I've noticed that, when a question is too easy and the answer can be quickly looked up, people respond in one of two ways:

  1. Migrate the question to ELL, since it's too easy for EL&U.

  2. Close the question for not including prior research.

I'm wondering if there's a policy for when each of these actions is appropriate, since (to me) it seems that it is not always handled consistently.

  • 8
    Related: A friendly reminder: ELL is not EL&U's trash can english.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7784/…
    – Gio
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 18:00
  • 1
    I can also see why native speakers might be offended if their questions are moved to ELL.
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 18:07
  • 2
    Then let them ask their questions in English. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 20:22
  • @JohnLawler I don't mean questions that are written in other languages; I just mean questions considered too easy.
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 20:35
  • (Of course, nonstandard English variants and dialects other than AmE/BrE are no less English than the standard variants. Questions filled with typos are another matter.)
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 20:35
  • It's called, minus one : "This question does not show any research effort; it is not useful or unclear."
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 2:11

2 Answers 2


To be honest, I vote to migrate questions to ELL out of courtesy. Knowing that those questions will not survive the... competitiveness, if you like, of EL&U, I am hoping that if they are transferred to ELL they are more likely to get help than if they are plainly closed on EL&U.

I have never thought of ELL as a trash can. Just as a more friendly and helpful environment for questions of users who struggle with less complicated language problems, as we have ALL done at some point of the learning process, whatever it is we have learned.

  • 1
    Courtesy to whom? I imagine the questioners might feel slighted if they are native speakers; I also suspect that ELL isn't necessarily happy about this policy.
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 20:32
  • Curtesy to the users who asked the respective questions. In the case of native speakers I understand that it can be unpleasant. However, if their questions do get answers, does it really matter on which site it happens? My main goal in asking a question is to receive an answer, not to receive an answer on EL&U.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 20:42
  • I wonder if we can have an way of automatically closing questions that provides a link to ELL, so that the user can decide whether it's appropriate to repost there; that seems better than just dumping things on ELL on the assumption that they are like EL&U but with lower standards.
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 21:31
  • 1
    I've just come from reviewing questions on ELL which have been marked for closure. If enough (5) users with sufficient privilege vote to close then it gets closed. I presume that EL&U has a similar process, but I don't have enough clout here to know. However one of the several reasons for closing is "Can be answered by using a dictionary" so if the question is that "easy", migrating it to ELL is a waste of everyone's time, it will get closed there. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 23:15
  • @PeterJennings Have you noticed that as an issue for things being migrated from EL&U specifically?
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 23:40
  • 1
    Even if a question is closed on ELU as too trivial/unresearched, it is often answered in comments (this is frowned upon, but asking trivial and unresearched questions is also against the rules). So moving to ELL doesn't seem much benefit.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 11:45
  • @alphabet No, I don't think it's an issue. As far as I can see only a handful of posts get migrated from EL&U to ELL every week and so few are not a problem there. My comment was aimed at the OP's basic question "If a question is too easy, should it be closed?" I merely pointed out that, if it could be answered by using a dictionary or an on line search then sending it to ELL for closure was a waste of time and effort, you might as well close it here. If, on the other hand, there is some genuine "meat" to the question and you think ELL is a better fit, migrate away! Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 11:52
  • @StuartF Agreed. What's sauce for EL&U is sauce for ELL. ELL has similar rules about questions. Unresearched / trivial / lack of context / proof reading / homework etc will get you closed there just as quickly as here. Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 11:57

A question should be migrated to ELL only if it is appropriate for that site. If it isn't, then migration only clutters ELL and makes more work for its users who have to read through the question and then CV it.

ELL's standards can be found on its help pages. (Unfortunately, the situation isn't quite so simple; the criteria for ELL questions can be scattered in other places, as well, such as its Meta site. However, that's an issue for ELU, too. Perhaps one day we'll get a definitive list of what is and isn't appropriate for the site.)

For your #2, the CV reason that I believe you're referring to says:

Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better.

The second half is admittedly a bit vague (after all, migration to ELL already exists as a separate CV reason), but the first part should certainly only apply if the question actually fails to demonstrate (enough) research. If "the answer can be quickly looked up", then such a question would seem to me to be a good candidate for this CV reason.

  • 1
    My question is: how do we decide whether to close things with that CV reason, or to just migrate them to ELL?
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 19:43
  • @alphabet Oh I see, I didn't know that that was the distinction that you were focusing on. I took it as two distinct issues, #1 and #2. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 20:00

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