I am being banned from asking question in 7 days, but I'm not sure if the ban can be lifted so I can ask the below question?

Is there any research about silence in communication, especially in online settings (chat from established relationships, public internet forums)? I guess the common reasons for one side to drop the conversation or keep silent can be:

  • the conversation doesn't seem to get to anywhere (the partakers always misunderstand each other)
  • it does not bring any benefit for the silent partaker
  • it doesn't trigger an interest for them to continue
  • it requires cognitive resource to form answers, so they avoid doing it
  • the person simply needs time to think

Not bringing any benefit can be seen as the same with not triggering any interest, but the latter has more excitement on the receiver. The reaction for seeing something benefit can be "hmm, let me consider. I'd like to know more too, but I'm too busy right now", while the latter can be "Interesting! I didn't know that before!". In the latter, the partaker doesn't run any cost-benefit analysis.

Is there any pointer/resource to know more? I don't see any useful information in the Wikipedia page of silence.


1 Answer 1


Mods are not able to lift question bans. Even if they could, they'd be unlikely to do so as the ban is there to give you some time to work on your question asking skills. You will be able to post questions again once your ban period expires. With that being said, if you continue to post questions that the community deems as low-quality, you will get another ban that will be longer. So let's take a look at the question you want to ask and see if we can't make it a high quality question so that you won't get another ban.

Is it on-topic?

Let's start with whether or not your question is on-topic for IPS. The help center clearly states that questions asking about interpersonal theories are on-topic:

understanding theories and concepts commonly associated with interpersonal skills. - What is [theory/concept] or How do I use [theory/concept] to achieve [goal]?

The link in the help center points to a discussion about this topic on meta.

The question you've written here which you propose to ask doesn't quite fall under that topic, but it does however fall under the related topic of academic research. We have a tag, , which is specifically for asking that answers to a question be backed up with some form of formal research. Clearly, it is on-topic to ask questions which require formal academic research as an answer criteria. We've had this discussion to lay out what makes for a good academic research answer.

As it stands though, your question is primarily asking for a resource recommendation which is not a good fit for SE.

Asking for list of resources is usually off-topic on Stack Overflow websites since the links become quickly outdated, and questions about books (or other materials) is nothing but a "list question" which after a while becomes a discussion threads which is difficult to maintain.

Your question boils down to "Here is a pattern I've observed. I think this is why it happens. Can anyone show me research to support my claim". This question is not going to be received well here for a few reasons. The first is that asking for a list of resources is far too broad for SE. The second is that it reads like you just want us to google some things for you, which is not why we are here.

How can we fix your question

Looking at the open questions in the academic research tag, most of them take one of two forms.

What is the effect of X?

Why do people do X?

where X is a specific pattern of behavior. This question, this one, and this one are good examples of well received questions in this tag. It seems from your question that you are more interested in why conversations go silent. This discussion goes into details about what makes a question asking "Why do people do X" limited enough in scope to work here. The conclusion in that post was tha

To summarize, I believe that questions asking "Why do people do X?" should meet the following criteria to be considered appropriately scoped:

  1. Provide context about the culture of the people who are engaging in the behavior
  2. Explain who is involved in the scenarios that the asker has observed and how those people are related
  3. Explain in detail what pattern of behavior the OP has observed, and provide real examples to illustrate the behavior

Right now the question you want to ask is lacking in context about where and when you've seen the behavior (other than the fact that you've mentioned it being via some form of text based communication system). I would recommend focusing on that context and making a post in the sandbox to workshop your question before posting it to main after your ban period has ended.

  • Thanks for your answer. I have some questions: Would asking it as "what are theories of silence in communication?" well scoped? If yes, then what are the differences between "theory" and "research" questions? Does saying that Wikipedia doesn't lead me to any useful information count as already googling?
    – Ooker
    Mar 26, 2019 at 3:48

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