I advised a new user to consider also ELL for his posts. In his META post OP observed that :

We're supposed to be providing research, but sometimes the points within a post are so obvious that research is unnecessary.

Given that ELL places less emphasis on research compared to ELU, I think that ELL may be a more convenient place for the OP to start to familiarise with SE English language sites.

A mod from ELL complained about my suggestion for no clear reason, and finally my post was deleted.

My suggestion is based on my personal experience, and the issue of research on ELL is real and consistent as far as I am concerned. This difference in emphasis on research is probably due to the different targets that the two sites have, but why was my suggestion rejected?

Does it mean that we are "kindly" invited to avoid suggesting ELL to new users from now on?

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    I don't think the real reason is related to whether or not the standards for research are equal on ELL and EL&U. Even if ELL requires less research, someone who offers outright disdain for researched answers is probably not a strong candidate for either site. Jun 2, 2017 at 23:21
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    @RaceYouAnytime - I don't read that as "outright disdain fot researched answer" but as an observation about the appropriateness of posting research on questions that require relative simple answers.
    – user66974
    Jun 3, 2017 at 5:22
  • @Mitch Oh, you are late to the party. ;)
    – NVZ Mod
    Jun 3, 2017 at 13:47
  • Finally having read everything, the answer to your explicit question "Should we avoid suggesting ELL to new users?" is obviously no. As to the entirely unrelated issue of research, that you should take up on ELL and that particular mod there.
    – Mitch
    Jun 4, 2017 at 17:02
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    @Mitch - thanks for your suggestion, but it is impossible (and finally a waste of time) to discus a problem with someone who refuses to recognise it.
    – user66974
    Jun 4, 2017 at 17:27
  • @Mitch Josh has already asked on ELL, he just didn't like the response he got so has decided to willfully misinterpret it. I took exception to the suggestion that ELL is the place to go when you don't want to live up to ELU's standards instead of where you should go if you have an interest in learning or teaching English. I'm sure the ELU community wouldn't want me sending folks here because it's OK to answer in comments instead of because they have a passion for the English language.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 5, 2017 at 19:29
  • @ColleenV - of course not, because on ELU there is a costant complaint from mods and users about questions in comments. Whereas on ELL unresearched answers are a common accepted practice, possibly good answers, but still unresearched. Can you show complaints about this, apart from mine? But I could show you hundreds of unresearched answers if you will. Given all that, if that is the culture users and mods feel confortabile with, great, I wouldn't, but it is ok. I don't see why you insist that is not how things actually work there.
    – user66974
    Jun 5, 2017 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


I deleted it. Comments are ephemeral. No-one should treat any comment as lasting, even on Meta (where, in general, a more relaxed attitude is taken to commenting).

I think you may consider also our sister site ELL where there is less emphasis on research. ell.stackexchange.com

That comment was flagged and objections were also raised in comments. Answers on ELL should be researched, just as they should be on ELU.

@Josh Please don't send people to ELL unless they have an interest in our topic, which is helping people who are learning English, not up-voting answers with no credible sources cited. Our leniency on research is for questions. Anyone who is fluent enough to answer a question should be able to support their answer.

Given that the comment was wrong, flagged and objected to, I deleted it. That meant deleting other comments which followed from it, so I did that too.

But again, comments are ephemeral.

  • Well, since I've been here I have always seen suggestions to visit ELL in comments. As for the research issue on ELL I've already clearly expressed my view providing evidence from personal experience, and the fact that someone disagrees doesn't change reality. Anyway I'll avoid recommending ELL in comments in the future. Thanks
    – user66974
    Jun 3, 2017 at 9:05
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    It's not a question of recommending ELL. The issue was saying that ELL doesn't need research.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jun 3, 2017 at 9:07
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    I never said that, as you posted above I said "ELL places less emphasis on research," which is confirmed by the number of unresearched answers usually posted on that site, unlike ELU. But if that is the culture of the site I don't see what the problem is.
    – user66974
    Jun 3, 2017 at 9:26
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    Well, the assertion was challenged. I suspect there is a difference between the current membership's answers and the site aims. That deficiency is something we have (still have) to deal with on ELU, but subverting the aims of a site [like ELL] by directing substandard answerers there is not going to go down well. As I said, by all means direct learners to ELL: the problem with the comment was making a judgement about how that site seeks to operate.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jun 3, 2017 at 11:46

I personally never took exception to your suggesting ELL to a new user. In fact, that’s something I’ve done on this site countless times.

That said, I found your conclusion about research inaccurate and misleading. The ELL meta question you link to is not saying research isn’t important. Rather, it’s saying that research need not be required and enforced with zeal.

I downvoted your ELL meta post based on this one line:

Should, in that respect, the use of referenced material be "always" used when posting an answer?

Always is a strong word. I think both sites should be flexible and situationally dependent.

It’s too bad the conclusion you drew from that ELL meta discussion is that "there is a difference in emphasis on research," and that "ELL places less emphasis on research compared to ELU."

There’s a big difference between “not required” and “not important,” and one doesn’t imply the other.

I don’t moderate on this site, so I can only speculate as to why your comment might have been removed. That said, I’m glad you opened this discussion, because it gave me an opportunity to weigh in on what I regard as a bothersome misinterpretation.

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    My interpretation is not misleading, what I find "misleading" is the number of unresearched answers that are regularly posted on ELL also by high rep users. Given the audience is often made of NNSs who are learning the language, I'd expect a more active and helpful use of links to reliable sources. But it is probably just my personal view on what I'd expect from an answer, even a simple one.
    – user66974
    Jun 3, 2017 at 5:37

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