Is — or is not — EL&U the Miss Manners StackExchange?

After noticing this question, I had thought that questions about proper etiquette, manners, politeness, and such social graces were off-topic.

But I cannot locate anything about it in the FAQ, and the tag does exist, with as a synonym. Should those exist, or shouldn’t they? Should the FAQ include politeness questions as being on-topic for the site, or should it say that they are off-topic?


3 Answers 3


I don't think the question is specifically about manners - it's about whether the phrase "who cares" is off-hand, dismissive, rude, or acceptable. That seems a perfectly reasonable part of "& usage"

  • 1
    It doesn’t seem like “& usage” to me, but I am more interested in the general issue than I am about that specific question.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 0:46
  • 2
    @tchrist: I agree with mgb here. When I think of Miss Manners, I think of social etiquette – you know, which fork should I use for my cheesecake, and am I obligated to bring a gift to a wedding? In the case of the O.P.'s "Who cares?" question, that seems to be focused more on language itself – What does this idiomatic question imply? – than it is on manners or politeness. When questions focus on connotations of phrases, I don't mind them being asked and answered. I don't know if we need to make explicit mention on the FAQ; I think this falls under "Word choice and usage," which already exists.
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 1:21
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    Concur. OP isn't asking for advice on how to deport himself; he is asking about the meaning and register of a common English phrase -- how is he to understand it, how it will be understood. It seems to me this is no different from asking whether a particular expression is acceptable in an academic presentation or is perceived as having political or sexual or religious connotations beyond its dictionary definition - questions we answer cheerfully all the time. Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 2:26

As long as the question is also about English, who cares what else it is about? That question sounds fine to me. Only if it is not really about English should it is closed.

  • That specific question was just an example. I’m more trying to figure out whether asking about appropriateness or inappropriateness of social interactions is on topic, or off.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 0:47

"Etiquette, manners, and politeness" are on topic here if we are talking about speech, hence the English language. "Who cares?" falls into that category.

It is off topic if we talk about actions such as which fork to pick up, when.

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