Having been a member of this site for a while, I understand and appreciate the difficulty involved in determining whether a question is on-topic. That being said, this question appears to have been closed for a reason that's not valid:

How can I stop my colleagues being disrespectful about my personal life choices?

The "real questions have answers" close reason instructs posters to explain what they would do to make a situation better. While the question comes off as a rant, it seems inarguable that the poster did explain what she would like to do to improve the situation - for her, at least. I suspect that the question was closed because people disagreed with what she wanted to do, not with the fact that she didn't provide it.

I believe that questions like this are valuable. To me it seems a bad idea to close questions because the poster proposes the wrong solution - we fail to educate people on the topic, but also lose the ability to change their way of thinking about professionalism and workplace relationships at a more fundamental level. For these reasons I'm voting to reopen.

My two cents. I would appreciate other opinions as well.

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    The question is now reopened after 5 votes
    – user8036
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 8:34

3 Answers 3


Coming from a programming background, I think this question falls into the XY Problem category.

An XY problem is when someone asks, "How do I do Y?" But often times, Y is considered a bad idea. So the question naturally arises from others: "Why do you want to do Y?" The asker might respond, "I'm trying to do X." The other people very quickly realize the solution: "Y is not a good approach to solve X. Do Z instead."

This is something we encounter in software regularly, and I think this perfectly describes the situation with this question. The OP asked how to write this letter (the Y) and was thorough enough to provide the underlying problem of treatment by coworkers (the X) they are trying to solve. So answers advising against writing the letter and instead proposing alternatives were posted.

I would argue that these kinds of questions can be useful when they include the original underlying problem. Imagine the perspective of someone who is in a similar situation considering similar action. They seek advice on how to accomplish it, and they find this question advising against it completely. This gives them an opportunity to stop and reconsider their actions before they do something ultimately harmful to themselves. (I am not suggesting this is always the case, merely that it can be. Case by case determination of that is probably warranted.)

That said, it seems there is agreement that the question comes off as a rant or is otherwise not of high quality. That doesn't, however, negate the usefulness of the basic, underlying question. If the quality of the presentation is the problem, the best response is to edit and salvage the real question, not close it. If an edit war ensues, flag for moderator attention to lock the post or take other appropriate action.

I think it would be completely appropriate to close as a duplicate if a question asking about this kind of treatment from coworkers exists, but this is the kind of "good duplicate" that StackExchange wants to keep around. It funnels users looking for information a different way into the information that would be most helpful to them.


If a question has answers, is it "real"? This question has several real answers including mine.

I don't understand why this was closed. The question (although seemingly edited into several different forms) seemed real, if the solution posited by the questioner seemed misguided.

I'll join you in voting to re-open, although I'd like to hear counter-opinions on why it should stay closed.

  • 1
  • @gnat - it's clear that a question with an answer can't be unanswerable - by definition. As far as closing it, that's for others to decide. Any question can be closed with reason text that matches reality or not. If a member answers a question in a forest, but nobody is around, what sound does it make? (or something like that...) Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 14:18
  • per my reading of the guidance referred in prior comment, mere fact of users dropping something into Question and Answer text boxes is not sufficient to qualify the result as a content worth keeping (not even if asker clicks an Accept mark)
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 15:06
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    @gant - I understand. Rather than "unanswerable" it's actually more like "not worth keeping". Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 15:25
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    This is the way I read it as well and also seems to correspond to @mhoran_psprep's answer. There doesn't seem to be a close reason that equates to "not worth keeping", though. Maybe we need one?
    – Roger
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 1:14

The proposed edit "how should I word the letter" makes all the existing answers invalid. The majority opinion is don't send the letter, which is an answer to the original question.

The problem is that the series of questions asked by the writer are nothing more than a series of rants. I did not vote to close the original question, but I almost did several times. My overall feeling about the series of questions was that the writer is not happy at work, and is lashing out at everything associated with the employer.

I just don't think that this is question that many people will find useful. Thus I voted to keep it closed.

  • Actually, I don't think the change invalidates the answers. The best response to "how should I word this" remains "don't".
    – keshlam
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 4:50

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