Yes, I am aware that many users including tchrist ♦, and perhaps eight of the nine EL&U mods, really dislike SWRs (Single Word Requests) but for a mod to shut all three questions as Primarily Opinion-Based is unfair.
- What is the word for sensing something is strange
- Lying to my girlfriend that I'm hot and other girls hit on me all the time
The second one's rather good, I think, and perfect for ELL
This last one passed the review queue and had received three "leave open" casts which were ignored...
Review completed 44 mins ago:
jimm101 reviewed this 44 mins ago: Leave Open
Edwin Ashworth reviewed this 1 hour ago: Leave Open
JJJ reviewed this 3 hours ago: Leave Open
Nigel J reviewed this 6 hours ago: Close
(UPDATE: The question was successfully reopened April 12.)
It would be more honest to just ban SWRs outright if they are the bane of the site.
Can someone provide actual facts and numbers? For example, what percentage of questions asked since January 2018 have been SWRs? How many were closed for being POB? How many were closed within one hour of posting? How many were closed for lack of research? etc.
- Should we add SWRs to the off-topic list once and for all?
If someone wants to make this proposal here are some of the arguments in favor:
With all the resentment poured out here, one might think poor examples of this sort of question would get body-slammed the minute they showed up...
Cheating at crosswords
...Yet... Watching the front page, you could be forgiven for thinking "crossword-solving" was one of the primary functions of this site.
… questions asking about insults or slurs are questions that deserve to be labelled pejorative. It bothered me how many of these there were, and how they tend to draw bikeshedding list responses with no right answer. It doesn’t look good.
- How to save EL&U (2015)
I think one way to massively improve this site would be to start a new Stack Exchange site called something like English Phrase Finder or Word Finder or something like that where single word requests, word choices and phrase requests could be answered along with crossword puzzle solutions and the rest. I'm sure it would be a very successful site, perhaps more so than EL&U, and would grow very rapidly.
As an enthusiastic newcomer to EL&U, I quickly noticed a problem most of you have endured for many moons: the plethora of low-quality, help-me-with-this-crossword-clue, single-word questions. I have endeavored to read previous EL&U Meta discussions on this topic, but if my query has been asked and answered before, point me in that direction please. :p)
If not, my question is:
Would you support systematic testing of proposed quality improvement methods?
My own personal opinion is that we should get rid of these if at all possible, and severely curtail and restrict them if not. It doesn't matter whether the request is for a single word, a phrase, an idiom, a proverb, or any other related “guessing-game style” of request.
No matter what guise they take, these are all a drain on our site quality and a drain on our community’s time, both moderator time answering flags and that of the general community running the review queues. […]
Usually there is no research. People haven’t bothered to look at a thesaurus or even Google. These almost all wind up being thinly veiled requests for writing advice, programming advice, and shaming advice.
In light of the recent launch of our sister site, English Language Learners, I would like to propose that this site no longer accept questions of the "What is another word or phrase for...?"
Single word requests have long been contentious here. They tend to be uninteresting one-offs and rep-feeding frenzies. They also aren't really on topic, are they? English Language and Usage is supposed to be focused on academic questions of English and explaining the nuances of grammar and syntax.
- Against single word requests (2011)
The consensus of earlier discussions was that these questions are on the low end, but not specifically disallowed. However, the last few months of experience have started to bias me against these questions, so much so that I think we need to reevaluate our decision to allow them. I'm now of the opinion that single word requests should be either disallowed entirely or subject to much more stringent requirements.
- in a comment (2015)
I agree, kill single-word-requests. Questions that use an idiomatic two-word phrase to perfectly describe the desired concept without explaining why that two-word phrase is insufficient are useless.
- In an answer (2016)
For the most part, the first-time posters who submit one-word answers followed by a little filler to meet the minimum character count are not interested in anything more than participating in a quiz-show-format guessing game. […] very few SWRs have any staying power. Their contribution to the site is like an all-sugar lunch: they draw a big buzz for a short time, and then they crash. In the language of publishing, they have little or no tail.
Are all SWRs a drain? Do we have proof that SWRS are to blame for the lowering of standards? Would banning SWRs improve our site? Where's the proof? Or are SWRs just an easy scapegoat?
Question: Is strongly disliking SWRs and sustaining they are a drain on our site a sufficiently good enough reason for shutting the three questions listed at the top of the page as POB?