I really think Canadian spelling: why? is a very poor question.

This question has been awarded 9 points, so far. Yet, I think that it is a very poor question.

I have not attached any comment to the question because I do not want spark off an unpleasant dispute.

I think that this question breaks the rules in a number of ways. The most obvious being that it is incapable of a simple answer and it is really an invitation to a discussion.

How do you respond to poor questions?

  • 2
    Now that you've said this, what makes this a question? Despite being meta, this part of the site is still centered on questions.
    – user10893
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 6:08
  • The question is - How do you respond to poor questions? You have marked down my question because you feel that it is a poor question. You have given an explanation of why you have marked down my question which is helpful. Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 6:52
  • @RobinMichael You can edit your own question to make it into a question. Comments are ephemeral. (And, for the record, simchona's comment was made quite some time before the downvote arrived)
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 6:58
  • @Andrew Leach Thank you Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 7:03

4 Answers 4


Apparently, not everyone feels the way you do about that question. That's why users are afforded the rights to upvote, downvote, vote to close, and even vote to reopen.

There have been a few popular questions that I didn't care for, either, but that doesn't mean everyone else was wrong and I was right (in fact, I'd be inclined to think the data would suggest the opposite).

But go ahead and cast a downvote if you're really that put off. (For the record: I would never recommend downvoting flippantly; however, if a question really grates you so much that you'd actually start a meta post about it, then one downvote wouldn't be unjustified.)


I don't find it particularly bad: It shows what the OP searched before to ask the question, and it is detailed. The real question is in the last two lines of the question:

Is there an article or book out there that lays out more comprehensively the whys of Canadian spelling?

In short the question is asking for an existing book, or article, not for an explanation about the topic. It sounds to me like asking on Stack Overflow for a tutorial about doing something, rather than asking how to do something.

What you can do is voting to close the question, if there is a reason to close it. For example, you could vote to close it as not constructive, or too localized. In the first case, it would be because you think the question doesn't require expertise to answer it; in the second case, it would be because you think the question doesn't help future readers.

If the question cannot be closed because none of the closing reasons apply to it, and you think the question is really bad, you can down-vote it.

Notice that there is an open bounty, for that question; at the moment, it cannot be voted to be closed.


You posted an answer to that question, answering that question that had been asked (#book). An answer to your question would be to down-vote and / or ignore the question altogether.

Now this question may be deemed as a 'poor question'. It is too basic and really isn't a question, more of your general dislike of an other poster's question.

  • I don't understand what you are saying. After posting my question on the Meta part of the website, I did post an answer to - Canadian Spelling: Why? My answer was basically along the lines of - Different Languages in the World: Why? I think that we all know the answer. Perhaps in the Canadian example, it is more about maintaining a separate identity in the face of a universal language. Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 10:04
  • No, the question had been I'd love to know more than just these little details. Is there an article or book out there that lays out more comprehensively the whys of Canadian spelling?. You had answered that question by referring You might find the answer in this book by John Kenneth Galbraith: The non-potable Scotch: A memoir on the clansmen in Canada [Paperback]. Yes, you did point out that he wasn't going to get an easy answer, but you did answer his specific question.
    – Souta
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 12:12
  • @RobinMichael And what I was saying, to you, was that this is nothing more than you showing a dislike of a question that there is nothing wrong with.
    – Souta
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 12:13

I agree with OP that the Canadian spelling question is something I don't want to see here. But because it has a bounty, I felt voting to close would be somewhat discourteous. Specifically answering OP's question, I normally vote to close questions I really don't like.

I don't normally downvote questions, but if it gets many more I probably will - just because it's irritating to see a question I don't want getting far more votes than most of the ones I do want.

I think the subject is more than adequately covered by Wikipedia, for those who find it interesting (I obviously don't). I'm not aware of any spelling variants that are peculiar to Canadians, but there's a whole web of overlapping / interconnecting historical and sociological reasons why they've ended up with US spelling for some words, and UK for others.

It's simply not something we could expect to cover here in a single "manifestly correct" answer.

  • Thank you for your answer. It is ironic in many ways to see a question that so clearly breaks the guidelines get so many votes. My personal opinion is that if someone is really interested in Canadian English they should set up a website similar to the English website. When I think back to Antimoon, antimoon.com/forum/f1.htm , there was someone who was very interested in the Wisconsin accent. Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 9:55
  • @Robin Michael: I Googled Canadian English vs British while writing the above. Top of the list, above even the Wikipedia article, was this page, which includes the ludicrous claim that Brits favour busses where Americans use buses. Interestingly, our Good Will Hunting cites OALD and CALD as both saying busses is more American than British. But it's very difficult to pin these things down. Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 11:56

You must log in to answer this question.

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