English is a "soft" subject. There are topics need to be understood but there is not always an answer. For example, how a phrase is used in a paragraph or meaning of a paragraph in a story, a song.

Discussion is needed to understand them, without discussion, all just resemble reading from books or searching from database. However, this site is Q&A and not allow "discuss type" question. It's very usually the frustrating case when one tries to understand something and people just say it's off topic, this happens a lot in all strict Q&A sites like this one.

Is there a way for askers to understand those topics on Q&A site like this?

Where should I go to understand those topics then? (I can only see some random forums, is there a stackexchange site for this purpose?)

  • Hi all, this question asks for a guideline or best practice for the situation when people need discussion for understanding. I think that is a valid situation for the good of humanity and currently lacks of information. Please be objective.
  • Where do you often go to for discussion? Reddit/Quora accept all kind of discusion but the communities are very broad and there are many sub-communities. Practical guidelines are appreciated.
  • You may try writing.stackexchange.com – user 66974 Jul 1 '18 at 5:57
  • @user110518 I looked at it, seems it also has no-discuss rule. Moreover, that site is broader than English. For example, this question may also be restricted there for being too narrow. – THN Jul 1 '18 at 7:18
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    Literature allows for these sorts of questions, I believe. – Matt E. Эллен Jul 1 '18 at 8:27
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    I think THN has the right of it: SE is designed from bottom-up to be a set of straight-to-the-point W&A sites and specifically forestall extended discussion. No site in the network can give him what he’s looking for. Any recommendation is will have to be for external, third-party site. Like Reddit, or Quora. – Dan Bron Jul 1 '18 at 12:45
  • Or in real life with your English speaking friends, classmates, or colleagues. – curiousdannii Jul 1 '18 at 14:04
  • You appear to refer to what we call “POB” questions where only personal opinions can be offered as there is no definitive answers. Discussions based on personal opinions may be interesting but most of times they don’t lead to “answers”, and they just produce speculations, often unproductive ones. Plus this sort of issues tend to attract haters...do we need more? – user 66974 Jul 2 '18 at 9:33
  • @user110518 I'm not aware of "POB", what words is it stand for, is there a guidelines for it? Please point me to the sources, maybe in the answer, thanks. About "hater", is it really an issue? Things here are pretty much objective, there are different rules on different sites. – THN Jul 2 '18 at 10:18
  • Hi all, this question asks for a guideline or best practice for the situation when people need discussion for understanding. I think that is a valid situation for the good of humanity and currently lacks of information. Please be objective. – THN Jul 2 '18 at 10:22
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    For Pimarily Opinion Based (POB) questions, the best place to discuss the finer points is chat. To understand the where's and how's of chat, visit these links 1. english.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7393/… 2. english.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7397/… and 3. english.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7438/… – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '18 at 12:27
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    Just to manage expectations, while 'chat' is ostensibly for on-topic back and forth discussions to elucidate concepts, it has a tendency to be unfocussed with multiple threads and veering off into irrelevancies. That is, it tends in practice not to be very disciplined (and so may be difficult to get your desired end). – Mitch Jul 2 '18 at 13:10
  • But I think there is somewhere on meta some suggestions of where else to go for what the OP is asking. @Mari-LouA, do you recall? – Mitch Jul 2 '18 at 13:12
  • @Mitch Mmmnnnn nope. I sincerely thought discussions about questions was the primary scope of chat. Why on earth do the mods migrate comments to chat then? No, don't bother to reply. I don't care. I don't visit chat. I dislike chat. Sorry THN, I thought chat would have been helpful. 4. english.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7415/… – Mari-Lou A Jul 2 '18 at 13:47
  • @Mari-LouA I think that's part of the problem with chat. It may be intended for discussion, but ends up being used for conversation, and that among other things may be why people dislike it. – Mitch Jul 2 '18 at 14:37
  • that is a valid situation for the good of humanity”? Not sure what you mean by that. In any case SE sites are not what you are looking for...by the way what are you really looking for? – user 66974 Jul 2 '18 at 20:25
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    I think you don't fully appreciate how the expression "for the good of humanity" comes across in your post. Discussing the finer meanings of a word in English does not benefit humanity. It benefits the person or learner asking and to anyone who may have a similar or related question. Yes, we are part of humanity, and yes, good clear communication is essential. But humanity, in its wider (and proper) sense will not be affected because you or anyone else have understood better how to use (for instance) the past perfect. – Mari-Lou A Jul 4 '18 at 11:38

I knew there was somewhere here that at least attempts to answer this question. And that's because I asked it:

"I have a question, but it's off-topic. Where else could I ask?"

There are a number of online links there, but also general non-link advice. It gives 'chat' as an answer (haha again my answer to my own question), which I think is not that accurate on reflection. I will update.

  • Thanks for the link. That question has some very good resources. Where to discuss is still an open question, so it seems. – THN Jul 6 '18 at 12:59
  • I extended my answer re ELU chat; check that out. – Mitch Jul 6 '18 at 13:00
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    @THN If anyone active here on EL&U had specific advice you you, I think they would have weighed in by now. I think a lot of us are drawn to the SE Q&A model because we find a discussion forum not meeting what we’re looking for. Those who are chattier tend to hang out in EL&U chat, as Mitch says. Outside of that, I think you’ll have to conduct your own search starting from the top: say google, or recommendations from family, friends, or colleagues, or whatever initial path helped you find EL&U in the first place. – Dan Bron Jul 6 '18 at 15:37
  • From advices of all of you, chat seems to be the answer, although most of you also pointed out its drawback. Should this question be considered "solved"? I'm kind of reluctant. There is still not a general guide for discussion type question extending to outside SE, neither here nor the linked question, so I want to keep it open to any new answer or who will contribute a guideline. Should meta have a general guideline for it? This is getting more meta, to ask where to ask about where to ask discussion type question. – THN Jul 6 '18 at 19:06
  • @THN 1) if it is not solved sufficiently for you, then don't do anything to indicate so, 2) this qn is kind of a duplicate and may be closed for you 3) anyone (including you) could add an answer here (or rather at the other meta qn) if you find anything useful 4) once you go meta, all meta-meta and meta-meta-meta stuff goes there; you only need one level of indirection to get them all. – Mitch Jul 6 '18 at 19:11
  • I don't understand what you mean. Are your sure you said what you mean? – THN Jul 6 '18 at 19:59
  • @THN about which of those 4 items? – Mitch Jul 6 '18 at 20:01
  • 1) Is it contradictory? Should it be better to ask for more information when the answer is not enough? 2) What is being closed for me? How can I make it be closed for me while listening to other answers as I intended above? 3/4) Alright, that's good. About your concern about duplication, I think a separated question is needed, there are reason I could not find your question before. – THN Jul 6 '18 at 20:16
  • I know code of "be nice", but I also tend to "be frank" on the net to avoid misunderstanding. The writing environment and my language are limited, I have to make choice between clarity and subtlety. Sorry if that makes it not nice enough. – THN Jul 6 '18 at 21:02
  • @THN 1) What I meant by 'do anything' = accept an answer on one hand or delete this question on the other. so if you feel like more people might say something here, then don't 'do anything' that might stop them. 2) This meta question currently has 3 close votes, with 2 more votes needed. You seem new to the site so read the FAQs about closing in order to understand better. Re duplication: if the question is judged to be the same (by closing as duplicate, then asking the question again is silly. You'd have to be very clear about how your new qn is not a duplicate. – Mitch Jul 6 '18 at 21:47
  • @THN Re; not finding it - that's what is sad/funny. I wrote the question and answered it and still I could remember how to look for it. Search is hard. – Mitch Jul 6 '18 at 21:48
  • @THN Re: 'nice' - no need to explain. You're being both nice and clear at the same time. I was not admonishing you for not being nice. Yes, it's hard to be intentionally subtle in another language. – Mitch Jul 6 '18 at 21:50
  • 1) There must be some misunderstandings, I upvoted your answer but not accepted it, to mean to get more answer. – THN Jul 6 '18 at 22:26
  • "nice", that's a relief, I'm always worried about being misunderstood. – THN Jul 6 '18 at 22:27
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    I don’t think this question is a duplicate. It is just a question made on the wrong site. It is not clear why the OP insists on this issue here, especially now that ir is clear that it is very unlikely anybody will come up with that they are “looking for”, if they are really looking for something. – user 66974 Jul 7 '18 at 7:14

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