The question Is ‘USAers’ just an ordinary English word today? has, at the time of writing, a net vote of +4. On the other hand, my question Can I use "US-American" to disambiguate "American"? If not, what can I use? has a vote of -4. I don't quite understand.

What distinguishes a good from a bad question? In particular, what makes my question on US-Americans so bad that it has a net vote of -4, whereas the question on USAers has a net vote of +4?

I would like to learn to ask better questions.

  • I've upvoted your original question to make the balance tilt in your direction as I don't consider it such a wrong question. I hope it stays although the question is closed. However, for clarity sake, why don't you modify the title of the question here on meta to match the one in the main site?
    – Paola
    Oct 22, 2012 at 8:27
  • @Paola Ok, I did. Thanks.
    – gerrit
    Oct 22, 2012 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


I was an upvoter on this question (and a respondent to it). The question was, in my opinion:

  1. a legitimate question
  2. supported by relevant research
  3. appropriately discriminated from a similar question, and
  4. edited to exclude irrelevancies with which the comments became preoccupied.

I suspect the downvotes were prompted at least in part by the heated tone which some commenters adopted and by the false impression they gave of what you were asking. Not your fault.

As things stand, since you have your answer, your best course is to delete the question, which will remove the (in my opinion undeserved) penalty you have suffered. (You may or may not wish to post the substance to the previous question.) But this unfairly penalizes TecBrat, who loses the rep he earned for upvotes and acceptance; so somebody's screwed whatever you do. Bah.

  • 2
    By now I have 2 upvotes and 5 downvotes, which gives me a net 0 reputation, so I don't feel a need to delete the question.
    – gerrit
    Oct 21, 2012 at 16:38
  • That's good to hear. You gain, we gain by those upvotes. Oct 21, 2012 at 16:44
  • 2
    The most relevant point is that the question was supported by relevant research. The OP didn't invent a word, and asked if it could be used.
    – apaderno
    Oct 23, 2012 at 10:13

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