When there are too many discussions happening on a single issue which is simple. What proverb would be apt ?

  • You might say "more heat than light", meaning the endless discussion is going nowhere, doing nothing, but making people angry. Or you can say "this has been discussed ad nauseum" (technically Latin, not English, but still).
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 2, 2015 at 14:01
  • It sounds like you're all 'going over the same ground'.
    – JHCL
    Oct 2, 2015 at 14:09
  • Overengineering.
    – Drew
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:37
  • I'd make up my own: "This is like discussing 20 ways to ring a doorbell."
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 3, 2015 at 7:07

3 Answers 3


A tempest in a tea pot.

I've always been partial to the above, but it doesn't have much of a repetitive aspect.

Much ado about nothing.

This implies a lot of unwarranted activity regarding an issue, but doesn't really imply repetition either.

  • In internet slang, we use the word "troll". But I prefer William Shakespeare's immortal words "much ado about nothing" (title of one of its best comedic plays written in 1598-1599).
    – Graffito
    Oct 2, 2015 at 14:39

Not all the following may be apt in every situation. Each one is dependent on what the particular issue might be. I'll therefore try to tell why a particular proverb is apt, given the issue.

  • Why are we beating a dead horse? (In other words, the issue--whether simple or not--has already been dealt with, so let's move on to a different issue instead of wasting time.)

  • Let's not reinvent the wheel. (IOW, lets not cover the same ground from the very beginning again. We've already laid the foundation, so let's move on from there. We are wasting precious time.)

  • Empires are crumbling. (IOW, while we are wasting time talking about settled issues, momentous things are happening all around us. We should be discussing them, not this relatively petty issue.)

  • We're getting off the track. (This one is more apt when a group is discussing a topic which is only tangentially related to the primary issue at hand. IOW, discussing that topic is detracting from more-important discussions.)

  • We're just covering old ground. (The foundation has already been laid, so let's move on and build on it.)

  • The less the said, the more the better. (I don't know if anyone else's grandfather used this one from time to time, but mine did! IOW, in the multiplicity of words, not only is there danger of getting sidetracked with minor issues, but there is the possibility of too much being said, thereby clouding the issue or even offending people.)

  • "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise" (the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament--Tanakh--of the Bible. IOW, sometimes over-talking an issue--especially one that has already been settled--can lead to trouble.)

  • Occam's Razor. (While this one is a bit of a stretch, since it is appealed to when too much talk introduces too many unnecessarily complicating assumptions. However, someone in the discussion can appeal to Occam's Razor as a way of pointing the way to what the next building block of discussion should or could be. IOW, let's simplify and move on.)

  • "The clock is ticking, folks," or simply "Tick tock," meaning we're wasting time on minor issues, and our time is limited. Let's get on with it already.

  • "We're being sidetracked!" (IOW, instead of moving the discussion ahead, we're getting stuck discussing irrelevancies or ground which has been covered before.)

  • "Let's cut to the chase." (IOW, instead of wasting time discussing relatively minor matters, let's tackle more important matters. This one likely grew out of a movie audience's need for less dialog and more action, as in a car chase in such films as "Bullit" or "The French Connection.")

  • "Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment" (Hebrews 6:1-2). (Obviously, this one is not proverb-length! However, it serves to illustrate how we can major on minors, which leads me to my last suggestion; namely,

  • We're majoring on minors. Let's major on majors for a change!

  • That last one has a double entendre that could be subject to misinterpretation. Oct 2, 2015 at 17:45
  • 1
    @EricHauenstein: It's possible, I suppose. Didn't even cross my mind, however. Come to think of it, sounds like a slogan which could be apropos for NAMBLA's mission! (Excuse me while I puke!) Don Oct 2, 2015 at 21:18

There is 'Too many cooks spoil the broth'

Something that you say which means that if too many people try to work on the same piece of work, they will spoil it


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