Maybe once everyday I stumble with questions like "I'm feeling down", "How do you deal with the early signs of burnout?", "Feeling trapped to the job [closed]" "Should I stay or should I go?" and many other mood-related questions?

As I understand that are important questions, I'm not sure about if SO is right place to ask them.

How can we, politely, ask users to seek professional help and to avoid posting psycho-related stuff?

  • 2
    "How do you deal with early signs of burnout" is now closed. :)
    – John Rudy
    Oct 16 '09 at 17:48
  • 8
    +1 for "I need a hug"
    – cletus
    Oct 16 '09 at 17:59
  • 6
    Hug them then :)
    – Phoshi
    Oct 16 '09 at 19:27

I'm going to sound callous, but this is a Q&A site. Not a suicide prevention hotline. Close it as 'Not Programming Related' or Subjective or whatever else, and if you're worried about the guy, post the hotline and move on. We're a community, but we're not really a community at the same time.

  • 1
    +1, but close as "not [site-focus] related." Which they all are. People problems are unfortunately not part of the Trilogy's mission. (That said, I wish I could +10 for "if you're worried about the guy, post the hotline.")
    – John Rudy
    Oct 16 '09 at 17:47
  • 1
    "We're a community, but we're not really a community at the same time." I disagree. We're enough of a community to have a Meta site, which is essentially a discussion board. Oct 16 '09 at 18:01
  • 2
    Whenever I think of a community, I think of a place you rush to tell them you got engaged, or a promotion, or laid off. A tighter knit community than this, where it's a lot of random topics and personal ties. SO isn't anywhere near that for me. Which is why I say we're "not really" a community.
    – Tom Ritter
    Oct 16 '09 at 18:05
  • I suppose we're operating on different levels of community here, and mine is a bit looser than yours. Fair enough. By your definition, no, we're not a community. Oct 16 '09 at 18:11

Create a new user account called FreeHugs and make sure he/she says something randomly positive whenever you see it; then vote to close with your regular account.


As an aside to Tom's excellent advice, if you don't have close privs, flag for mod attention. They can take care of the post in question.


I've noted with pleasure that the default SO response to iffy legal questions is starting to be "see a lawyer", in contrast (say) to the Slashdot tradition of people from various unknown jurisdictions and varying knowledge of the law being very definite of what it is or isn't.

The psychological questions are similar. I know a lot about C++ and some other topics, but I'm neither a lawyer nor a psychotherapist. Perhaps we should start cultivating a response suggesting professional help while closing the question.

(The legal questions are frequently more programming-related, but the psychological ones tend to be less.)


If they're questions about programming careers, rather than psychology, they may be suitable for the programmers Stack Exchange web site.

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