First, I don't have any opinion on the scope of the site focusing on communication - no agreement, no objection. However, I see that many arguments on various topics about the scope (e.g. https://interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/a/2205/86 ), and I think whatever people's arguments are, as long as this site is named as "interpersonal", their answers will always and inevitably be shaped by their understanding of the word. This is purely the linguistic/cognitive problem, and we would be wasting time arguing if we don't have a clear, indisputable definition on "interpersonal".

So what are the definitions of the word?

  • Oxford: Relating to relationships or communication between people
  • Merriam-Webster: being, relating to, or involving relations between persons
  • Cambridge: connected with relationships between people
  • Macmillan: involving relationships between people; interpersonal skills (=the ability to create good relationships between yourself and other people)

I see most dictionaries don't include "communication" in the definitions. Sure, the scope of the site is independent to the dictionaries and can be make clear in the tagline or help page, but does this have any problem?

  • 2
    You can't really use the definition of half of the site name to define the site scope. It's like saying that a site about "sandwich cookies" can't be about cookies because "sandwich" definitions don't mention cookies at all. The site isn't named "Interpersonal", that's just our URL.
    – Catija
    Dec 5, 2017 at 19:42
  • I think you're right. It's just that "skills" standing alone is not as strong as "cookie", at least in my head. I didn't perceive "interpersonal skills" as a unique word that has different meaning to "interpersonal" alone
    – Ooker
    Dec 6, 2017 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


Much, if not most, of the interaction between two people is communication, whether verbal, written or body language communication. This seems natural to me. In fact, our blurb clearly states "communication" as part of who we are:

Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people looking to improve their interpersonal communication skills. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about interpersonal skills.

But you seem to be focusing on "Interpersonal" as if that's the name of the site. It is not. While it is the shortened name for the URL, most people I've seen mention the site, call it "IPS" - which is short for the site's full name - "Interpersonal Skills". Much like Arts and Crafts has the url "crafts.se" and not "artsandcrafts.se", or Science Fiction and Fantasy have either "scifi.se" or "fantasy.se" the site URL is not trustworthy of the entire site scope. I have, on a few occasions mentioned that I think the URL would be better if changed to "ips.se" or if such a URL could be added as a redirect but I don't know if that'd be accepted.

But right now, when you call the site "Interpersonal" and ignore the "skills", you're judging the site by only half of the site name, which makes it difficult to understand the full scope. Questions about interpersonal relationships are often not on topic here, though often for reasons of being too opinion based, such as "Does this person like me?" or "Is my girlfriend cheating on me?".

But many questions about interpersonal skills don't involve communication. These are often questions about standard etiquette, for example.

We're still figuring out our scope, though, so much of this will likely be in flux for a good while. Any help we can get to determine that is welcome. I have a feeling that, in a year or two, this site will have very different thoughts of what is on topic and what is not. Time is an excellent test of scope and if we get too many of one type of question and find they don't lead to productive outcomes, we may prohibit those in the future.


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