Been awhile since I have been here, hope all is well.

I am curious past the very brief explanation given by the moderator and the generic stuff in the help section as to why an answer that clearly helps people was deleted? At the end of the day, isn't that why we are here??

At any rate, a broader explanation would be appreciated.

Thank you!

Answer in question: exhibit a

  • Your answer isn't about communicating with other, so it's not an interpersonal solution, so it has been deleted. I don't understand what more explanation you need? Also, the downvote might have been because of the title. The number of upvotes (and the age of the answer) have nothing to do with the answer being a good one.
    – Ael
    Nov 14, 2018 at 19:14
  • Not my downvote, but it may be because it has already been covered here that age on the answer doesn't really matter and many of these show that upvotes don't really matter either (while these seem to be your only arguments that your answer is valid). However, I think asking for clarification for why your answer is not a fit for this site is perfectly reasonable. If you add more explanation for why the one-liner from the mod isn't satisfactory you'd have my upvote.
    – scohe001
    Nov 14, 2018 at 19:15
  • 2
    The mod hasn't done this on is how. Since we are our of HNQ, I'm going through old question and make sure the question and their answers fit your quality guideline. I was the one flagging your answer as "Not An Answer" because, for me, it's not an interpersonal solution. I can't find the review queue for this answer but I'm pretty sure other members of the community agreed with me and that's why your answer was mod-deleted.
    – Ael
    Nov 14, 2018 at 19:31
  • 1
    We probably already have meta post who talk about that but, if we don't, feel free to write one.
    – Ael
    Nov 14, 2018 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


I was the moderator who deleted the answer; I should explain my reasoning.

The question comes from someone interested in cross-dressing who's asking about deflecting awkward questions he receives while making purchases (e.g. "Who are you buying these for?"). Your answer was

How do I deflect such questions politely and without public embarrassment?

If you're hesitant to lie and you don't want to be out and about with your clothing preferences, you could avoid this situation entirely by shopping in a LGBT area.

Doing this would allow you to avoid most ridicule or uncomfortable questions. This is not to suggest that you are or are not LGBT but these people are going to be much more accepting of you than say your local family outlet.

I believe you will find that, a shop that serves the LGBT community will also be well placed to advise, reassure, and most of all be non-judgmental.

A quick Google search of LGBT shops in your area should guide you as to where you might more comfortably shop.

Don't let other peoples perceptions of you rattle your karma, be who you are.

As I wrote in my comment - and as apaul has repeated - this isn't an interpersonal solution. It's a solution, but not the sort that this site is for. I've said this a lot to new users: Our URL is interpersonal.stackexchange.com, not imlookingforanysolutiontomyproblem.stackexchange.com. We aren't a general help site, and so, as we decided a long time ago, answers like this one are not suitable for the site. To be honest, my philosophy - and I think/hope others agree - is that answers should teach the asker an interpersonal skill. After all, that's our name.

I think some similarly barred answers might be

  • "Build a gated fence around your yard" to a question asking about how to talk to a neighbor who keeps taking your morning paper.
  • "Eat at a different restaurant" to a question asking about how to order at a restaurant in a foreign country with a menu in a language you don't understand.

To be honest, your answer almost reminded me of a frame challenge (e.g. "How can I do X?" "Well, don't."), but such an answer would likely talk about why a given action would be considered rude or inappropriate - in other words, have a rationale that's based on interpersonal skills anyway.

I apologize for my brief comment; I thought it was self-explanatory enough, but in the future, I can elaborate more.

  • 3
    How is shopping at a place and seeking advice from like minded people not interpersonal? Again, I think hairs are being split and a useful solution has been made unavailable to someone who may really need it. This is not a good move for a site that has the broadest criteria for acceptable questions and answers. Having said all that, I really do appreciate your defense of the action taken.
    – user1856
    Nov 15, 2018 at 16:22
  • 2
    @MisterPositive To some extent, I think that the boundary is blurry. My stance is kinda that an answer should teach the person how to use interpersonal skills in a given situation (hey, that's the site name!), and I would argue that "Shop elsewhere" doesn't really fit in with that.
    – HDE 226868
    Nov 15, 2018 at 20:30
  • 1
    Would it have been inappropriate to first suggest in a comment that the post (as it was when it was deleted) be part of a larger 'interpersonal solution', with the post's content as maybe a last resort? From the votes, it suggests that some people found this info useful. It could have been expanded upon to be more in-line with site guidelines if given the chance rather than just being deleted, no?
    – user8671
    Nov 16, 2018 at 11:30
  • @Kozaky There were indeed a number of comments underneath the post (most soon after it was posted) suggesting improvements in various ways (there were eventually about 28, some related to this point). The user edited the answer, addressing some of the issues, but not all of them.
    – HDE 226868
    Nov 16, 2018 at 13:39
  • 1
    @MisterPositive You are right. Deleting the Answer is difficult to justify. Finding different people to interpersonal with is a totally legitimate solution.
    – DTRT
    Nov 29, 2018 at 15:35

As mentioned, your answer was a well intended answer and potentially a very helpful response, but it wasn't really an interpersonal answer.

I've hit this issue and had a few of my own answers removed for this reason, it's always frustrating, but occasionally it's the right thing to do for the sake of the site. Individually these answers don't seem to cause problems, but it's easy to see the site sliding down a slippery slope where the majority of answers become non-interpersonal and that will likely lead to problems maintaining answer quality.

As in... if "avoid the issue entirely" or "try this non-interpersonal solution" become tolerated answers we're likely to see those answers on nearly every question. If you're familiar with workplace.se, their "Is 'Quit your job' an acceptable answer?" is somewhat similar.

In this specific case, I think your answer was valuable, and worth saving. I hope that you can edit in a more interpersonal approach, and keep your original answer as an aside.

  • I tried....let's see if I can get the undelete votes...
    – user1856
    Jun 14, 2019 at 16:50

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