This question

Defend myself/point of view in a conversation

Was held as too broad, with comments asking for specific examples.

I'm going to suggest that this holding is in error. The guy isn't asking for advice on how he should have handled one or two specific exchanges; he's noticed a strong negative pattern in how he argues a point and holds his audience's attention. He's implicitly asking for how to get training. He's also explicitly asking for it:

are there any resources I can use

Really, I think he wants to be pointed to his local ToastMasters club or community college rhetoric program, though he may not know that such things are available.

So let's please reopen the question.


Interpersonal.SE evolved into its current shape only recently but members made it clear early on that a question should focus on a specific interpersonal problem and contain enough details to generate practically helpful answers.

[It was meant to define the focus and scope of this website. Otherwise interpersonal skills is such a large and inclusive subject that literally any question about human interactions can fall within its domain! However the format for a question to be on-topic, not opinion based and not too broad means that the possible range of permitted questions gets restricted in the process.]

Looked at that way, this question does focus on an interpersonal problem but the problem is currently more general (OP struggles to defend his opinions in discussions with different people) than specific (as it would be if OP had an intellectual clash with a particular person.) Moreover there are too few details for a member to venture upon a constructive answer. So in the case of this particular question not only the more-general-than-specific nature of the question itself but also its being so short and lacking details might well have contributed to its closure as 'too broad'.


In a recently closed and reopened question that is essentially too broad by current site definitions, a helpful user asked that OP to include adequate details of at least one specific real-life example, which made the question much better aligned with site expectations and also much more answerable from a practical perspective:

How to support a friend with an 'insignificant' problem?

I think that's the way to go for OP to get this question reopened.

  • Hmm ... I do see where you're coming from, but I do wonder if we don't veer too far toward having the site be basically "esprit de l'escalier".com ... ;D I mean, we do allow some notion of generality, that's why similar questions get closed as "duplicate", yes?
    – akaioi
    Nov 6 '17 at 1:29
  • I don't think we need to absolutely insist on having a question focus on 'a specific interpersonal situation' in order to classify a question as not too broad @akaioi. There are multiple interpersonal issues that recur across our interactions with various people. So I strongly believe too many questions are closed as too broad, and elements of generality should be more welcome here. I would however expect OP to provide a lot more details here and elaborate upon his specific concerns related to 'defending his opinions in argument' in order to enable detailed and helpful answers from members. Nov 6 '17 at 9:09
  • I am also trying to find notable examples of more 'general' questions that remain open (there have been quite a few over 4 months) and shall link them here. Note however that all of them have been longer and a lot more 'rich in details' than the original form of this question from OP. Nov 6 '17 at 9:13

As a close-voter, I usually explain my reasoning when the closed question comes up in meta, so I will briefly explain, as @English Student already did a very good job.

Our help section states:

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

As I said, there are many books - entire books - on the subject (well, 989 on Amazon.)

It could also have been closed as unclear, as it asks many questions:

  • How do I defend my point of view?
  • How do I make people listen to me in an argument?
  • How can I keep people's attention?
  • How do I improve my communication skills?
  • What are some good resources to help me improve my communication skills?

Each one of those alone is broad without an example. Even the resources question: does he want to become more polished a speaker? learn to argue effectively? learn to be concise? etc.

This question is way too broad. You can point him to Toastmasters in a comment, but the question is still too broad.

  • I s'pose for me there's this constant tension between building our encyclopedia of answers versus "This guy needs help, we gotta give him something". It's an issue I'm contemplating, glacially...
    – akaioi
    Nov 13 '17 at 22:55
  • @akaioi - I completely understand the "help this person" feeling; I usually (on other sites) leave a helpful comment when I close vote. Sometimes I even answer a question I VTC (which appears to be an issue.) But when someone asks a blatantly off-topic question (E.g.: How can I become more attractive to the opposite sex?), I don't care too much how the person feels having their question closed. It's a terrible question for our format networkwide. Nov 14 '17 at 0:23

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