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I'm relatively new here (and so apologies if this is not a relevant discussion), but I've seen a lot of questions asked by users that pertain to Intrapersonal issues rather than Interpersonal issues. While it is well established that these questions are NOT in the purview of Interpersonal Skills, it seems that just like any other StackExchange site the goal should be to help the users where possible.

Many other Sites will provide a link to another StackExchange site when a question is not applicable to the stack they are in, indirectly helping the user resolve their issue.

Is there another StackExchange Site that we could redirect Intrapersonal Questions to? If so, should that be standard operation?

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    I believe I saw a comment conversation on this meta months ago where shog or a mod here was saying that a place like that would be “Intrapersonal.SE” and would be far too subjective to ever actually be a part of the SE network. – scohe001 Aug 27 '18 at 18:59
  • @scohe001 Interesting. Do you know why it would be too subjective? It would be along the lines of actions you could take to improve something about yourself, which seems similar to Interpersonal Skills being 'actions you could take to improve a relationship with someone else' kind of thing, no? – Onyz Aug 27 '18 at 20:22
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    Looks like I was thinking of the conversation on this answer. To quote Robert, "it doesn't seem like questions dealing with deeply personal self-help issues are a good fit for platform that does not support the conversations these subjects deserve, Without that empathy and support, this is more a source of frustration than a 'better Q&A solution.'" – scohe001 Aug 27 '18 at 20:36
  • It may just be me but isn't an Interpersonal SE just as deeply personal, really? I've seen a lot of questions here that talk very indepth psychologically about figuring out how the question asker wants to proceed and maybe those are off topic but they've clearly helped people regardless. – Onyz Aug 28 '18 at 11:17
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Is there another StackExchange Site that we could redirect Intrapersonal Questions to?

Short answer - no.

For the academic side of psychology and cognitive science, there is a Psychology SE, but they explicitly disallow self-help questions. Self-help questions are also off-topic at Lifehacks SE, and Productivity SE, which I suspect is the closest to a self-help stack thus far, was shut down for lack of activity...

The Psychology SE meta post has a great explanation of why self-help in general doesn’t work well with StackExchange:

Stack Exchange in general discourages questions that are "too localized", meaning that they only likely apply to a small set of people, and will not be very useful to future visitors looking for material on that particular topic. Since everyone is quite different, it's difficult, if not impossible, to generalize advice, and even if we could, we shouldn't.

Can't we just try our best and dispense what we think will work? Well, why shouldn't we, this is the internet and people come to Google first for help all of the time, right? Certainly, I can fix my own brake hydraulics in my car using instructions from Joe's Auto-matic.com (sorry Joe), but I'd hate to put my own safety at risk by not taking the advice and harnessing the experience of a professional who deals with this type of thing all of the time, and is certified to do so.

Likewise, in cases where you are seeking help, you should seek advice from a doctor or licensed mental health professional who can see you in person, learn the important parts of your history (medical, social, and psychological, without you having to share it with the interwebs), and can tailor a treatment or other plan that is right for you. How can we tell if your "brief funk" isn't due to an autoimmune disease, and someone telling you "just smile your way out of it and read Aaron Beck's books at bedtime" isn't going to put you in danger? We're thinking of your own safety here, and not in a patronizing way, but in an "it's your own safety" kind of way!

But, you ask, what if the person answering the question is a licensed doctor, psychologist, therapist, or nurse practitioner? Well, laws vary in terms of right to practice under certain conditions, and any quality clinician should want to see you in person, at least once. I think you would find that most responsible clinicians, even if they could treat over the internet, wouldn't risk their license to provide you with sub-optimal care anyway.

Another point that is kind of implied by all that: StackExchange is intended to curate expert Q&A. We can expect to find some experts in ... but there's really no such thing as an expert in , aside from User123 themself and maybe their therapist or very close friends.

Finally, it's okay if there's no place on the network for these questions. It doesn't mean those questions are bad -- it just means that they don't fit in this particular box. There are many other communities on the internet willing to take on topics like self-help, relationship advice, how to cope with depression/anxiety, etc., and OP is totally free to search those up and post there instead. (I participate in a couple such forums myself!) An actual discussion forum will also allow you to carry on conversations, ask many follow-up questions, and share stories in a way that StackExchange discourages.

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Interpersonal problems are different in that even though situations are often quite personal, we can always lay out and explain societal expectations for communication and how that impacts each scenario. From there, we can draw out the most appropriate course of action. Any user in this stack likely has sufficient knowledge throughout their own lives to provide credible advice to question askers, since communication and human interaction is something we all experience every day. Interpersonal problems/situations are universal, something we all experience.

Inversely, intrapersonal problems come from a number of places (involving mental health issues), and are ultimately better to be treated by a therapist who can dedicate real time and effort into getting to know the individual in question in an effort to assist with their intrapersonal problem. It is not common sense how to work on intrapersonal issues, it is not something we are all exposed to on a day to day basis, because these issues are so individually tailored to the person feeling/experiencing them.

For these reasons, IPS doesn't allow intrapersonal questions and there is very little chance that there will ever be an Intrapersonal SE.

The best thing to do, IMO, is to suggest the person in question seek professional assistance in real life. We just don't have proper, reliable resources on StackExchange to be assisting with potentially very personal, serious matters.

  • I know that even for actual Interpersonal questions that deal with mental illness the questions are closed and redirected to a real life professional therapist. There are a great deal of non-critical questions that do not fit into that category for Interpersonal, I'm just not sure I understand why there wouldn't also be a great deal of non-critical questions that fit into intrapersonal as well. – Onyz Aug 28 '18 at 13:22
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    @Onyz Have you considered pitching an intrapersonal SE on Worldbuilding and seeing what the feedback would be/if it could come to fruition? – Jess K. Aug 28 '18 at 14:13
  • Does Worldbuilding normally handle that sort of thing? I didn't know. I also feel like I don't really have as much time or experience with SE to be the champion for such a thing... – Onyz Aug 28 '18 at 14:20
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    @Onyz OOPS not Worldbuilding... (second Monday is kicking my butt, sorry). I meant area51.stackexchange.com. I personally can't envision enough "non-critical" intrapersonal issues to ever have a successful SE for it, but if you believe in it and have sufficient means, you could always try. – Jess K. Aug 28 '18 at 14:22
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    Oooo, neat! I didn't know about that at all. Ah, maybe. I'm thinking things like "I've been having trouble sleeping, here's what I've tried: XYZ, here's my situation: IJK, does anyone have any experience resolving my problem?" Kind of thing, but maybe you're right, I dunno. – Onyz Aug 28 '18 at 14:25

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