• A question, concise but clear and easily comprehensible to my eyes;
  • two "desperate" tentative answers;
  • a few comments;
  • a series of down-votes and the closing of the question.

I think probably no one meant to laugh at the question, but seen from outside and to the eyes of a new user the sense of frustration may be amplified.

Though the down-votes to the question and its closing may be easily justified, I wonder if, sometimes, we could do better than this.

  • 4
    Yeah, that is weird, all the down votes on everything. The idea is reasonable (as much as a single word request is reasonable).
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 19:05
  • 3
    In this case, I think it would have been better to explain to OP that we explicitly prohibit questions asking for help in naming things. Now, in this case, the question, with some minor tweaks, could have been rephrased as a simple SWR (if an unanswerable one owing to the lack of such a word, at least in widespread use). Even had that been done, however, I'll make a personal confession: I tend to downvote questions which are clearly asked in the OP's own personal interest, particularly their own personal commercial interest. I don't view EL&U as a pro bono outsourced marketing department.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 19:06
  • 1
    @Dan: I love the comment about the pro bono marketing. When I was a jobbing translator, I had problems with people expecting freebies. Not online, in realspace. Many would start out, "I could translate this as well as you", to which I would give the obvious riposte in hanging up, "Then pray do so". My record is a guy from the capital who called me up and asked me to drop by – from on the other side of the country – and affix my authorisation (quality-guarantee stamp and signature) to a translation he had done himself, free, gratis and for nothing.
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 11:07
  • 3
    @DavidPugh Don't you wish you could downvote requests like that? ;)
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 11:09
  • @Dan: What I want is a button on my mobile phone that causes the device of the caller to explode. :-/)
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 11:35
  • 1
    +1, 61, appreciate your diligence. In the 6 months I've been a EL&U user I've followed numerous Meta thread similar to this OP. Seems to be a recurrent theme. I see you've even garnered a couple dvs. Badges of courage.
    – user98990
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 23:44
  • @Mitch IMO, those are meta downvotes and the context provided those who did with an excuse to do so. A SWR for something that pertains only to women is reasonable. What can I call a cab company that will deny males service would get a downvote from me on principal if I wasn't so particular about how I vote. See e.g., gender neutral alternative to craftsmanship. I've downvoted that question for meeting all three criteria(+50,-26). People were disagreeing with the "idea" of this one(+7,-6) too.
    – Mazura
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 1:11
  • Sometimes I wonder if an O.P. can do better, too. (I think the most offensive comment on the page is the remark about the "frustrated 12 years olds.") Sure, it's good to be civil and polite, but that goes both ways.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 1:47
  • @J.R. - that "inappropriate" comment was added after my post here. It does not change the nature of the issue I wanted to bring to general attention, but as you have rightly noticed " it's good to be civil and polite, but that goes both ways".
    – user66974
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


That comment breaks my heart. I have long wished for a friendlier culture on EL&U.

I did not downvote, but I did snark, because these requests (what's the word with a negative connotation for what constant, too-high waves do the the shore and it's inhabitants?) EL&U on (what's a better and more eloquent way to say "a regular basis"?) and leave me (what's a single word that describes the discouragement someone feels when something they hold dear seems to be slipping away and they're afraid it might never be like it was? I don't mean nostalgia.)

Yea, though I (what's a good word or phrase for "walking in the valley of the shadow of something", but a lot shorter?), see to what depths of depravity I have fallen? Snark. I am disappointed in myself. (Is there a single word or idiom in English that refers to the regret someone feels when they see that they have become the thing they once disliked - and kind of still do - and were hoping they wouldn't become, but have anyway? But that still makes them feel guilty about it, and they know they are maybe wrong, but also they understand how that happened?)

Once, it would have been me welcoming the user and scratching my head, trying to (what's a better word for "assist" that carries with it a connotation of wanting to help?) them. And I've only been here (what's a single word that means "a little over a year" but less than "a year and a third"?). Imagine how it feels to people who have been here even longer yet still have higher hopes for the site than to look at the front page and see it peppered with requests like this?

It breaks my heart. But it also breaks my heart to look at the front page, to look at the review queue and see 130 reviews every day, to take on six low quality answers and in the time it takes to review those six, to have five more added to the queue so that it becomes eleven.

My heart breaks for this individual. I (a word not quite as dramatic and exuberant as rejoice, but more than the insipid "am happy") that you are still tender-hearted and enthusiastic, and that you've become such a valuable user.

But see how tedious this response has become? Yet it only asks for eight words. That might be about the number of SWRs we've gotten on a single busy day here in the same time it took to write this very snarky answer. But, (is the interjection "wow" still used in American English? Is there a newer word that has replaced it but means the same thing?), it is so very, v e r y understandable.

Keep on pushing for making the community a better place in every way. That is always right.

I hope you know that in spite of the snark - and some hyperbole - I really meant everything I said. My heart did break on looking back at the question. You are doing the right thing.

  • 5
    We have all been first and junior users not that long ago.....
    – user66974
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 20:44
  • 1
    @Josh61- So very, very true, and your outlook is admirable, it really is. Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 20:45
  • 2
    @Josh61 And when we were junior users, a number of us put up with our own share of downvotes and critical feedback, and lived through it. And those of (now) high-rep users who didn't live through such a period clearly lurked in the shadows here until they had enough of a hang of the place to avoid censureship in the first place. The fact of the matter is if there's friction between two parties, one has to change shape to conform to the other. And while we can (and, IMO, do) extend ourselves to meet newcomers, that doesn't mean they're absolved of all responsibility to meet up halfway.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 23:38
  • 5
    In my capacity as one of the first 300 users of this site, I feel like pointing out that comments like that of @DanBron's were very common right from the start. It's just that back then people would take them in the spirit they were offered, and not as personal insults (which they never were, never are, and never will be). We were a bunch of happy people happily working on creating something awesome, and we were having fun. These days it's all faux political correctness, for no reason and to no end.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 11:55
  • 3
    As far as this particular question is concerned: several people offered constructive feedback, asking for further clarification. The OP never delivered. Instead, two days later he called us "frustrated 12 year olds". Just like that. I don't think it's us who needs to work on their manners.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 12:00
  • 2
    @RegDwigнt - I wish I had joined the site from the beginning when it was a smaller and more familiar place. I perfectly understand what you mean because at is just the atmosphere I am living in our sister site for the Italian language. A smaller community where every issue is easily solved. ELU is very different in that respect with a huge number of users ( questions and answers) and a lot of issues to deal with. It is an international community where a lot of non-natives participates. Sometimes British and American sense of humour may not be readily understood and may be misunderstood.
    – user66974
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 16:55
  • 2
    ...in that respect political correctness may be helpful at times. I don't see it as a limit and I just try to adapt to this environment. I was a junior in this site not long ago and it was not an easy time. You grow up and tend to lend a hand. That is what I am just trying to do for the community.
    – user66974
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 17:02
  • 2
    @Josh61 - I think everybody knows that. You're very helpful, in your commenting and answers. You're polite, kind, and I think I've seen a snarky or short comment or two, but I wouldn't wager on it. It's clear as crystal that you like/want to help. Wait another year. If you're here and still the same, you will be like pHenry, who is one of my favorite users because he still believes and he still fights. Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 17:17
  • Just a heads up, my personal feeling is that the community on the English SE is fairly hostile. I had an innocent, well-formed question about an Oxford comma (english.stackexchange.com/questions/58672/comma-confusion) that was downvoted hard and quickly. I didn't know what an Oxford comma was so the reaction seemed pretty aggressive to me. I enjoy the many nuances of English (learned a new word today: demonym) but I avoid this place because of what I perceive as hostility. Glad it's not just me and that the community is aware of it.
    – Ben
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 21:00

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