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Question 16793 is an etiquette question asking about the common courtesy of how/when to stop conversation with someone in online dating.

This question was closed as "primarily opinion based" and from the comments there are two reasons for this.

The first of which I disagree with and that is that this question is asking "what should I do". Since OP said "What is common courtesy in these situations? How is it commonly handled?" I think that fairly clearly indicates this is an etiquette question and asking about the when to do something, which is significantly different to asking "when/what should I do about this" and more importantly it is on topic.

The second point is the part I am really asking about. Which said:

I see what you mean - although I'm not sure when it comes to modern dating (i.e. online) that there really is an expected norm, since everyone can have wildly different expectations. It's really going to come down to the individual you are going on dates with which may leave this still as too broad/opinion based.

-and this raises some good points.

This comment argues that there is no etiquette as it differs from person to person. Personally, I think this is a half truth. Sure there is no clear universal etiquette and what people expect might depend significantly on a variety of factors but I think that is the case with a lot of etiquette questions? The help centre does say that etiquette questions should be "well-established and expected" but is that really our barrier for entry? Even some of the most common and established social etiquette expectations can have about 50 asterisks with variatons and exceptions for different people and circumstances.

Personally, I even think that there is an established etiquette in OP's situation. It is just that factors like age, type of relationship and seriousness in pursuing it plays such a significant role in determining what to expect.

Previous to reading the response to this question I would have thought that "There is no etiquette" and "The etiquette is __ but 1, 2, 3 impact those expectations in these ways" were both potential answers to an etiquette question but now I am not so sure.

If a scenario has no etiquette does that make a question asking about the etiquette invalid? Do we put any etiquette question that is not "well-established and expected" on hold? Since people typically ask about etiquette they don't already understand how can we expect askers to uphold that standard?

With this in mind in regards to question 16793, should we have put it on hold?

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    After this question was closed the op brought their question to the sandbox to get some feedback on how to improve it. The comments on their question might sign some more light onto why it was closed. – sphennings Jul 24 '18 at 1:40
  • @sphennings I will keep an eye for further updates but as it stands, the only real critique in sandbox is insinuating it is asking "What/When should I" which I addressed in the first point of this question. I think their description/comments clearly indicate they are talking about the etiquette rather than just asking "when should I". – Jesse Jul 25 '18 at 8:08
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I think the closure is a good thing. Take a look at was bolded in the question as being 'the question':

The question: When and how should I tell some one I've been talking to on an online dating site that I'm now seeing some one else when all parties involved consider themselves monogamous? What is common courtesy in these situations? How is it commonly handled?

That's, at the very least, very broad. I think too broad. It's also opinion based to an extent that different people would probably like to know at different points, one person might be perfectly fine with you talking to multiple people, and even meeting them once or twice in real life before deciding who to focus on, while others would be offended at the idea they didn't had your undivided attention from the get go.

The 'how should I tell' part is problematic too: it sounds a lot like 'what do I say/write' which we've decided on IPS to be off-topic. So yes, people were right for putting that on-hold.


I've answered a meta about what makes a good etiquette question before, I'm going to quote a part here:

I think a good, on-topic etiquette question contains a few things:

  • Enough evidence that we're indeed dealing with a form of etiquette here
  • Asking whether or not the rule applies in a given situation is preferable over whether or not doing something would be rude/inappropriate/okay etc.
  • And, as our help-center suggest, it may focus on understanding the rule, on the reasoning behind it, just like a question about a theory or concept might.

To me, this question doesn't meet that standard, instead, it's indeed asking us what to do in this situation. It's not proving it's asking about a well-established and expected behaviour.. So to me, the question in it's current form isn't fit for Interpersonal Skills SE and should remain closed, until people can work with the asker in Sandbox and find out a way to make it work.

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  • I still don't understand how a question asking about the existence of some form of etiquette can be expected to prove that said etiquette is well established. Following the link, your best example about wearing white to a wedding outside US only proves that the etiquette exists in an alternate scenario to the one actually being asked about. If they could prove that wearing white to a wedding outside the US is a well-established etiquette then they wouldn't have needed to ask the question in the first place. – Jesse Jul 26 '18 at 0:56
  • I do understand that we want some sort of constraint preventing people from asking about the etiquette of literally any random scenario that likely has nothing to do with etiquette. But proving that it exists completely invalidates any question asking if an etiquette exists (such as our wedding dress example). At best I think we can only expect questions to justify why the asker thinks there might be some established etiquette which would weed out the completely unrelated ones. – Jesse Jul 26 '18 at 1:01
  • That being said... this question did not even justify this. So at this point I agree with the result of being put on hold until further edits, but am nitpicking at the reasons for being put on hold. Might be better to just ask a new meta question. – Jesse Jul 26 '18 at 1:20

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