I have asked several questions lately, backtracking each time towards something that I feel is more and more well-known trying to find some common ground on which to build.

The topics I am asking about are known and established, but apparently no one here knows about them. (In many cases I cannot even choose an appropriate Tag to put on the question, it is that far from what has been posted in the past.) If these ideas are potentially very valuable to workplace improvement, how can I get a foot in the door without all my questions being declared off-topic? Can't we discuss a new idea here? Especially if someone thinks it is valuable?

This is like the idea of requiring a "second" to make a motion: if at least two people do not think something is worth discussing, it gets no attention. But someone has to be first with a good idea.

  • 5
    Could you edit in some examples? Also, we aren't really here to "discuss" things; we're here to answer questions. If you're raising ideas for discussion instead of asking clear questions, that could be the problem. – Monica Cellio Apr 13 '16 at 16:27
  • @MonicaCellio I figured that people would be interested in techniques or knowledge which could improve the workplace environment. But without any "data" to work on, there is no way to feed that in to the SE machine. I can't reach the very audience I most want to interact with. – user37746 Apr 13 '16 at 17:33
  • 3
    For good or for bad, The Workplace apparently isn't the place for "what do you think of <this book>?" or "what do you think of <this philosophy>?" type discussions. Perhaps if you form them into a specific question that could gain a specific answer, they would be considered more on topic here. – Joe Strazzere Apr 13 '16 at 17:50
  • 2
    If you're looking for discussion (what did people think of this book, etc), you can also try The Workplace Chat. – Monica Cellio Apr 13 '16 at 17:57
  • 1
    The audience you want to interact with can be found at many sites on the Internet. This isn't one of them, by design. – keshlam Apr 14 '16 at 2:35
  • Your last 2 questions would have been fine had you asked directly about how and when to apply the techniques you mentioned. Instead of asking for anecdotes ask for help in applying the skill and you will likely get some anecdotes to help you understand in the answer. Do not ask for thoughts or suggestions ask for solid answers. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 21 '16 at 18:58
  • @Chad I thought that a couple of my questions were more directed toward "how". Somehow I am just not wording things properly. It seems like if I am close but have missed the mark, someone could make an edit or at least a comment. – user37746 Apr 21 '16 at 20:05
  • As I said the last 2 questions were closer to that and could have worked had you asked how to implement the techniques. Just ask directly how do you do X, do not ask for opinions, thoughts, or ideas. Ask for the answer to your question. If you can not envision there being a single right answer to your question, then it needs to be refined. If you forsee your question leading to discussion then it is not a good fit here. Questions here should have correct answers. To do that they need to be asking for practical answers, not guesses or opinions. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 21 '16 at 21:57
  • 1
    What problems have you solved by applying Appreciative Inquiry? - This question is problematic because there is not "One right answer" It basically solicits a potentially infinate list of different problems that can be solved. - How do you use Appreciative Inquiry in your workplace or as a consultant to business? Instead try How can I use Appreciative Inquiry to improve our Change management process? The difference is asking a practical question with a definate answer. There could be many ways to do it and that is fine but the list is effectively finite because the scope is limted – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 21 '16 at 22:03
  • @Chad I guess you have answered my poorly-formed question: how do I improve one or more of my questions? Thank you. I don't think anyone here knows a thing about Appreciative Inquiry, so I suppose I will not try to fix it. I will try to remember how to ask a good question here, but it seems like one of those things that I do not fully understand, because my approach to things is so very different from what I see here. Maybe I should ask how I can fix that, but I am afraid I would ask wrongly. I tried once already... It is like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey. – user37746 Apr 22 '16 at 0:41
  • I don't think anyone here knows a thing about Appreciative Inquiry - I will admit I dont, but do not sell the whole site short. Also these questions end up on google so someone looking for information on it may find the question, and have an answer. In this way we bring new people into the site, and expand the knowledge base of the site. that is how this is supposed to work. Do not be afraid to ask questions that we may not have answers to. As long as they are well constructed questions that are on topic they will be accepted. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 22 '16 at 15:08

Can't we discuss a new idea here

I think you've missed a key purpose of Stack Exchange.

This is not a discussion board type of site. It is not intended (and never was) to be a place where people put forth an idea/thought and get opinions on their ideas.

It's intended to be an explicit question --> answer site. A defined question gets a defined answer.

Discussions are by definition not a good fit for this. Looking through your questions here it seems you would prefer a discussion board type of environment as a lot of your questions are along the lines of, "what are your experiences using technique X?"

  • I have struggled with this distinction all along, for about 2 years while on SE. To me, anything interactive is a discussion by definition. Yet, from your point of view, there are questions which can only be addressed discursively, and not definitively. Perhaps my personality type is not suited to this. I don't think in terms of solved problems, I explore new things. That is part of what made me a programmer, and why I moved on from programming once I understood it. Perhaps this could explain the people who keep showing up expecting discussions? – user37746 Apr 13 '16 at 17:29
  • 5
    Well, then move on to a discussion site. All SE sites have a strict Q&A format. A question is expected to be well defined and answerable with a definite answer. Discussing things isn't what makes SE successful, there are sites that are better suited for it. You can get some discussions going in chat, though. – Polygnome Apr 13 '16 at 17:37
  • 4
    @nocomprende To clarify, Polygnome isn't suggesting you leave our community or that we don't want you here. For discussion questions, you go to discussion sites; if you have a Q&A question, we welcome and embrace those here. We simply suggest using the right tool for the job, and that may mean being a member of both a discussion site as well as our Q&A site. :) Hope this helps! – jmort253 Apr 14 '16 at 7:11

If you have an answerable question about a topic that isn't yet discussed here, and the question is within the intended scope of Stack Exchange and the Workplace discussion, just ask the question. This happens all the time.

If you want a discussion rather than an answer, that isn't what SE is set up for.

If the question isn't about the workplace as we've been defining it, it will probably be ruled out of scope.

If you make this question more specific, we could give you an opinion on whether your question is likely to be considered in scope or not, and if not we may be able to suggest other venues.

You must log in to answer this question.