Is it OK to use "where" for explaining non-physical place? For instance, is it OK to say "It is a social network where users can ..."?

  • That sentence is fine and where is talking about the place - social network. So the antecedent is social network. – Man_From_India Feb 19 '15 at 13:26
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    @Man_From_India: Indeed. Obviously something like a "social network" doesn't meaningfully "exist" in any particular place (= physical location) anyway. But we routinely use "spatial" metaphoric terms to reference such contexts. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 19 '15 at 14:47
  • Thanks, @FumbleFingers - Such as what? – Alireza Ghaffari Feb 19 '15 at 15:41
  • @Alireza Ghaffari: Such as ELL itself, where we use English much the same as anyone else, but we're not collectively in any particular physical location. Or an even more abstract "location" such as quantum mechanics, where they also use figurative language in exactly same way. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 19 '15 at 22:51

Yes, that sounds perfectly normal. In this context, 'where' could be swapped with 'in which'.

'In which' is often used to describe contextual details:

I had a dream in which I was a superhero.

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