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One of the core goals of Stack Exchange is and has always been to make the internet a better place. That doesn't just mean providing quality questions and answers, or having a framework that (mostly!) promotes straightforward Q+A and keeps things on-topic. A Stack Exchange site should add something that no other sites - whether they be Quora, Yahoo! Answers, or random forums - do.

Something that's bugged me about Interpersonal Skills since the start of private beta was that we don't seem to be doing that. It's an advice site - and sure, that sort of thing can work. However, it seems to be just another advice site, in terms of content quality and scope (for instance). We've already tried to talk about this a bit in terms of making answers less purely opinionated (1, 2), and discussions are ongoing, but that's only one way we can improve.

As we approach public beta - and I hope we do get there - I'd like us to consider and try to answer the following related questions:

  1. What can we do to make Interpersonal Skills not merely another advice site?
  2. What are we already doing well, and how can we stand out even more?
  3. What role do we fill on the internet that is currently unfilled?

A related question from a couple weeks ago, by the way, is A private beta. What can we do to make this site a success?.

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  • Very constructive. Thank you. – Robert Cartaino Jul 12 '17 at 15:20
  • This question could potentially receive a lot of answers/solutions when we enter a public beta, perhaps the wider community who use this site will have a more diverse range of ideas for the site's purpose otherwise unconsidered by us, or perhaps offer questions and answers in an entire new region. – Crafter0800 Jul 12 '17 at 15:22
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    This has really really really been bugging me over the last couple of weeks. I can't put my finger straight up to where it is. I haven't been here for a while now - I've had a whole bunch of holidays and preparations for them - but from what I've seen, there's something that makes us worse than the other advice sites that I've seen. Which really sucks because if in my mind I'm thinking that Quora or Yahoo! is better, than something is really wrong... – Zizouz212 Jul 13 '17 at 21:17
  • The answer on the last point is quite the same than for lot of others SE's site. To have most objective and possible answer to a concrete problem which when you can find it on the net, it's always incomplete, not objective at all and to make your own opinion you need to go through 10 different blogs. – Walfrat Aug 24 '17 at 11:50
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After a few minutes thinking on and off about this question, another site popped into my mind. The Travel SE.

Over there they have a similar set of questions and answers, people ask for opinions and advice on travelling, so hoping for an answer for this question I went over there to see what sort of other questions they had other than the general "advice for traveling to x".

The best thing I came up with where "why" questions (such as this one). Not questions asking for advice, but why things were a certain way, which, in some extend, could apply here (for example "Why in Japanese culture is it considered rude to finish your meal completely?", note this wasn't an actual question, but I remembered it from the comments of another question). I think this would move away from the "what to do in x situation" and move more towards "why are things a certain way". In addition, we could have longer questions such as "How to improve on x", which don't involve a situation, just how to improve on a certain personality trait.

Ultimately I think we need to be prepared that a lot of this site it going to be a Q&A, but as travel has proven, that doesn't mean we're going to fail as a site. Provided we are able to attract visitors with good questions and answers, we should be okay.

It might even be worth revisiting this question a few weeks into public beta, to see what progress we've made, and see if there's any more progress that can be made.

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    I think that either Parenting or The Workplace are more similar. I find that many of the questions on Travel are actually about the rules/regulations/laws etc. Things that deal with passports, visas... that sort of thing. If they're not that, the questions still seem pretty objective to me (Is ___ language spoken in ___?, how long does it take to get from A to B). In fact, I think that broadly opinion based questions "Should I go to C or D on my vacation" are off topic there. – Catija Jul 12 '17 at 16:57
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    @Catija My experience of Parenting is that it is a terrible advice site. Not something we want to be emulating here. – curiousdannii Jul 13 '17 at 1:46
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    @curiousdannii That's your opinion... I don't know that I agree, but is irrelevant to my comment. We are talking about sites that have similar issues with regard to subjective content and I think, if anything, you will agree that the types of questions asked are similar. – Catija Jul 13 '17 at 1:54
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    @curiousdannii That's not a particularly constructive comment. You've expressed several times in the past that you don't like Parenting. Okay, fine. But they do a great job of reigning in overly subjective content and reducing debate when dealing with a sensitive and complicated subject. If anything it's a model we should be following. – HDE 226868 Jul 13 '17 at 21:17

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