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Looking at this held question:

How can I convince my close friend to not give into societal pressure and not get married?

It appears to be held as "too broad", but the fairly extensive commentary seems to be focused on two issues:

  • There's no culture tag

  • OP has a long digression about custom of Sati and an intricate discussion about the economic-sexual powerbrokering going on in his friend's country

The culture tag he wants (almost certainly India) does not exist. Won't spend much time talking about that.

The issue here is that it really seems to me that this guy's question "got in trouble" largely because the guy (presumably OP's friend by proxy) has a lot of negative things to say about Indian culture. If that is the case, the holding doesn't really sit well with me.

Does it "launder" his criticisms that he's quoting his friend? That is, might we accept this criticism not as gospel, but as OP's friend's frustration with the very cultural complex that is giving him trouble?

While he does wax hyperbolic -- and the Sati part isn't really germane, because nobody's a widow yet -- non-Indian readers might very well need the extra context to understand the depth of the pressure that OP-friend is facing.

Hence I'd like to have the question reopened.

Thoughts?

  • 1
    'The culture tag he wants (almost certainly India) does not exist.' Then create that tag? – JAD Nov 9 '17 at 12:11
  • Regardless on whether the tag already exists or not (see answers below), you have 4.6k rep, you can create tags if you find current tags lacking. – JAD Nov 9 '17 at 12:12
  • What us a culture tag? India tag exists but it is usually described as a country tag here. – English Student Nov 9 '17 at 16:11
  • @EnglishStudent that's odd ... I "coulda swore" that that tag wasn't there; must have missed it somehow. Anyway, the whole tag thing is a minor bit. I'm more concerned about the other part. – akaioi Nov 9 '17 at 16:14
  • 'South asia' is the geo-cultural tag we need here. See my detailed comment under apaul's answer @akaioi. – English Student Nov 9 '17 at 16:24
9

There are a lot of things wrong with that question...

The first thing that struck me was the fundamental "my friend should choose my peer pressure over that of others" which makes for a bad premise.

Then there's a whole heap of cultural bias which only serves to add animosity to the situation. The OP is certainly free to have their opinion about their friend's situation, but they're laying it on awfully thick and laying judgement against an entire culture, which is kinda messed up.

Beyond those issues, asking how to manipulate someone in to doing what you think is best for them isn't a great thing to do...

Also, we do have the tag.

If the OP isn't from India, a new tag can always be created to offer a cultural context.

  • Maybe I am reading original Q wrong, but I'd gotten the impression that (most of) the rant was OP channeling his friend; can one not even criticize one's own culture? OP's friend is clearly conflicted -- he resents the pressure, and the mores he's being pressured into -- are we supposed to tell him "Shut up, it's yer culture"? C'mon... – akaioi Nov 9 '17 at 16:12
  • South Asia is the geo-cultural tag you need here @apaul because if you take out OP's mention of widows dying on the husband's funeral pyre (prohibited by law in India over 180 years ago, I think; Wikipedia calls it an obsolete custom and it's no longer socially prevalent so why is OP even talking about it here?) all the cultural descriptions in that question, mainly centered around arranged marriages, do not apply solely to a particular country or religion, but to a vast, culturally contiguous geographical region which includes India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. – English Student Nov 9 '17 at 16:22
  • @EnglishStudent I only mentioned the India tag because the OP of this meta question seemed to think we didn't have it. – apaul Nov 9 '17 at 16:24
  • It is interesting and very relevant that the India tag cannot automatically cover the cultural situation here if OP is unwilling to confirm his friend is actually from India. I can think of a few situations where the 'south asia' tag might be indicated. Do we have that tag already or how to create it @apaul? – English Student Nov 9 '17 at 16:28
  • @EnglishStudent Doesn't look like we have it already. I'm pretty sure all you have to do is type it into the tags field when editing or posting a question, after that the tag will be created, then you can add a tag wiki. – apaul Nov 9 '17 at 16:34
  • Thanks @apaul. Can we create a tag without using it right away in a question? – English Student Nov 9 '17 at 16:41
  • @EnglishStudent I don't think so. Also tags that aren't used on any questions get automatically removed by the system. – apaul Nov 9 '17 at 16:44
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    According to the help topics page on 'create tags privilege at 150 rep points', "Simply enter a new tag with your question and it will be created (...) on some sites, new tags will be automatically culled and removed from the system if they are not used by at least 1 other question in a 6 month period." – English Student Nov 9 '17 at 16:57
  • @EnglishStudent (unless they have a tag wiki excerpt)... and, no, you can't create a tag without a question to put it on. – Catija Nov 9 '17 at 20:40
  • Thanks for the full clarification @Catija. – English Student Nov 9 '17 at 21:16
  • [20 hours later...] So how will we proceed with this locked question @Catija? I mean, what is the usual procedure? – English Student Nov 10 '17 at 17:48
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I don't quite know how we could satisfactorily answer that question.

Is there any way to save him from the peer pressure?

This is vastly lacking in detail. Even with complete cultural context, we are lacking several pieces of key information that are necessary to do anything more then a shot-in-the-dark attempt to answer, like:

  • His friend's economic situation (Is he financially dependant on his parents?)
  • His friend's age (A lot changes if he is underage, for instance)
  • His friend's relationship with the family of his wife-to-be

Based on these factors, any applicable advice would vary wildly and what might be appropriate for one scenario might lead to disastrous outcomes in another.

In addition to that, the question basicly reads like a vast and thorough rant on a culture's practices, with a question couched in between. Most of the question's text isn't relevant to the problem at hand - it's just a long drawn out attack on cultural practices.

Personal opinions on the culture in question aside, I don't think such a question is a good fit for the site nor is it currently answerable to a satisfactory degree, so I agree with the closure here.

  • Not a good fit? The question boils down to how to help a friend who is struggling with his own desires vs family/society demands on him. That's pretty IPish to me. It's not a question about how to reform the culture. The rantage is a bit much, but I thought it was somewhat relevant, so that foreign readers don't just shrug and say, "So tell your parents no already". – akaioi Nov 9 '17 at 16:28
  • Adding to this ... the comment chain did not mention (unless some comments were deleted) these valid points (age, econ situation, etc) asking for fixes to those. The comments were all about "don't be judgemental about so and so culture". I'd've been more amenable to the hold if these -- your bullet points -- were the cited reasons, and if OP had gotten this useful guidance. – akaioi Nov 9 '17 at 16:36
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    @akaioi I think it could maybe be salvaged by a massive edit removing all of the ranty parts and editing some more detail specific to OPs situation. Maybe. – Magisch Nov 10 '17 at 7:25
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I think that question has all sorts of problems. Perhaps the most obvious symptom is that it's been the subject of a rollback war. The moderator's edit comment was:

Removed content that is no more than a rant against a certain culture and fails to meet our be nice standards.

Indeed, the content removed is largely a rant about an unspecified traditional culture. The asker suggests the information is necessary to "give you an idea as to why this dilemma exists in the first place." That may be true, but it's clearly not a dispassionate evaluation. In fact, I think it falls short of our be nice policy:

Language likely to offend or alienate individuals or groups based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. will not be tolerated. At all. (Those are just a few examples; when in doubt, just don't.)

Putting myself in the position of a traditional Indian person who is happy in their arranged marriage, some of the wording could very well offend and would certainly alienate. How would that (hypothetical) person, who might have the best understanding of the question, answer with confidence?

Another problem is the asker seems to have their mind made up. They want to save their friend from cultural pressure to get married by applying some sort of counteracting pressure to not get married. Reading the edits, I get the feeling that no answer will live up to the asker's expectations unless it confirms their predetermined opinion. To quote myself:

Do you see the potential problem here? If I ask a question that I already have an answer to and am prepared to scrutinize every answer that doesn't line up with the "correct" answer, I've just created an trap for the unwary.

It's understandable to want your friend to resist entering into a marriage that seems certain to make them unhappy. But this site has value only if answers are free to take the question in directions that the asker might not want. Answers must be free to say, as your answer did:

At the end of the day, he is the guy who has to make it stick. Your best value to him is moral support, and helping him talk through the consequences either way.

It seems as if the changes to the question were prompted by the desire to show how unacceptable it would be to let a friend fall into that particular arranged marriage culture.

  • You are very right @Jon Ericson. May I suggest the biggest part of the problem here is that OP is a very new member without any prior experience of Stack Exchange expectations. He is literally stumbling around in unfamiliar surroundings here. Coincidentally I asked nearly the same question just 3 days before OP at interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/6260/how but had sufficient experience on Stack Exchange to know how to phrase a question, especially what it should not contain -- so if OP is willing to learn from our guidance it might still be possible to 'save' this question. – English Student Nov 10 '17 at 8:52
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How “ranty” may a question be?

Not. See the don't ask section of our help center:

your question is just a rant in disguise: “______ sucks, am I right?”

Now, the problem here is that there's an actual question hidden beneath the rant, it gets buried underneath one. As I've stated in my comment reversing the post to its first revision, the good question was already there. It just needed 2 culture 'tags': one for the culture the OP was in and one for the culture of OP's friend. This should preferably have been stated in the question body as well.


It appears to be held as "too broad", but the fairly extensive commentary seems to be focused on two issues:

Wrong. Just one issue. I did not start close voting that question because I was missing information I just edited out. What was missing were two words, two locations. A simple sentence, that could have read:

We're currently living in X, but my friend's background is Y.

Nowhere in the rant I reversed was there a name for this culture/location, nor was the current culture/location of the people involved stated. What there was: disrespect for an entire culture and directly and nakedly insulting people or groups of people.


I'd like to use your own words against you:

There's the kernel of a good answer in there ("Watch out! GF is manipulating you!") which OP might do well to consider, but the tone is so ... feral that this gets lost. link

The same is happening with this question, in the form that OP wants it to be. See the first comment I made on that question:

I'm going to roll this back to its first revision. The things you added after that are reading like an angry rant and seem to violate the be nice policy It detracts from the value of your post that you're using it to call a whole group of people names. It is fine to discuss this with your friend in private, but it isn't necessary information to answer this question. – Tinkeringbell yesterday

It is problematic content, and as soon as it gets reopened like this, there will be comment threads and answers arguing for and against points from the rant, instead of helping the OP with their problem.


Does it "launder" his criticisms that he's quoting his friend? That is, might we accept this criticism not as gospel, but as OP's friend's frustration with the very cultural complex that is giving him trouble?

No. Let's say the friend had written this question himself. Then all of the above would still apply. The question would still have been a rant in disguise. The content would still be problematic. The question would still have been valid without the rants later edited in. There still wouldn't be a current location and a name for the culture/region where the pressure for OP to marry is from.


Now, as for how this question could be improved. See the answer of @Magisch, there are some really good suggestions there. I didn't even take these into account while starting the close-voting, the only thing I wanted to see were 2 locations.

While he does wax hyperbolic -- and the Sati part isn't really germane, because nobody's a widow yet -- non-Indian readers might very well need the extra context to understand the depth of the pressure that OP-friend is facing.

See? You're calling it Sati here. Edit in a Wikipedia link and you're done. No need for the rant. If the OP really wants to address issues like this, because to them it represents the seriousness of the problem, simply mentioning something like

There's a ritual called Sati, that's still practised. Basically, it means that widows are expected to die at the funeral pyre of their husband.

will get the point across.



Personally, one of the comments the OP made under the question gave me a much better impression of the seriousness of the whole thing, than the entire rant in the question:

I could give you an example, say, you get married and suddenly the mother in law comes in and asks you to quit your job and become a breeding machine. Your husband whom you had trusted and thought of as a companion suddenly changes and asks you 'to listen to your mother'. You aren't allowed to program, mess around on your arduino or have any hobbies. You are to live and raise children. You experience a loss of individuality like no other. Since I have only heard about this from someone else myself, I still cannot fathom what is so right about this. – kwonli 21 hours ago

Minus that last sentence, this is an example that's going to appeal to a lot more people than the whole rant about backwards traditions.


Most of these paragraphs containing the ranting can probably be summarized back to 1 or 2 sentences, describing the tradition and where it fits in to a pressure to marry. Or, they can be entirely deleted because, yes, they describe the culture of OP's friend in a very negative manner, but they don't address:

  • how miserable the OP's friend actually is.
  • an example of how people are pressuring OP into marriage.

For example:

Rape is at an all time high. In keeping a backward culture alive (which is in on itself is used as an excuse to perpetrate all the evil in the name of keeping 'traditions' alive ), they have actually promoted a culture of sexual repression, in the name of 'protecting women', these idiots have outright banned and shamed sexuality, not only is the effect opposite, it leads to a generation of aggressive males for whom sexual violence is common relief (it is to be noted that this repression is tantamount if not the prime reason for the creation of these people, another reason being the general toxic living environment). This has lead to an escalation of rapes across the whole country, generally perpetrated by males born and raised in a not-so-advanced socioeconomic environment when after living in a repressed one are introduced to modern day city elements.

I honestly can't see, how rape is connected to causing misery because of a pressure to marry.


The culture tag he wants (almost certainly India) does not exist. Won't spend much time talking about that.

Well, I will spend a few words on it. This is a good point, that I hadn't considered while vtc-ing. Next time, I'll be sure to include something in a comment like 'if you can't find what you're looking for, feel free to message me. I can add it for you'.

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