I have a question about the usage of an English term and I finally decide to ask on ELU (English Language Usage). I provide some prelimirary research:

1) the origin of the term,

2) usage evidence as suggested by Google Books,

3) some usage examples from current online articles of the term in question.

My interest is on if, how and where the term is becoming more commonly used and its usage vs other synonyms or closely related terms.

The question attracts a few answers, of which one provides hard evidence about the trend in usage of the term vs other closely related terms, somewhat confirming my initial impression

The result of all this is a shower of downvotes and closevotes because the question apparently is not within the scope of ELU site.

Can anyone help understand what exactly is not within ELU scope. On which sites, according to close voters, should questions about usage of English terms be asked on SE?

  • 8
    I have voted to re-open your question.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


User385 randomnumbers's statement, the bit about the shower of downvotes, is slightly hyperbolic but the question, as presented, is perfectly appropriate for EL&U. It ticks all the boxes.

The EL&U regular downvoters are doing a superb job of housekeeping and discouraging those few regular users, who still remain, from contributing in the future. I suppose that is the scope, i.e. their personal mission.

No wonder then that the general quality of new questions continues to be so low, and no wonder that the number of regular contributors continues to fall.

If newcomers, especially native speakers, are stressed out by guidelines, norms, and demands that linked sources be attributed, etc. etc. they will think that the site is run by a set of anal retentive busybodies.

  • It's not only regular hi-rep users who are stung by petty downvotes, see: english.stackexchange.com/questions/442499/…
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 20, 2018 at 8:26
  • 4
    It is not an issue about downvotes, but about close-votes (which often leads to related downvotes). I’d like to hear from closevoters the line of reasoning that convinced them that the question is not within ELU scope.
    – user 66974
    Apr 20, 2018 at 12:18
  • 3
    I agree that, recently (I would say the past two months) there has been a decline in enthusiasm and a corresponding increase in negativity. The site is (I would say) less interesting and enjoyable than it was when I first joined it six months ago.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 21, 2018 at 16:39
  • Too many rules and too much discipline closing off creativity, then. It suggests that a new approach ought to be tried--lightening up on the discipline, not trying for definitive answers to every possible question, and being more open to new idioms or changes among dialects--capturing how the language is evolving as the world adopts it as a second language. (The scope of the site changes as the language evolves.)
    – Xanne
    Apr 23, 2018 at 8:44

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