So this regards the question What is the Difference Between Emoji and Emoticon?

This question was closed as gen. ref., because it lacked research. I do not necessarily feel as this was appropriate at the time, because there was no resource which directly answered the question, and it took months for this question to be closed with no real general reference being used.

Reopening it today may seem unreasonable. Research efforts made today would lead to an answer from some fairly authoritative resources too, so this is typically the sort of question I would insist should remain closed as a general reference question. However here I am, suggesting that perhaps it should be reopened anyway.

Why is that? Emoji is a word with a Japanese etymology, and that makes it something of special interest to me because I am a member of the western Anime subculture, and we often use japanese derived words to refer to distinctly japanese things. I have also used instant messaging services such as the defunct Microsoft Network and have a forum membership at a couple of internet forums. Based upon my direct experience, I have an opinion that is somewhat contrary to the conventional wisdom regarding the subject, and I would very much like the opportunity to eventually express that opinion. I did not do so the first time, simply because of the transience of internet resources I had in mind for using to answer the question at the time, although I have since discovered some archival tools which make me more comfortable with using them.

It also seems to me that since the question has been asked, that the question regarding what the difference between an emoji and an emoticon is has become quite a prolific subject to cover, so it may still be of some interest for other members of the community. Terdon seems somewhat interested at least, despite my express presumption that it will never be so. He does not feel strongly enough about it to do me the favor of a direct endorsement here though, so I have to do my own dirty work. XP

Also, the general references seem to be in a distinct disagreement with the one answer provided. The answer provides for some overlap between emoticons and emoji, whereas most general reference resources argue, for some reason, that emoticons are textual, whereas emoji are pictorial. With 10 votes, an accepted answer, and a gen. ref. closure, it almost seems as if we endorse the given answer wholeheartedly, which may make us seem a little silly if there are not other answers for the sake of peer review.

There are a few approaches we could take to this. We could consider the matter settled and leave it closed permanently, we could reopen it, or maybe we could even ask a new question with the intent of making a new canonical question in a better mold and wipe the slate clean. What does the community think?

I shall probably wait to cast my own vote on the matter until after reading some other opinions.

  • Since you asked me... I'm not sure what I was thinking two years back. Apparently, I'd voted up, and to leave it open, in the first review, and while it was closed in the second review, I don't see my name in the history. So I must have chanced upon the question sometime in between the two reviews and cast a close vote on my own for the apparent "lack of research". The third and latest review wasn't very kind.
    – NVZ Mod
    Feb 7, 2018 at 19:23
  • @NVZ It was as kind as a review needs to be. No one wrote insulting comments on the question. No one rubbed it in their nose that they wouldn't reopen the question. Feb 8, 2018 at 2:46
  • I waited but in the end, I had to cast my vote (it's the 3rd) to close that question for serious lack of research. I see you have a deleted placeholder, I'll be happy to retract the vote to close if the answer exhibits absolutely amazing and original content. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 8, 2018 at 15:23
  • @Mari-LouA Hmm, I do understand. That's why I put up a placeholder. I'm not fast at all regarding this sort of thing and I should've waited until after I wrote an answer to put this up. Would you like me to post up what I've written so far as an incomplete draft for you to review? I'm not done yet, but I have my ace in the hole regarding the emoji ready, I think. It might also help to get some guidance before I put it up for actual voting.
    – Tonepoet
    Feb 8, 2018 at 15:35
  • Up to you old bean. You could wait until the VTC are 4 or start writing your answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:21
  • @Mari-LouA I published it early and put a note on the bottom regarding other things I would like to do. Please review it and let me know what you think.
    – Tonepoet
    Feb 8, 2018 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


Reopened. Never stand in the way of useful answers.

When a question is so interesting and useful that someone has an expert answer ready, keeping the question closed to prevent that answer from being posted interferes with the purpose of the site, which is to collect expert answers. It becomes an abuse of bureaucratic power.

This has been articulated many times on the network. See for example Shog9's article here on our Meta site, "Single word requests, crosswords, and the fight against mediocrity", where he says,

"You're not a machine. ... there can be questions that fail [strict guidelines] and yet are still worth keeping around. Use your best judgment."

That entire article is well worth reading.

  • Thank you so much: I put a placeholder up just in case the community disagrees (and deleted it in the meantime between now and when something useful can be written). I can only hope my answer won't disappoint.
    – Tonepoet
    Feb 7, 2018 at 19:28
  • 1
    Thank you for reopening my question! :) Feb 7, 2018 at 21:09
  • 1
    @MetaEd That is a disgraceful position for a moderator to take. Our site has policies and we expect you to follow them. The question makes no attempt to show research, and therefore it deserves to be closed. Please revert your opening. Or else make an actual argument that it does meet the site standards. Feb 8, 2018 at 2:43
  • 5
    @haykam the question is going to get closed again, there's no research "shown". Do something. I'm surprised that MetaEd turned a blind eye to this not irrelevant detail.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 8, 2018 at 15:26
  • @curiousdannii see my edit.
    – MetaEd
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:18
  • @Mari-LouA see my edit.
    – MetaEd
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:18
  • @MetaEd No one is proposing to delete the question. It and its answer (which is not amazing and definitely not an expert answer) are not going to go anywhere. Close the question. Feb 8, 2018 at 16:27
  • 1
    @curiousdannii: that’s a terrible situation. A bad question and bad answer, not going anywhere? If a bad question with a bad answer is not reopened, it should be deleted.
    – herisson
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:28
  • @sumelic That's a different debate to be had. And I didn't say the answer was bad, just that it's neither amazing nor expert. Our moderator here is suspending all the normal site policies, for what? This question is not extraordinary. Feb 8, 2018 at 16:30
  • 1
    @curiousdannii: I agree with MetaEd’s criterion of “Never stand in the way of useful answers.” If the question isn’t bad enough to be deleted, it’s not bad enough to be closed. Closure is only useful as a temporary state. It’s not meant to be some kind of permanent mark of disapproval.
    – herisson
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:32
  • 1
    @sumelic Sure, but closing questions never stands in the way of useful answers because questions for those answers can always be asked. Delete or not, if a question doesn't meet the site standards, it should be closed. If the OP refuses to explain why they haven't found adequate definitions elsewhere, and you want to write an expert answer, then you should also be able to ask a question which justifies its existence. Feb 8, 2018 at 16:35
  • 1
    @curiousdannii: re-asking questions rather than reopening old closed questions usually creates more work, and there’s no guarantee that people will go through all the necessary steps to clean up the resulting mess. Duplicates are generally a bad thing. I don’t think we should encourage people to intentionally create duplicate questions in these kind of circumstances. Maybe if the original question actually has a fatal flaw that makes it unanswerable, like lack of sufficient clarity—but “lack of research” usually isn’t such a flaw.
    – herisson
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:37
  • @Mari-LouA Mod team looking into it.
    – MetaEd
    Feb 9, 2018 at 17:46

or maybe we could even ask a new question with the intent of making a new canonical question in a better mold and wipe the slate clean

Always do this.

Questions are meant to indicate a specific person's inquiry. Only they can tell us what research they did prior to coming here, only they can explain why the dictionaries they checked (or didn't check as is far too common) don't adequately give them an answer. Only they can tell us why they are still confused despite clear answers existing elsewhere. Maybe they found two dictionaries that have contrary definitions. Maybe they found that all the dictionaries they checked have the same definition, but that several of their fluent English speaking friends swear that the words have different definitions.

Unless you're a mind reader you can't explain for the OP.

So instead the appropriate course of action is to write a new question, and show your own research, with your own explanation of why the matter remains unclear.

  • Downvoted because I don’t agree that this criterion is always relevant. I agree that other people shouldn’t edit in “research” in lieu of the op, but I don’t think this question needed to be closed for lack of research in the first place.
    – herisson
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:27
  • 1
    ...that said, I'm not happy with the OP's decision to revert your edit that added the information from the comments.
    – herisson
    Feb 8, 2018 at 19:48
  • 1
    @sumelic - I don't think it was "information" in the comments, I think it was a snarky response. Personally, given the OP's muleheadedness, I'd be all for posting a new question (and making the current one a duplicate of it); except that we now have decent answers to the current one.
    – AndyT
    Feb 9, 2018 at 10:26

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