I just flagged this question as (potentially) off-topic, and I have flagged other questions like this in the past, but I am not sure if I am right to do so.

It seems to me that the correct answer to the question would come from someone with knowledge of this specific field (in this case, software development), and should therefore be posted on another site, like Stack Overflow.

But on the other hand, the OP is asking for a word or phrase, which fits within the scope of the FAQ.

Was it appropriate of me to flag this question and should I in the future flag questions for what seem to be specific technical terms? Or is this sort of question fully appropriate for this site?

  • The exact same jargon-term when translated, automatically gets assigned a different set of context and usage. Jargon languages are not "normal languages" because they cannot exist in a standalone manner. Without English, there can be no technical jargon in English. Without English, Chinese, Korean, Greek, and etc, there can be no technical jargon existing.
    – Pacerier
    Jun 9, 2015 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


I don't think that a question about jargon is automatically off-topic. I don't think that asking a question about the phrase to use would be on-topic on Stack Overflow.

English Language and Usage is, as the title suggest, about the usage of English language; therefore, if the question is about the usage, it is perfectly fine on EL&U.
For sure, I would not regard as on-topic a question that asks which alternative term should be used for a class method, or if message is a better term to use.


I think questions asking for knowledge about a specific field are off-topic. In this question a definition is being requested for a word that was created for and is only used in a very precise technical context. Further information is being requested about why that term was coined. I think such questions are best asked on a site for experts in the relevant field.

  • Dead link -- question must have been removed. This appears to be the policy of this site, but the engineering/technical forums will tend to down-vote and delete questions asking for word definitions, or migrate them. I think this is silly. If you want to know what word to use, ask what word to use. A businessman is capable and wiling to give you a professional sounding phrase that not everybody can muster. A technician can do likewise. English has a thousand sub domains of technical use & people using English to build things should not be ignored in preference to people doing creative writing.
    – sas08
    Oct 4, 2015 at 20:54
  • In the broadest possible strokes technical language is always just refining and clarifying a problem domain; that of context. To ask "would it be weird to write X on a thank you card?" is no different than saying "what do you call that T shaped bracket you put in the slots of drawers, on the metal tracks, for adjustable shelving? Or fumbling around for programming word. It's hard for me as a native to find the resources I need... the idea of not helping Engineers worldwide to utilize all this free information and will to exchange it seems bonkers.
    – sas08
    Oct 4, 2015 at 20:58
  • @sas08 It has nothing to do with ignoring people who build things. There are a great many questions here about technical rather than creative English. The example I gave would simply have been better answered on a different site and probably was. Just as if I asked for example, for the definition and etymology of the word "freehub", I would far better served by the bicycles Q&A. And indeed, such a question would be welcomed by that community and not down-voted as you suggest. So I strongly disagree with your comment.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Oct 5, 2015 at 13:58
  • My experience of technical websites has been that questions that are not phrased with the correct language for the problem domain are down-voted heavily or marked as off-topic. It is presumed that people know the vocabulary of the problem domain, although that's probably not ideal. The great thing about writing is that everybody in every field is a writer... so they might be on here. But the general population of engineers is not comprised of writers and not going to find interesting or really provide quality answers to questions about say, what jargon is tonally best to convey an idea.
    – sas08
    Oct 6, 2015 at 17:48
  • 1
    I've just been gratified to see that a question asking about the choice between 'lens' and 'objective' has been transferred to Photography. There, someone who's familiar with the common usages within the photographers' community, and the problems of hypernymy-with-polysemy, has given an expert's answer. Nov 22, 2019 at 15:15

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