I was surprised to discover that @tchrist and others had declared this question about language usage off-topic. The "off-topic" flag description says:

This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.

The Help Center specifically includes questions about grammar and discusses nothing about excluding questions about usage. The fact that there's actually a tag ("conversational-deletion") that describes the question strongly suggests the question itself was on-topic.

I honestly don't understand why the question was declared off-topic. I was especially disappointed when @tchrist declared that:

Of course it's "grammatical", since "grammatical" is defined to be "sounds ok to native speakers". This is what we call conversational-deletion.

First of all, by declaring the example "grammatical" (right or wrong), @tchrist has admitted the question is valid and should not have been put on hold for being "off-topic."

Second, I'm familiar with what "conversational deletion" is, but was disappointed to find the tag has no meta information. I agree that "sounds OK to English speakers" is basically the underlying concept behind the acceptability of conversational deletion, but I'm pretty sure every English teacher in America would disagree with the claim, "'grammatical' is defined to be 'sounds OK to native speakers.'" That assertion is tantamount to, "there are no rules, this site has no reason to exist."

Therefore, I'm hoping to better understand the rationale behind putting the question on hold. I'm also hoping to understand how a blank tag justifies downvoting all the answers and, apparently, the question (which appears to be what happened, though I may be wrong about this). The action appears draconian to me, and I'd like to understand why it was deemed acceptable.

  • 5
    The explanation for putting on hold the question is contained in the banner, you need to go past the first line. For a learner, the type of observation presented by the OP is already a benchmark of language awareness for want of a better expression. However, for a non-native speaker it is not easy to find evidence which supports or contradicts their question: is the pronoun always necessary? The simple answer is: "No, it is not always necessary." It is a typical feature of English, perfectly grammatical, which native speakers do all the time.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 22, 2017 at 1:27
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    The question as it currently stands is better suited for ELL, English Language for Learners.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 22, 2017 at 1:33
  • @Mari-Lou A, I have no objection to that observation.
    – JBH
    Jul 22, 2017 at 3:39
  • It's a dupe and should be marked as such, because it has a title that a person might type in if they had no idea what all those nifty words mean, like myself. People don't come here to be told to read entire grammar books. I don't know what elision is, or conversational-deletion, and if I didn't know that missing words in a sentence were called dropped, I'd need this question, and then I might need the older dupe.
    – Mazura
    Jul 29, 2017 at 17:32
  • So, lack of research is out, IMO, and we're left with don't migrate crap (a practice I neither condemn nor condone - but it sure seems like everybody is more the former) When I google for this Q, it comes up, and it's basically the only hit that doesn't throw around grammar terms that I don't understand either.
    – Mazura
    Jul 29, 2017 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


The question was placed On Hold for the following reason:

Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic.

There is no research and it is too basic for our site.

It could well have been placed On Hold for a host of other reasons. It is also Too Broad and Unclear. "Is the pronoun always necessary?" was the question in the title. The answer to that is of course "no". But two different questions appear to have been asked in the body. Not sure which to answer.

The bottom line is that it is not currently a good question for our site in its current condition, which is why I've put it On Hold.

We are not a forum

Lastly, this is not a forum. It is not for discussion. It is a question and answer site. Question and answer sites are not discussion forums.

  • 1
    Ah, my title. My poor use of words does not invalidate my question. Anyway, the phrase "commonly-available references" (and the restriction associated with it) is not included in the reference material justifying closed or on-hold questions. Please have the courtesy to include clear justification for decions in the rules people are expected to abide. Stating them after the fact is unacceptable.
    – JBH
    Jul 22, 2017 at 0:50
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    And while we're on the subject, don't downvote everybody, don't chastize everybody. The comments and answers given were provided in good faith. If you sincerely believe a question should be closed for reasons posted on the site's various information pages, just do so. Your interference only to put the question on hold was very unprofessional --- smacking of punishment. I'm going to go delete all my comments. I hope you will do the same and recind your downvotes.
    – JBH
    Jul 22, 2017 at 0:59
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    I agree with all of this except the part about chastize not being a word. Jul 22, 2017 at 2:44
  • @RaceYouAnytime Then I can only surmize that this news will have come as a surprize to you. I would advize you to exercize some superficial investigations into these matters, and, having found, devized, or at least improvized the requizite answers, that you might kindly apprize us of your findings in this regard and suggest whether we should revize or even excize our previous position. While the invariant set admittedly comprizes a smaller number of words than the variant set, I promize you’ll have found that there's no disguizing or circumcizing away its existence.
    – tchrist Mod
    Jul 22, 2017 at 2:54
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    requizite! Now there's something I'd call not a word. :) Jul 22, 2017 at 3:06
  • :-) Touché, @tchrist. Old habitz indeed die hard.
    – JBH
    Jul 22, 2017 at 3:44
  • -1 because there are countless questions on this site which fall under the description 'There is no research and it is too basic for our site' yet they are allowed to stand. Jul 24, 2017 at 19:07
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    @Clare - Some might argue that those other questions being allowed to stand is the main problem – that shoddy questions are causing a gradual decline in the overall appeal of the site.
    – J.R.
    Jul 24, 2017 at 21:39
  • @J.R. That was my point. Jul 25, 2017 at 15:25

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