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I feel that this has been discussed before, and that this problem is never going to go away.

I've been going through the review queues since a recent Meta.ELU post about too many questions needing review. Most of the questions in the close queue qualify for "Please include the research you’ve done". I also feel that a vast number belong on ELL, and then should be closed anyway for being too unclear to answer, or for being duplicates.

I think ELU is in a unique position within Stack Exchange of having a sister site where the main distinguishing factor is whether it's a "beginner" question or an "advanced" question. As such, it feels as though all new users should be directed to ELL, and only if their question doesn't fit there should they ask it here (assuming it's on topic here).

Is it possible to write an introductory note that covers the common cases?

Before asking your first question

  • Are you learning English? Please ask your question at English Language Learners.
  • Is your question about finding the meaning of a word? Have you looked in a dictionary first?
  • Are you looking for a word with a particular meaning? How would you use that word in a sentence?
  • etc.

Is this possible to do? Would it be helpful? If it was done as an introductory questionnaire with only one question asked at a time, the user could be directed to take the correct action after each question had been answered:

  • Are you learning English? [Yes / No]
    • if Yes, prompt user to go to ELL instead
  • Is your question about finding the meaning of a word? [Yes / No]
    • if Yes, prompt user to look in a dictionary
  • Are you looking for a word with a particular meaning? [Yes / No]
    • if Yes, prompt user to provide an example sentence
  • etc.
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    @Colleen Directing users to ELL before they post a question here is not migrating a question. That's rather the idea, in fact. – Andrew Leach Jan 29 at 17:47
  • @AndrewLeach Yes, but the way the question was written seems to conflate things. I also feel that a vast number belong on ELL, and then should be closed anyway for being too unclear to answer, or for being duplicates. I was just reminding folks that questions don’t get migrated just to be closed. I realize re-reading that I may have misunderstood the “then”. – ColleenV Jan 29 at 18:12
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    Grammar certainly up to and arguably including traditional secondary school level (pre-A-level) should also be assessed for being too basic for ELU, and where no mention of a text is made, there is also a problem. However, 'grammar up to secondary school level' is often laced with wrong conceptions. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 29 at 20:27
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    I usually stop reading a question when it stops being grammatical English. Interestingly, this is almost never at the point the questioner is asking about. Which says to me that the questioner is (a) not a native speaker, (b) not being taught well, if at all, about English grammar, and (c) therefore likely to be full of the wrong ideas about how English works and how language works. Answering usefully any question posed from that kind of context is a real job, not worth doing where there are so many other distractions. – John Lawler Feb 5 at 22:12
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    @JohnLawler your points a-c all indicate the question would be a better fit on ELL, however, not being able to understand the question means it should be closed. It seems to me that ELU is about university level English (i.e. the OP already knows how to speak fluently and can recognise almost all ungrammatical sentences) and questions should often be answered with research papers, and ELL is about primary to high school English and questions should be answered with common learning references as long as the OP has already tried to find such references on their own. – CJ Dennis Feb 5 at 23:26
  • Yes, yes, yes. But nothing ever gets done about practical solutions for major problems on SE. Sigh. – David Feb 9 at 23:29

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