Example question: How is “account” be different with “theory”, “model” or “approach”?

This question is closed for being off-topic. One close-voter says:

I’m can voting to close this question. A dictionary offers different synonyms of a word, because each applies differently. If one fits where others don't, what is the problem?

Why is that? The problem is that I don't know where they are different, and when to use each of them correctly. I thought this kind of question is popular in this site? From What topics can I ask about here?, word choice and usage is on-topic.

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    Both "synonyms" and "differences" are common tags on this site. I have answered many questions that ask about (relatively) fine distinctions between similar words. I see no reason why, on their face, such questions should be rejected as off-topic here. – Sven Yargs Jan 24 at 7:24
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    so do you know why that question is closed? – Ooker Jan 24 at 8:34
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    No, I don't. Close voters are like unhappy families: every one is different. – Sven Yargs Jan 24 at 19:45
  • I voted to reopen. But maybe you can clarify where you got those alternatives (approach/theory/model/etc) from? A thesaurus? Guessing? Some place else? – Mitch Jan 25 at 2:43
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    @Ooker, why a question gets closed on this site is generally unknowable, and the banners that purport to state the reasons are, more often than not, misleading. This is because (1) the banner displays only one 'reason' from a short menu or standard reasons, which is chosen by some algorithm out of the different reasons that different voters may have picked from the menu, and (2) people often vote on the basis of some gut feeling that the question ought to be closed, and then chose whichever reason on the menu seems close, even if it only very roughly reflects their gut feeling. – jsw29 Jan 25 at 22:24
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    As too often happens, it would have been more informative for the questioner), and easier, to have answered the question rather than debating at length (or do I mean ad nauseam ?) why it should or should not have been closed. – Anton Feb 4 at 23:56

Such questions are not off-topic, per se. You have generalised from the particular.

If there's a "write-in" reason for casting a close vote, then it doesn't get mentioned in the close banner, but it can be inferred from the question timeline and the list of comments under the question.

Four close votes (the original plus the three comment up-votes) used this reason:

I’m can voting [sic] to close this question. A dictionary offers different synonyms of a word, because each applies differently. If one fits where others don't, what is the problem?

The other effective close vote used the standard "not enough research" reason.

Your question needs to show your research.

However: the comments on the version on Philosophy.SE are also telling.

This belongs on ELU, not here. The accepted ELU answer is correct, except for the last line: 'account' is commonly use in intellectual circles for descriptions that don't rise to the level of a formal theory or model. But no one's perfect. There's no sense starting a cross-site debate, so I'm voting to close this. – Ted Wrigley Jan 13 at 16:09

I agree with Ted. "Account" is something more than "approach" but that does not rise to the level of a "theory", "model" is rarely used this way in philosophy. But the use is vague and not regimented, it is more of a colloquial choice. – Conifold Jan 13 at 21:26

You have already accepted an answer, which was given even though the question needs to show more research.

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    I thought the reason why it's closed on Philosophy SE is irrelevant with the reason it's closed on English SE? The comment with 3 upvotes gives me an impression that it's giving a generalized reason to close all questions asking about synonyms. How does it not apply to other on-topic questions about synonyms? – Ooker Jan 24 at 13:11
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    Well yes, it's saying that you haven't given enough detail about why that general reason doesn't apply in your case. The general reason is "look it up"; if you had shown the results of your research and why that didn't help, the question would probably meet the community's quality standards. Many synonym questions are closed for this reason. – Andrew Leach Jan 24 at 13:53
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    It is not clear how 'showing research' would have accomplished anything here. Yes, the OP could have produced a lengthy question, cluttered with vague definitions from general-purpose dictionaries, just to prove that they have been 'looked up', but that would have only confirmed what both the OP and most of the rest of us can be assumed to already know: the meanings of these words are close and overlapping. The question made it obvious that the OP was seeking an explanation of the nuances that go beyond that, from those who have greater experience with the actual use of these words. – jsw29 Jan 25 at 16:33
  • @jsw29 Well, I wasn't one of the close-voters. But all chose a reason relating to "look it up in a dictionary." The requirement for research is intended to help answerers know what you already know, and give you the opportunity to explain the particular difficulty. – Andrew Leach Jan 26 at 8:08

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