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Today I wanted to ask a , but was unsure whether to go to ELU or ELL. After requesting clarification about this on chat, I got redirected to this question on meta.ELL.SE, which if applied to ELU would require the migration of a lot of questions.

  • Martha's highest-voted answer regarding at least all single-word-requests having the form "My native language has a word for [concept], is there an equivalent word in English?" would see such SWRs being asked on ELL.SE rather than ELU.SE. She's a bit vague on where all other single-word requests would end up.
  • According to waiwai933♦'s answer, all questions that "most fluent speakers wouldn't have asked" should be moved to ELL.SE. Now this is slightly harder to determine, but a lot of the single-word-requests can be easily answered by a native speaker and would thus belong on ELL.SE.
  • KitFox's answer recommends that all basic single-word-requests should be on ELL.SE (i.e. "single word requests in the vicinity of " 'how is this concept/idiom expressed in English?' ").

I posted my own question on ELU.SE, because that seems to be the current trend (even though it's not policy). However, I think it would indeed make sense to do a lot of cleaning up. Right now, the distinction seems simply to be between native/fluent speakers vs. non-native/fluent speakers — leaving an incredibly big gray area in between. From the statistics, I doubt ELL will be closed, so would clarifying these boundaries and cleaning up the relevant questions be a worthwhile enterprise?

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    My answer notwithstanding, I have a lot of sympathy with OP's perspective here. I also think it's unfortunate that with meta questions, there's often confusion as to whether a downvote means This is a stupid question that should never have been asked, as opposed to This is an interesting point that probably should be explored, but I disagree with OP's expressed or implied opinions on the matter. Personally, I think most swr questions on ELU are just so much trivial fluff. But a certain amount of trivia can be fun/interesting, so I'm not too bothered as long as things don't get out of hand. – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '14 at 22:36
  • We should migrate them to the bin! – curiousdannii Sep 29 '14 at 11:24
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It's not up to ELU as a site to have a position about what belongs on ELL, even though obviously some individual users (such as me) will have opinions on that. All ELU should be concerned with is whether a question is on-topic here or not.

I will be very surprised indeed if An English idiom for “solve a problem that has been solved”? gets closed on ELU. On what grounds could that possibly be justified? To be sure, practically all native speakers are familiar with reinvent the wheel - but given that we're no longer able to closevote as Too Basic (and that it's actually extremely difficult to look up an idiomatic expression if you don't already know it), I don't see how ELU can just reject such questions. In any case, it doesn't.

The idea that requests for "well-known" (possibly idiomatic) single words or expressions should be passed over to ELL strikes me as misguided. Very often, the OP does actually know and recognise the right answer as soon as someone posts it - they just couldn't think of it at the time of asking. Are we going to migrate "What's the word/expression for [blah blah]" questions from OPs who genuinely didn't know, but keep the ones from OPs who just forgot? That seems unworkable to me.


In short, the existence of ELL should be irrelevant to any decision to close a question on ELU. It only becomes relevant after you've decided to closevote for an ELU-based reason. And even then, only if you know the scope of ELL and think the question would be on topic there - in which case you can try to push it in that direction by commenting and/or flagging it to the mods.

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    In the end however questions should belong on one site or the other, personally I don't care who decides it and how it's decided, but a clear line does need to be drawn. I just tried drawing the line based on the best meta discussion I was able to find, however just saying "we don't care about ELL and their meta discussions do not affect us" seems to be extremely short sighted. – David Mulder Sep 27 '14 at 10:23
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    @David: If you still maintain that "a clear line needs to be drawn", you're obviously not in the least convinced by my argument here. I think whether or not any given question is suitable for ELU depends on whether ELU wants it or not, and it's really irrelevant whether ELL would accept it or not. I wouldn't consider my neighbour's degustatory preferences when deciding if I liked some particular foodstuff or not, and the same principle applies here. – FumbleFingers Sep 27 '14 at 12:14
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    @David SE doesn't operate an exclusivity policy. Questions can be on-topic on more than one site; different sites might answer in slightly different ways. Whether a question is migrated depends on whether it is actually off-topic; and even then it needs to be a good question on the target site. We are warned against migrating poor questions, even if they might be on-topic elsewhere. – Andrew Leach Sep 28 '14 at 11:54
  • @Andrew: Does SE (or the ELU mod team specifically) have a position regarding the situation where someone asks something on ELU that's previously been asked about on ELL, where that the ELL question has an acknowledged "perfect, definitive" answer? Is that "axiomatically irrelevant" (because each site is "autonomous"), or would it be reasonable to either (a) migrate it to ELL and then close it as a dup, or (b) cite the existence of the ELL answer as justification for a General Reference/Too Basic closevote? – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '14 at 12:07
  • @FumbleFingers That's happened quite recently, and there is a network policy, it appears. It isn't done. Currently I'm minded to migrate the "duplicate" back to ELL [its original site], where it can be merged with the original. That preserves a cross-site link on ELU to the question on ELL. A question might have been asked on ELU first, in which case the same applies. There's nothing stopping answers being migrated and merged (or added after the migration), in order that both ELU/ELL aspects are present. – Andrew Leach Sep 29 '14 at 7:15
  • However, that's a different issue from deciding where to post a question initially (which is: wherever it's on topic and you feel you'll get the best answer). – Andrew Leach Sep 29 '14 at 7:23
  • @Andrew: That "network policy" link is a different scenario. I'm not talking about multiple posts on different sites by the same OP posting the same question. I mean - suppose a new question gets posted on ELU, which IMHO is fully answered within a previous ELL question. I think this already happens, but neither site gets any benefit because there's no established procedure. If we implemented my "migrate & dupclose" suggestion (leaving behind on ELU a pointer to the migrated question) then over time this would be a good way of thinning out the trivial/basic questions that drag ELU down. – FumbleFingers Sep 29 '14 at 13:15

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