How do we address general questions, or questions about behavior, that are highly dependant on the region or culture that they take place in?

A new question asks about a student teacher conflict, where both parties could be the problem. The approach would differ based on who is considered in the wrong or why, but who is in the wrong varies culturally. In the US, the teacher would be considered wrong for acting like a 2 year old simply because a student was reading the text book. In other countries, the student would be in the wrong for not paying 100% divided attention, then not cowing to the teacher's demand to leave.

The question did not include a location, so it is difficult to properly answer in a manner that would be acceptable to the asker.

How should these questions be handled? Should it be answered in their context? VTC? Generally?

I am not asking about minor administrative processes like tagging the question.

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Should we tag our questions by (cultural) region? Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 3:40
  • 1
    By requesting the OP edit their question to specify a culture, and closing it as too broad if they don't. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 3:40
  • @curious this has nothing to do with tagging. See edit. And don't answer in comments.
    – Passerby
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 4:26
  • Specifically, that question doesn't even state that the type of question they are asking about would even lack regional information.
    – Passerby
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 4:27
  • 1
    Also related: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/q/6/102.
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 11:35
  • 1
    @curiousdannii Not a duplicate at all. That's about tagging, this is closing and the "what to do" sort of thing.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


This has sort of been raised earlier, in How do we deal with Cultural Differences? - I wrote that answer, and this answer is a bit of an extension from the one over there. Do read it.

This has been one of the things that's been really bugging me about the site. Almost all questions and answers seem to assume some american-western style of culture, which means that we implicitly discourage questions from other cultures.1 Since each situation is different, we need to be specific. We're not some sort of general advice site, and I wouldn't want us to be one.

The dangers of being culturally insensitive can be extremely dangerous. Many societies in the world today are being divided, and misinformation is becoming frighteningly more common. The entire world is slowing going to the internet, and every country is represented here. We want to cater to everyone, not a select group of people.

Saying that anybody from any culture can answer on a general culture question is a little bit ridiculous. We want to help people as much as we can. If that happens, you can find equally valid answers that say both yes and no. Both are right, but which one is appropriate for you?

Furthermore, since we're an English language site, our user demographic will be leaning to North America, Australia, Europe, and other predominantly Western-influenced, English-speaking areas. Due to these influences, which questions and answers will get up votes? The ones that are familiar to you. The ones that aren't may get a down vote, even if it's appropriate for others.

Those natural actions can end up discouraging members of other cultures from fully participating here. Also, people may not be able to end up getting the answer they really want.

But if we cater to a single group, it shouldn't be that bad, right?

NO!!! We want to be a site where anybody from anywhere can seek correct information.2 People are here to learn. That's why we need to be as specific as possible. If you're asking the same thing, but for different cultures, that's perfectly okay! We're here to build an encyclopedia of information to cater to everyone's needs here. If we have more questions, then the merrier.

There's no such thing as a "general" answer to a "general" question. We want specific answers to specific questions, because that is the only way we will fulfill our purpose, while serving people from all backgrounds, cultures, languages and faith traditions.

Sorry, I've finished my rant :)

Questions must include all the information, such as location, language, culture... whatever appropriate. I'll develop a sample reason that you can use when voting to close in a while (if you do VTC questions for this being culturally lacking, then do use the same reason so that we can track how many questions are closed using the moderator tools). Here's an example (feel free to suggest improvements):

Questions that don't include all aspects of the situation, notably culture, language, faith traditions and other aspects that are relevant, are too broad because they make all answers equally valid. Make sure to create a specific question that outlines anything that is relevant, to assist anyone to develop a fully-informed answer. For more information, please see Interpersonal issues with solutions that are culturally or regionally different?


  1. Yes, it's not our intention to discourage such questions, but it's difficult for many people to ask a question if they don't see familiar questions that already exist. It's important to be sensitive - this site is about interpersonal skills, which can become very personal or nerve-wracking for some people to talk about. Even if the community is inclusive, a newcomer may not see that.

  2. By my definition of "correct," I mean appropriate. Correct is subjective.

Also, my ideas here are a little bit fragmented, but I'll see if I can improve the flow soon.

  • In line with this concept and needing the information "in the question" we should not have tags that can substitute for this. No europe or japan for example.
    – User 27
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 17:07
  • @WitanapDanu They need to be in both. The question contains all the information, so whatever is relevant needs to be there anyway. Tags are there to help classify questions, so it would be required in the question, but not necessarily the tags (though encouraged).
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 17:08
  • Does that mean that some set of users can set the india as ignored and europe as followed?
    – User 27
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 17:15
  • @WitanapDanu Yep. If you don't want to answer particular questions with particular questions (or vice versa), then you can mark those tags as either ignored or favourite to help filter out questions for you.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 17:16
  • @Zizouz212 A "europe" tag is surely too broad though - we should be tagging specific countries in Europe. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 23:28
  • @curiousdannii I never made any comments on that, but I would trust that whoever is tagging has some good judgment :)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 4:04
  • *slowly, instead of "slowing"
    – 10 Replies
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 19:50

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