For example talking about a difficult topic like abortion, euthanasia, eating meat etc. and a simple conversation can get deep and difficult.

I'm thinking something like a "wormhole" or a "slippery slope" but neither of them are quite what I mean.

  • It can go off the rails. – Dan Bron Nov 18 '18 at 16:29
  • @DanBron Almost, but I'm looking for a phrase that more signifies "sprawling into something huge" than simply derailing – Ambidextroid Nov 18 '18 at 16:30

Can of worms...is this any more fitting for your usage?

Definition of open a can of worms : to create a complicated situation in which doing something to correct a problem leads to many more problems

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  • Pan·do·ra's box /panˌdôrəz ˈbäks/ noun a process that generates many complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something. any different? I find both fitting. – James Nov 18 '18 at 16:33
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    Can of worms, that's exactly what I was looking for, cheers! Pandora's Box also works :) – Ambidextroid Nov 18 '18 at 16:35
  • Hi James. Please note, if you quote someone else's words, it's essential that you make this clear (eg using quotation marks or blockquote formatting) and acknowledge the source. Not doing so is usually regarded as dishonest, in that you're passing off someone else's work as your own. More seriously, plagiarism is not tolerated on our site. I urge you to edit your post to acknowledge (and link to) the source of your definition. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Nov 19 '18 at 1:10

Starting to talk about something that leads to a long, complicated, or divisive discussion, that you have difficulty extricating yourself from, can be considered going down the rabbit hole.

From Macmillan:

used for referring to a situation that is strange, confusing, or illogical, and often hard to escape from

Quoting from the people themselves is the easiest way of showing just how far down the rabbit hole we are going here.

Professor John Kennedy invites us to jump down the rabbit hole and imagine a world where U.S. Supreme Court justices are elected democratically.

In my own colloquial speech, I will often phrase it slightly different than in this definition and say something like:

I would talk about it, but I don't want to go down that particular rabbit hole.

It's actually a reference from Alice in Wonderland, where Alice goes down a rabbit hole and ends up in a strange world she has a problem getting out of.

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