This is sort of the start for a blog post, I’ve been meaning to get something up but have been busy figuring out some apartment issues.)
Relationship advice online is pretty terrible. Clickbait upvoting mechanisms, selection bias, and unhinged sociological ravings dominate relationship advice online, not only for romance but every relationship you might have.
I can think of a few people who are trying to fix this. Visakan Veerasamy is the frontrunner just based on this post and related links. A lot of people are optimistic about making friends online, myself included. Other than that, though, my side of the internet seems somewhat pessimistic about using online advice, or advice in general, to benefit ordinary relationships. Occasionally, it seems downright hostile to human interaction at all. Here is the internet’s defining piece on office talk. Here’s Tyler Cowen on dating coaches. Here’s Conrad Bastable, explaining why good relationship advice is not online, and never will be.
Conrad is right: Publishing relationship commentary is insanely dangerous , to you and the other person. Frame it as advice, and now it’s dangerous to everyone who reads it. Pretty much everything you say to your significant other is based on mutual trust and trading that for the worship/ridicule of strangers is a massive risk. Visa is a unique case, he is Extremely Online in the best way possible, and we should not expect many to replicate him. (Even some of Visa’s links support Conrad’s criticism.) Furthermore, relationships involve two people, which makes it less valuable to read, write, and act upon. Then there are the problems Tyler mentions. Even if r/relationship_advice had good advice, you cannot go on a date if you’re lurking on r/relationship_advice all the time.
Even taking all that into account, online advice still seems to underperform. I am willing to concede a lot. I think any good advice would be “single player” and trivially tactical, nothing too sweeping, but I am okay with that. That’s kind of my jam. I am surprised there isn’t a widely-known collection of these small tips.