I have asked a question about a word (so in my understanding a single-word request but I probably tagged it wrongly as word-choice) for the "text" that often appears in the body of scientific publications (theses, papers, ...) and in general any written document between a (sub)chapter heading and the following subchapter heading. Initially, it was voted that my question be closed because it was "Not suitable for this site". Then, it was migrated to ELL "because it can be answered by speakers of other languages learning English".

My question was: https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/320539/a-word-for-the-text-between-section-heading-e-g-section-1-and-first-subsecti

The link to the question on academia (which I found after asking): https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/162433/what-is-the-name-of-the-text-that-might-exist-after-the-chapter-heading-and-befo

What makes my question specifically an ELL question? Compared to some other single-word requests on here, I consider it to be quite "sophisticated".

I'm not insisting that it's suitable for ELU, but I'm curious about the reasoning behind the migration (I mean, actually, I am asking this question because I find the decision to migrate it to ELL ridiculous and am sure that it stems from not understanding the question/problem at all, but I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt, but nobody answers ...).

I would be really interested, Anton, fev, or KillingTime ... Of course I would also be very interested in your knowledgeable answers to this mundane ELL question.

Weeks have passed and I must come to the conclusion that you did not understand the question and if you would have and you would have known an answer you would have been the first to answer it.

The sound of silence.

It was pointed out in the answer(s) that "... it's easier not to stoke a fire when a user appears to be more interested in conflict than in a discussion.". I rephrased my absolutely overly-polite meta-question a couple of times and it got a bit more "bold" with every edit (to "provoke" an answer). I am not interested in conflict. I want to know why my question was close voted first and then migrated almost immediately after I posted it even though I tried my best to clarify any of the "good-faithed" remarks (which was hard, because they were not very logical and kinda presumptuous).

As for the silence to my question on meta, I think it is a sham argument to use my "hostility" and further postulate it's the lack of ability that prevents the concerned people from giving an educated answer.

  • Users (and mods) who vote to migrate questions do so in good faith. I am sure there is no intention of belittling a question, they probably thought the term preamble was either the right answer or that users on ELL would be more helpful.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 15, 2023 at 11:08
  • 1
    It's very probable that the specific close voters are unaware of your post. Meta is not a highly-frequented place. In any case, look at the positives: Yes, it was migrated but it wasn't closed, it wasn't downvoted and it got two answers. You can post an answer to your question if you believe it is better than the ones suggested. Self-answers are encouraged and perfectly "legal" on Stack Exchange meta.stackexchange.com/a/17467/223820
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 15, 2023 at 14:20
  • It's very improbable that the specific close voters are unaware of this post. Why would my question be closed or downvoted; and why should one, in the face of injustice, look at the upside of lesser evil? I highly appreciate the answer given on ELL, which was btw only given after I posted my comment here on Meta, which in turn indicates that the answerer has only through this became aware of said question. Jan 15, 2023 at 15:08
  • 2
    "in the face of injustice" please... You're taking this far too personally. More than one user commented and revealed their confusion about the question. More than one user tried to be helpful in the comments, and explained their viewpoint. Your question wasn't ignored, and it was a good thing you did some research, and found an answer on Academia, which in turn led to updating your English language question. Sometimes all that is needed is bumping an old question to the front page, to attract new interest. P.S I hadn't realised that Yarg's answer was posted after this meta post.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 15, 2023 at 15:42
  • If you ask me, what I encountered is not a personal problem. It's OK to be confused. What's not OK is to close or migrate out of confusion, which must be assumed at this point. Furthermore, I think I made it clear that the migrators were in great confusion but was met with ... let's say confusion this time despite my earlier categorizations. In the end, it's just paradox to migrate a question to ELL that you don't have an answer to, don't you think? Jan 15, 2023 at 16:19
  • 2
    Yes, migrating the question to ELL was an unfortunate mistake, and you are right to point that out, but it is somewhat unclear what you are seeking by continuing to pursue the matter here. A collective apology from ELU? There is no body that can issue such an apology. Explanations from the people who voted for the migration? (Note that we don't know who voted for migration, as distinct from closing.) They may be disinclined to create the precedent of having to enter into follow-up discussions of all close-votes. A reversal of the migration? That would be now within the jurisdiction of ELL.
    – jsw29
    Jan 15, 2023 at 16:48
  • But if you know that some users were confused then it's your job to clarify. The problem may have seemed obvious to you but even the answerer, Sven Yargs, said "You seemed to be asking...” Unless you have often encountered this type of layout in a paper, it's not immediately obvious what the exact problem was. In your shoes, I would have taken a screen shot and used freehand circles! :) @jsw29 actually we do know who the migrate voters were.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 15, 2023 at 16:53
  • 1
    Well, we don't know if all three voted to migrate the question but two definitely did.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 15, 2023 at 16:57
  • Closed by Anton, fev, killingTime (literally) and then migrated by Anton, fev, killingTime. Jan 15, 2023 at 18:13
  • 2
    @SebastianE, the framework of the Stack Exchange system as a whole, somewhat confusingly, treats migrations as a form of closing. A question gets closed when three people vote to close it, even if they have different reasons for their respective votes. If at least two of the three have voted that the closing take the form of migration, the question is migrated, even if the third person wanted the question closed and not migrated. The brief, automatically generated entries in the history of a question name the three people whose votes triggered the closing without the specifics of their votes.
    – jsw29
    Jan 15, 2023 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


The following is the OP's original question posted on 9 August at 8.49

A word for the text between section heading (e.g., Section 1) and first subsection heading (e.g., Section 1.1) What are possible words for the text between a section heading and the first corresponding subsection heading.

I have found "preamble", but think there might be "better" words. Example:

1 Introduction

Here is the running text of the introduction for which I would like to have a word

1.1 Motivation

1.2 Objectives

Users who vote to migrate a question do so in good faith. I am sure there was no intention of belittling the OP's question by insinuating it was too easy for EL&U. Possibly, but I'm not a mind reader, the three users thought the term preamble was either the right answer or that users on ELL would be more responsive.

The OP's edit at 09.34: “I have found "preamble", but, since preamble certainly is used to refer to an introductionary text for the whole document , think that there might be a more specific professional term for it.” did not succeed in persuading two users that the question should remain on EL&U. As a matter of fact, the history page shows their votes for migration were cast at 10.09 and 10.16.

It's also a fact that questions on Stack Exchange network do not always attract answers even when they are considered on-topic and useful. In this case, the OP's question actually received a good answer (albeit in December 16, 2022) from our site's top user which is commendable.

You seem to be asking about what to call a block of text that appears in the space between a section heading and the first in a series of subordinate section subheads. At the various publishing houses where I have worked, the term I have used (and heard used) for such text is "section intro"; if there is a single word for it, I've never heard it.

Note that the user began their answer with “You seem to be asking”, which suggests that the poster's question lacked clarity.

It's worth noting that another user posted this comment [emphasis in bold mine]

Choosing to use a highly structured format - 1 / 1.1 / 1.2.1 etc - and then inserting freeform, floating 'comments' is confusing. What is the point of sections and subsections if you are going to add bits between them occasionally? Why not put your explanatory comment at the start of the section it refers to? Perhaps even make it the title of the section...

Evidently the commenter did not fully understand the problem, and this should have been a warning signal to the OP.

Another user, probably on ELL, posted this reflection [emphasis in bold not mine]

I am having real trouble with this question. In an outline, you have headings, sub-headings, and sub-sub-headings. There is nothing else. If your text comes any heading, it is just text. What else could it be? And in legal texts, a preamble is actually the name of a heading and a type of text.

I for one was puzzled when I first read the question, but I am not–nor have ever been–a member of academia, so what do I know? On the other hand, the older but related question posted on Academia.SE is, despite its brevity, clearer.

In manuscripts, a text between the chapter heading and before the first section might exist. Does this have a name?

However, I'll wager were the same question to be posted on EL&U, it would be closed for lack of research and effort whereas Sebastian E's question was not downvoted or closed, it was migrated. Not the worst thing to happen to a question!

I also think the OP's comments beneath their post such as this [emphasis in bold mine]

…you asked me why think preamble is not a good choice and I thought that my edit and Wikipedia citation shows you why, because it’s pretty obvious. In turn you immediately resorted to pseudo intellectual arrogance even though you have exactly zero to contribute to my question

is a very good reason why that particular user has since kept their distance, and not replied to the OP's invitation on meta, which is spurred by genuine concern but also by continuing resentment and indignation. The question was posted in August 2022. As for the community's silence it's easier not to stoke a fire when a user appears to be more interested in conflict than in a discussion.

Of course I would also be very interested in your knowledgeable answers to this mundane ELL question.

  • 1
    Thank you. I will probably like to respond to a few of your "points", but one thing really interests me. Did I understand you correctly that you think "In manuscripts, a text between the chapter heading and before the first section might exist. Does this have a name?" is more precise than "What are possible words for the text between a section heading and the first corresponding subsection heading." including a figure (!) of what I was talking about? Jan 15, 2023 at 12:59
  • For me, who isn't really interested in these types of technical questions to begin with, it was quicker and easier to understand, yes.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 15, 2023 at 13:00
  • Well it's ok that you feel that way and I respect that. But why do you include it as a factual statement in your analysis? I don't think there is anything objectively clearer about the other question (its even longer). Furthermore, it implies level 1 and 2 headings so mine is more general. Anyway, I am not interestedin conflict, so I tihnk we can drop this specific point (which is not the main concern here), and I'll accept your opinion. Jan 15, 2023 at 13:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .