# Why are these questions about percentages closed?

I came across two very similar questions that were closed as "not a real question":

They seem perfectly valid to me, and nico's answer is correct. The word they are looking for is "proportion." There is an important but real distinction between percentages and proportions. Whereas `0.1%` represents 1 in 1000, `0.1` as a proportion indicates `10%` (10 in 100). It was clear to me that this was the question being asked, and it was not ambiguous or vague.

One might argue that one question should be closed as a duplicate of the other, but each was closed as NARQ. I suggest they both be re-opened, with the caveat that one might later be closed instead as a duplicate of the other.

• The exact situation is pretty much any place "percentage" is being used but where the percentage has been divided by 100. Feb 3, 2012 at 13:49
• @WillHunting It's clear that "fraction" is not the answer they are looking for...please explain what makes these invalid questions just because they weren't looking for that specific term. If you want an exact situation, how about, "We represent `10%` as a ___ by `0.1`." Alternatively try, "To compute `10%` of 500, first convert `10%` from a percentage to a ___ by dividing by 100 and then multiply that ___ by 500." Feb 3, 2012 at 15:45
• The first of the two questions should have been closed, but I say this because the question was plainly "how to name this function/variable in my program" and therefore off topic. The second question seems fine to me. I disagree however with Michael that the correct answer is "proportion". "Normalized proportion" would do it. Feb 3, 2012 at 16:02
• As an aside, I've always thought that 'perunum', by analogy with 'percentum', would be a charming coinage to fit the bill. "An annual growth of 0.02 perunum". But, yes. Proportion. Comes down to the same thing anyway: 'per (one) (portion)'. Feb 24, 2012 at 18:13
• @Esteis, perun then, no, after percent? Jun 4, 2012 at 19:43
• @msh210: I expect 'perunum' is less prone to elidation of its final syllable than 'percentum' is: my feeling is that /-nt/ is a better stopping point and a less natural continuation point than /-n/ is. Jun 5, 2012 at 10:01
• It is called a "proper fraction": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Jun 21, 2012 at 15:28

I agree, both of these are perfectly real questions, though the answer is perhaps unsatisfying (there is no per-[insert word here] term for fractions of 1). I've voted to reopen the older one. If enough people agree with me, I would suggest manually adding the "possible duplicate of..." text to the newer one. (I don't think reopening it only to close it for another reason would be particularly productive.)

• I think both of the entries have a "real" question in there somewhere. Rather than close, I would have tried to tease out what the OPs were really after, then edited the entries so that they do meet the guidelines, and are understandable (and meaningfully answerable) by more people. Math in particular is an area where intelligent people who are not skilled at English can easily have a real question in their heads, but simply cannot express it well, because they have to use English to ask it. (This comment is meant to be mostly supportive of this answer.) Jun 4, 2012 at 2:48

In one case the question is asking how to call the numbers in the range between 0 and 1; in the other case, the question is asking how to call the fractions of 1.

In the first case, I see the question as too broad, because the numbers in the range between 0 and 1 include 0.1, 0.01, 0.0001, 0.333333, 1.25/10, the logarithm with base 10 of 2; those numbers are rational numbers, or irrational numbers, but those terms apply to any real number, not to numbers included in the range between 0, and 1. If the question would have specified that it was asking about 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0,8, 0.9, and 1 it would have been probably different.
In the second case, fractions like 1/8, 1/12000, 1/3, 1/40 doesn't have a specific name, but they are generically called fractions.

The questions have been closed because they cannot be reasonably answered in their current form, which means there isn't a specific word for the question being asked. It is not a real question doesn't mean the user is stating something, instead of asking a question; it means:

• the question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical
• it cannot be answered in its current form

If they were not closed as not a real question, they could have been closed at too localized, as knowing that fractions of 1 are still called fractions doesn't help any future reader.

Re-opening both the questions, and then closing one as duplicate of the other one is not something that I would do because:

• A question that is closed, and that deserves to be closed, is not re-opened to be closed again with a different reason.
• supposing that one of the questions is really asking about 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0,8, 0.9, and 1, then the two questions are not really duplicates.

To notice that the closing reason reported when a question is closed is the one chosen from the majority of the users who voted to close; if 3 users voted to close as not a real question, and 2 users voted to close as too localized, then the question result closed as not a question.
Re-opening the question to close it again could still have the result of having the question closed for the exact same reason because, for example, 4 users vote to close as not a real question, and a users votes to close as not constructive.

• The fact that there are infinite real numbers in any given range is rather... irrelevant. It certainly hasn't prevented terms like "percent" and "per mil" from existing. Feb 27, 2012 at 16:52
• I didn't say there are infinite real numbers in the given range; I said that in the range between 0 and 1 there are numbers that don't have anything in common, except they are between 0 and 1: rational numbers (1/2), and irrational numbers (the logarithm with base 10 of 2). Rational numbers and irrational numbers are not terms used to mean numbers in a specific range, though, and there isn't a term to mean both rational numbers and irrational numbers in a specific range, except "real numbers in a specific range." Apr 28, 2012 at 10:03
• I don’t know what a “fraction of 1” is supposed to mean. It sounds really weird. Yes ⅖ is ⁴⁄₁₀ is 0.1. But any ²⁰¹²⁄₇ * 1 is a “fraction of 1”. Any fraction is a fraction of 1!!! Probabilities are often expressed as numbers between 0 and 1. Is that what we’re talking about here?
– tchrist Mod
May 27, 2012 at 22:41