion, not apaul's.

Is this question on-topic or not, and why?

This question isn't on-topic the way it is worded now. But it would have been better off with a custom close reason like here, instead of being closed as opinion-based. I agree with some of the users here, that most of our questions and answers are to some degree opinion based. This is a good point to keep in mind when a new question pops up that asks us to make decisions for the OP.

Do I tell my friend I think I am not straight? Do I pursue a romantic relationship with him with or without sharing that secret? Should I risk losing him as a friend by possibly breaking up with him later because we are just too different?

All of these questions are reading like we should make OP's decision for them... I agree with the accepted answer here that this is not a good thing to do. The question can be easily edited to ask 'I want to do X, how do I do that'. "Do I do X? Do I do Y? and Should I risk Z? to me read like "Please make my decision for me". What are we going to do when the OP is presented with a decision that doesn't work, in this precarious situation? This is closely related to the second/third bullet point of my question, that there is no goal/desired outcome present. But again, a lack of goal did not rectify closing this question as opinion based, a custom close reason should have been used.

And as for the desired outcome being present, as apaul rightly stated:

  • We need some guidance in the help center to avoid users asking questions and to refer users to that make such a mistake.
  • We still have a lot of work to do on deciding what 'worded better' entails. For example: does a question always need to state the desired outcome explicitly? If yes, when will it be explicitly enough?

I think these points are deserving their own meta question, which could be linked to this answer as soon as they are written and have received some attention.

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    The question is on-topic it just needed to be "worded better" ;) – apaul Oct 10 '17 at 18:05
  • I've edited in that the 'wording now' makes it not on-topic for me, and put you in a disclaimer ;) – Tinkeringbell Oct 10 '17 at 18:51
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    See what happens when we need to argue 6 vs half.dozen =P – apaul Oct 10 '17 at 18:52
  • Let's make that another meta. I'm curious to find out how the community thinks about it. Would you mind coming to the chatroom? I've got some ideas on how to get that discussion going, but I'd like your opinion and help with picking example questions :) – Tinkeringbell Oct 10 '17 at 18:55
  • I'm going to delete my comments, what's left of them, from under the OP's post. The time to undelete the question has left the harbour, the unregistered user is not coming back, the number of votes in favour of reopening are stuck at four. If the majority of high rep users are so blinkered by a missing detail, or banal clarification, and will not reopen a serious and thoughtful question, unless it has been edited, then I don't know what else to think, say or suggest. We're all just wasting time navel gazing. – user3114 Oct 10 '17 at 19:45
0

I thought the question was both clear and answerable in it's original state.

Could the question be worded better to fit the SE model, yes it probably could be, but I think things are a little pedantic around here at times...

Looking at the question it seemed pretty clear that the OP was torn between options and all of their options had fears and emotions attached. I think they did a pretty good job of explaining their situation, what options they saw, and the potential downsides of each.

It seemed clear to me that the OP's "goal" was to maintain a relationship with their friend, but wasn't sure if escalating that relationship to a romantic one would be possible or advisable in the given situation.

Coming out is a difficult thing to do in the best of circumstances, it can be even harder when you have to consider how your friend of 12 years, that you have a crush on, is going to react to the news...

Given that there were three distinctly different answers posted, that all seemed to interpret the goal of the OP the same way, I think it's fair to say that the question's goal was clear enough.

To be blunt it looks like a

I have a crush on my friend, but he doesn't seem to understand that I'm agender/asexual or what that really means. Should I risk the friendship, by disclosing my gender/sexuality and pursuing a romantic relationship?

If I remember we've had a few questions about turning friendships into romantic relationships, this one just happens to have some complicating factors.

It seems like we're demanding questions follow a particular formula, without really explaining that formula.

  1. Here's my situation.
  2. Here's my desired outcome.
  3. Using XYZ interpersonal skills, how do I get to my desired outcome?

The problem seems to be that most people aren't aware of the formula, we haven't yet done a good job of stating it anywhere. And a lot of people don't think in such a linear way when they're untangling an interpersonal problem.

If questions must follow a formula, we need to be explicit about that. Or, ya'know we could relax just a touch and see what kinds of questions actually cause problems for the site before we decide that all questions of a certain type or style are problematic.

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    Where does this question state their desired outcome? I can't tell if they want a romantic relationship or if they want to stay friends. As far as I can tell, they're asking us to tell them which of the two they should choose. – Catija Oct 9 '17 at 19:41
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    @Catija "Do I pursue a romantic relationship with him with or without sharing that secret? Should I risk losing him as a friend by possibly breaking up with him later because we are just too different?" Would someone who just wanted to remain friends ask these questions? – apaul Oct 9 '17 at 19:45
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    The problem seems to be that most people aren't aware of the formula, we haven't yet done a good job of stating it anywhere. Good point. I'll take that to another meta (or would you prefer to that yourself?) I'm thinking of trying to get users to agree that a good question adheres to this, and then getting them to agree that it's necessary to state this somewhere? 3/4 – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 19:49
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    We could relax just a touch and see what kinds of questions actually cause problems for the site before we decide that all questions of a certain type or style are problematic. Do you remember this question? I personally think it's better to put something on-hold, and have a meaningful discussion on meta. Waiting to see what happens we risk hot tempers, comment wars and lingering feelings of resentment befuddling the discussion. 4/4 – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 19:50
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    this question would have likely gone that way regardless... The OP seemed to want to be validated more than ask a question about how to handle the situation... Probably not the best example. @Tinkeringbell – apaul Oct 9 '17 at 19:55
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    @Tinkeringbell I guess I don't find a lot of value in arguing about the semantics of how the question is worded when what's being asked seems clear enough to draw good answers. – apaul Oct 9 '17 at 19:59
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    seems clear enough to draw good answers. That's sort of the problem with opinion-based questions. They can go every which way, and all answers are equally valid. So yes, it really is important how the question is worded. From our help center: To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”. I can easily argue "Should I" being another version of "What's your favourite way of dealing with this?" 1/2 – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 20:09
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    If I don't know whether the OP wants to disclose, not disclose, remain friends or pursue a romantic relationship (Do I tell my friend I think I am not straight? Do I pursue a romantic relationship with him with or without sharing that secret? Should I risk losing him as a friend by possibly breaking up with him later because we are just too different?) I can write two answers, one arguing 'don't tell, don't pursue a relationship, don't risk breaking up later' and the other the other way round. And combinations of those. And all would be equally valid. 2/2 – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 20:12
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    @Tinkeringbell Not sure I understand why you consider Should I more opinion-based than any other questions here. Should I? can be answered with go ahead, and here's why or no, and here's why. – NVZ Oct 9 '17 at 20:20
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    @Tinkeringbell Should I do X is not equivalent to What's your favourite X?. You, I think, are mistaken. – NVZ Oct 9 '17 at 20:24
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    @Tinkeringbell To me, it's fairly clear that the OP wants a romantic relationship, but doesn't want to loose the friendship, which is a very real risk in coming out in such a situation. In other words, the OP wants to know which of "to disclose, not disclose, remain friends or pursue a romantic relationship" are the right options and they don't know which of these they want due to the above risk. Yes, there's a fair few things to be factored into any potential answers, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's opinion based – Mithrandir24601 Oct 9 '17 at 22:03
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    Even if there are only really two possible answers, either "Yes" or "No", are there any objective criteria by which voters can judge which of those two answers is correct, other than their personal opinion on the subject? If not, that's the essence of a bad POB question. A question can be primarily opinion based without also being too broad. – 1006a Oct 10 '17 at 4:28
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    "[...] that all seemed to interpret the goal of the OP the same way [...]" So why not keep the question on hold and give the OP the chance to clarify whether this interpretation was correct or not? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Oct 10 '17 at 6:55
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    @NVZ: this question and the accepted answer states that: "here's my tale of woe; what do I do now?" are too broad and opinion-based on many sites, especially here.. I'm sorry, but the question in question does read to me like exactly that, and that's why the 'Should I' in this context makes the question opinion based. – Tinkeringbell Oct 10 '17 at 8:11
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    Even more, they key point I'm seeing is, we aren't discussing if it actually is clear or not. Everyone agrees it is unclear. As even those counter arguing the close. Start with "what's being asked seems clear enough to draw good answers" or "Should I? can be answered with go ahead, and here's why or no, and here's why." Where as a "Should I" in that current state tends to be opinion based aswell. Yeah we all probably get OP's intend but we can't be sure. And I as aspie have trouble understanding why such rules should have border cases depending on interpretation. – dhein Oct 10 '17 at 10:00
-2

I'm pretty sure I did not weigh in on the question in terms of votes, but if I had, I'd've voted to open/reopen/keep open. Why?

Because we're doing more than assembling a dictionary of good questions and good answers. We're building such a dictionary using real people's real problems and real anxiety as raw material. People are trusting enough to share with us, sharing some very serious problems. [1]

What makes it more difficult yet is that some people have trouble articulating their problem. (This may be a factor in the problem itself, yes?)

Given all that, I prefer to give every possible benefit of the doubt with respect to keeping a question open. In the case of this question, there may be someone out there who has faced a similar quandary, with all its doubts and confusions, and can offer a good perspective.

Now, could be the answerers are missing OP's point entirely, because she's not making it well. That is a risk. And it's a shame that OP is too shy/absent/gone to clarify. It's just that I'd like the answering community to be able to give it their best shot.

[1] And some not-so-serious problems, perhaps. I just couldn't feel the love on the corn dispute.

-4

The user is asking for facts that allow her to decide on her future relationship with her friend caused by the problematic of her self declared asexuality. There are only probably two possible answers to the question. Change the relationship to a love relationship or stay in the current state.

I think the goal and source of the problem are clear enough, my only advice would be keeping the thread clean of noise caused by pro/anti lgbt ideas. In my humble opinion the original question has no ambiguity.

  • What do you suggest a good answer to the current form of the question will be? A suggestion to come out? A suggestion to stay silent? I believe you already known the consequences of each choice. Are you ready to take blame when the suggestion didn't work out in this sensitive situation? – Vylix Oct 10 '17 at 9:51
  • The last question in my comment does not matter, but everyone will have different opinion: "Yeah, just confess, it will be fine" "No, don't confess. He might hate you" and similar. That's why it is not a good fit for SE: primarily too opinion-based. – Vylix Oct 10 '17 at 9:57
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    @Vylix is it anymore opinion based than any other question on the site? – apaul Oct 10 '17 at 12:25
  • As with any other question on the site, either be technical or in this case an interpersonal skill, the answer can have multiple solutions. And with each solution an expected performance and probability of error in the implementation. The answers are based on each person experience and facts. Its like "How do i print a string to screen". The solution could be var="Hello"; print(var); or print ("Hello"),etc . In this case the ultimate goal is a healthy relationship with the other person. We will provide the answers based on facts of life and its up to the user to decide what suits him best. – Salvador Ruiz Guevara Oct 10 '17 at 13:14
  • Vylix, you are not forcing the user to an answer. We dont really have to feel responsible for the outcome cause they are only scenarios. It would be like having fear of feeling responsible for someone loosing its job cause they did not implement correctly a solution from stackoverflow to their code. – Salvador Ruiz Guevara Oct 10 '17 at 13:22

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