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Over a year ago, the question How to get spouse to empathetically listen to problems instead of offering solutions? was posted here.

My answer was brief, offered a book that was perfect for the situation, and a paragraph offering the advice that the author took a full book to explain. It remained at +4 vote, including the 1-2 down votes, I lost track. Today, 15 months later, my answer received two critical comments from a member (who also commented on a half dozen other sub-5-vote answers), and tonight, I see a mod simply deleted the answer.

As a mod on another stack, I am curious if this is the culture here? There were no votes to close, a year ago, and little comment back then. And yes, on Money.SE, I frequently have to explain to another member why I deleted a question or answer. Not always the OP, either. Members in general push back on deletions.


The answer:

There is a book published in 1992, Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus.

It describes the exact situation you are now in. The fact that, in general, men are problem solvers, and women, talkers, discussing their feeling and relationships. This is not my opinion, it's the premise of the book, which spawned a number of sequels and lecture series for the author.

In my opinion, identifying conversational styles is the first step towards understanding a partner, and strengthening relationships. By taking a step back, and discussing this issue, you can better learn how your partner thinks. Even though people are stubborn, if you explain that you need an ear to talk to, and 'work things' out, your husband might become a better listener.

The comments:

Hey, do you have any suggestion as to how exactly this conversation should go? Remember that people here are bad at interpersonal skills which is why answers need to have details and not just broad suggestion.

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Also, this was already suggested multiple time, what does your answer provide that others didn't?

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I don't believe your answer was given a fair chance, as it (in my opinion) contains all the details necessary for a decent answer. In your last paragraph, you:

  1. Isolate and reduce what you perceive the solution to be. identifying conversational styles is the first step towards understanding a partner, and strengthening relationships.

  2. Explain your reasoning for why your solution would work. By taking a step back, and discussing this issue, you can better learn how your partner thinks.

  3. Give more specific details on how to approach the conversation. if you explain that you need an ear to talk to, and 'work things' out, your husband might become a better listener.

Now, there could be other reasons why your answer may be deleted, such as it not being distinct enough from other answers. However, these are the justifications you have been given with my commentary below each:

  1. There's no information... on how to reach that goal.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe you provided at least some information on how to reach the goal, so I don't find this convincing. Perhaps you could have provided more, but the claim is that you provided none.

  1. You left out the part of the book that answers the question.

This is worthwhile criticism. I think you could have provided more details about the book, perhaps even some quotes. However, the core of your answer isn't even about the book, so I don't think this is a good reason for deletion.

  1. ... you already seemed aware that this answer wasn't a good subjective answer for quite some time.

If your answer was problematic and you didn't resolve it in a timely manner, it should have been deleted. This presumes that your answer was problematic, so is not a sufficient reason on its own.

  1. I found that [your comment in response to criticism were]... a bit sarcastic and unkind.

One of the many flaws of text based communication is how easily misinterpreted intentions can be. I can see how your comment may have been perceived as snide, but that is only grounds for deletion of the comment, which was done.

All of that being said, I believe the real reason your answer was deleted is that there are over 2 dozen answers on that question, your answer was short with few upvotes, and Tinkeringbell was just trying to clean up.

If you want it to be un-deleted, I suggest adding more details about the book and how it supports your point. You could also add more explanation about how OP could approach the problem.

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  • I feel compelled to respond to such a thoughtful and well articulated answer. Thank you for this. Each stack has its own personality. Had my original answer been commented on earlier, I might have engaged a bit. I have my phone set to ping me when I'm addressed, and I likely overreacted to 2 pings inside of a 2 hour span from the same member. Even at my home, Money.SE, when pinged on an old post, I can't always recall my thought process when I originally offered an answer. Funny, I read a question here, knew exactly the book that discusses the exact issue asked, and went down a rabbit hole. – user2134 Jan 9 '19 at 20:16
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    I was not 'just trying to clean up'. I explained in my answer below the reasons why, and I never mentioned 'just cleaning up'. Please don't ascribe actions or reasons to me that are not there? – Tinkeringbell Jan 9 '19 at 20:55
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I see a mod simply deleted the answer.

I'm the one that deleted that answer, after it was again flagged for being not in line with what makes a good subjective answer. As it was already flagged before, it wouldn't have ended up in the review queues for the community to take care of, so I took care of the flag. I'd like to point out that I never 'simply' delete an answer. There are always a few considerations I take into account.

The first is whether or not it lives up to some basic standards for good subjective answers. We're trying to live up to the standards described here and here. One of the points your answer didn't meet, was explaining how to execute the solution you offered. One of our users pointed that out in a comment already, hence I didn't leave my own on top of that.

The second point that I took into consideration, was that you already seemed aware that this answer wasn't a good subjective answer for quite some time. From the comments:

For here, I know just a book suggestion is not a good answer. I started offering a comment, but it went so over the limit, and offered enough details that I filled it to an answer.

and:

At Money.SE, I tend to give even a link-only answer a warning and polite request to offer a summary of what the book/article/blog offers that would apply to the question.

If you already know that a good answer includes information from the book that applies to the question, why didn't you add it to your answer here? There's no information on what the book suggests for getting the spouse to listen instead of offering solution, on how to reach that goal. You left out the part of the book that answers the question.

As a third point, I took into account the unlikeliness of your answer being improved upon. Your reaction to the comments from a community member asking you to improve your answer, to offer further explanation:

thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. Have a happy holiday season.

I'm sorry, but I found that quite unnecessary, even a bit sarcastic and unkind. If someone is working on improving the quality of answers across this site and in the process genuinely asks you to clarify your answer, and you say basically 'no, won't, goodbye', it's not too heavy-handed to delete the answer.

As a mod on another stack, I am curious if this is the culture here?

Yes, it is, and has been for quite some time, standard practice to delete answers that don't explain how to do things. Again, we're trying really hard to make things work here, and living up to the standards described in the two posts I linked above is a big part of that.

On a side note I must admit I (only yesterday) had some random thoughts about how our enforcement of these things is perhaps a lot different from how other subjective stack exchange sites handle this, and how that may cause confusion when people already think they're used to writing good subjective answers only to find out those answers don't fit on Interpersonal Skills and are moderated later on. I was thinking of throwing this thought out sometime somewhere for further discussion ;)

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  • I appreciate the detailed response. My comment to Noon was a reaction to a question that I hadn't thought about in over a year, and suddenly received 2 alerts within one hour. I understand (once again) that each stack is different. This one clearly isn't for me. Not sarcastic, just a farewell. – user2134 Dec 19 '18 at 11:51
  • @JoeTaxpayer It's a shame to see you go, as your moderation on money.se is always very diplomatic (in my experience) and proves you have a lot to offer here on IPS. – BlackThorn Jan 8 '19 at 16:24

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