I recently saw a question on the "hot question" list about a dude not wanting to hurt his mother by moving away from her. (So I clicked through, otherwise I wouldn't have ever come to this sub.)

I had originally posted my advice in a comment because it has nothing to do with Buddhism (and I know NOTHING about Buddhism). That got deleted - fair enough, answers shouldn't be in comments.

So I posted it as an answer and elaborated a bit. I was hoping it would be downvoted (as it was somewhat off topic, I do realize that) but at least left there for the OP to see.

What should I have done in this situation as far as this sub is concerned? My goal/intention was to help the OP.

2 Answers 2


What should I have done in this situation as far as this sub is concerned? My goal/intention was to help the OP.

Intentions of wanting to help others are wholesome - even though the content of the answer, might not be on-topic on Buddhism SE.

In this situation one can:

  • Invite OP to a chat in the chat-rooms where off-topic content can be discussed.
  • Ask OP for his/her email address and provide an answer there.
  • Advise OP to ask the question on another SE as well and if possible provide an answer there (if its on-topic for that particular SE).
  • I'm not overly familiar with the chat rooms - is it possible to make a "private" one (not necessarily locked to other people, but created originally for just two)? Regarding the email - as far as I have been able to find, SE does not have a private message feature. Is there a way someone would be able to privately send an email address? I think it is safe to assume that the average person would not want it posted publicly online. For the third point, again, with no pm feature, how would one suggest asking on another SE? In a comment? Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 18:08
  • See here for chat rooms associated with this site, and here for the FAQ about chat rooms. It's not possible (except for moderators) to create a private room. And no "private" messages so you can't send your email address privately (you may publish your email/twitter/facebook address or anything else in your user profile). You may post a comment to suggest another SE site (but not another non-SE site).
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 21:37

In the end there may be little you can do, but I'll try to post a complete set of options.

And thank you for wanting to help.

  • You can post a comment (under the question) to suggest another Stack Exchange site, e.g.

    "This question would be on-topic at Interpersonal Skills (or Parenting), if you'd like to ask it there."

    Then, if they choose to post their question there, answer it there (according to the conventions of that site).

  • Learn a bit, enough, about Buddhism: so that you can begin to answer questions on this site.

  • Be a counsellor (perhaps a professional or friend): so people bring questions to you in person.

  • Maybe do nothing (except silently offer best wishes and hope that other people will help, and/or that the OP will find a way of their own): because you can do nothing -- the topic in question was tagged after all

No comment, on whether your advice and the reddit site you suggested would have helped the OP.

In the past I have been required to edit one of my answers, to clarify its connection to Buddhism: in a comment under Should content the from a Buddhist POV or Perspective or presented in relation to Buddhism, one of the (other) moderators wrote, "a buddhist approach should be added".

Now so far as I know, that (i.e. "answers must be related to Buddhism") is a policy of this site; and I try to apply the site policies even-handedly no matter whose answer it is or what question.

If you had posted an answer saying, "Well Christianity teaches X...", then would have been off-topic; and similarly an answer saying, "reddit teaches Y...", was also off-topic in my opinion.

Any question on this site is implicitly trying to ask about Buddhism. Any answer should at least, I don't know, try to be informed by Buddhist values, even when it isn't quoting Buddhist doctrine. If what you said is true, that "I know NOTHING about Buddhism", then this isn't (yet) an ideal site for you to post answers? And in this question the OP ended, explicitly:

I would just like to try to evaluate and get feedback on my situation from a spiritual/Buddhist point of view.

People take "refuge" in Buddhism. By posting on Buddhism.SE the OP is asking for a Buddhist POV.

Part of the purpose of Stack Exchange is to make sites which are moderated and so on (by the community)

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