I think the current questions listed are not that exemplary. (Although, I don't think they are awful; there are certainly better alternatives.) This is one of the most common question types we get and if we have better examples in this section, it would be beneficial.


The current questions in the info section are:

There are better worded and detailed single-word-request questions that are more useful and we can update the info section to include those questions.

Please offer the most useful/exemplary single-word-question that you think of as an answer. Please explain why it is exemplary/useful. Then, we can upvote/downvote and top 5 might go to that section.

Note: The benefit is that if we list better questions there, people might ask better questions if they check there. Also, this meta post can be a reference of good SWR questions.

  • 4
    Given that the wiki has not been edited for over two years, there are almost certainly better questions which might replace some (one, all) of those there.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 19:53
  • One thing to do would be to test if they community is happy with them by putting one vote towards closing them as insufficient research. If they stay open and are highly voted then they would be good examples. Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 22:35
  • How about each user offers their favourite SWR. The community could then upvote or downvote each nominee. There should be a brief description and explanation saying why this SWR is an example of a good model, which new users can "imitate". This might be fun to vote via on meta, not on EL&U.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 14:48
  • 1
    Fingers crossed that the community like your meta post. I think it's great, if we can help users "see" how SWR can be informative and well-presented, and what the word "research" means, then perhaps together we help raise the bar :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 15:33
  • 1
    I don't mean to be too blunt but I can't think of a better way to ask ... what is the point of this? Why are SWRs somehow being singled out? Shouldn't other kinds of questions have examples then too?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 20:42
  • 1
    @Mitch: As I mentioned in the OP, SWRs are one of the most common question types and probably most discussed. I'm, at least, starting from somewhere to contribute to the site. You can do for other questions if you want. It would be complicated to deal with all of them at once maybe. Also, the point is, people might see better examples in the info section and might ask better questions. Additionally, we are trying to list good SWR questions here and it might be a good reference.
    – ermanen
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 22:08
  • @Mari-LouA It might be good to quote in full one of the exemplaries, and then list some more examples. Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 6:08
  • I'm betting that there will be no synonym or antonym SWRs in the list of favorites. (I suggest we drop allowing such Q&A.)
    – Drew
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 17:18
  • @Mari-LouA: After 10 days and ~230 view count, there is very little attention. Funny that, when it comes to complaining, everyone speaks up. [On top of that, the question is down-voted along with some good examples :) ]
    – ermanen
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 15:50
  • What I find sad, is that apart from curiousdanni, who later deleted his, no one else nominated a candidate question. Apathy, only apathy.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 16:25
  • @Mari-LouA: Maybe we can wait for a little while then update the section with the top 5 questions. I already asked everyone's opinion. You can help with the wording maybe but it shouldn't be too long in my opinion.
    – ermanen
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 23:30
  • You need to ask for the mods intervention at this point, and asking for an explanation. You've waited long enough. Add an edit to the post.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 11:39
  • @Mari-LouA: I don't know what to say. I will just update the questions in the section. We have the edit rights.
    – ermanen
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 23:20
  • The silence from the mods is deafening. You'd think someone would have intervened by now. The question Word for “device that provides constant doses of a liquid/dust/substance” has attracted less than 300 views in FOUR years, is this the "best" example that EL&U has?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 0:02
  • @Mari-LouA: I updated the help section with the new questions. At least one of the questions is yours and you are one of the best askers on this platform.
    – ermanen
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 1:30

8 Answers 8


Apathy reigns on EL&U, certainly where suggestions for improving the quality of questions is concerned.

Single-Word Requests are one of the most common questions asked on this site, and probably the most discussed. Experienced users often direct newcomers to the Help Centre, suggesting that they take the tour and see what questions are off topic and how to formulate questions which should show a minimum of research. The examples listed in the SWR tag page are either dull beyond belief; show no research; give no indication as to how the single-word would be used in a sentence; or have such low view counts one is left wondering just how useful the question was.

Finally, the tag info page needs to be updated, spruced up, rewritten. A bit more enthusiasm needs to be injected. As it is, the list just contains the bare question title. Is it any wonder we receive one sentence questions, and then newcomers get disgruntled when their posts are put on hold, e.g. "Read ( Beautiful + Interesting ) stories" is said to be a question that definitely belongs to the SWR tag, and that's that. That "on topic" question is dated Aug 16 '10, and has attracted 1029 views. In almost five years! Surely there are better examples which the site could submit.


What do you call a note that gives preliminary information before the main part?

  • There is a clear context (The word was also needed to use in Stack Exchange questions and it can be helpful for everyone).

  • There is a detailed explanation and research effort. (Some words are eliminated with reasoning and definitions)

  • The question attracted very precise and useful answers.

  • Upvote because it was a useful SWR.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 15:35

Sabotaging through purposeful procrastination

  • Clear and detailed context
  • Explanation of a word from another language
  • Eliminating a word with reasoning
  • Indicating what part of speech is acceptable
  • Attracted many useful answers

What do you call the interconnecting bits of a puzzle piece in English?

A concise, unambiguous SWR. We all know an image can paint a thousand words, and anyone who read the question definitely knew what the request was about. Because it was so specific, it didn't risk attracting twenty or more possible suggestions—the biggest drawback in a SWR question.

  • -1 no evidence of research Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 2:04
  • @curiousdannii no research, true, but how do you research this word? This is not a straightforward general reference question, but the question is crystal clear, and there can be only one or two "right" answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 3:37
  • I was assuming they knew it was a jigsaw puzzle piece, in which case the Wikipedia page would provide the answer. Reading the question again I guess it could be that they didn't know what jigsaw puzzles are called, but I think that's very unlikely. Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 4:05
  • I think in this case explaining the downvote has been extremely helpful, if I cannot defend my choice, then that candidate post should not be included in the Help Centre. I think it is a fine SWR because it is so clear, and it made me want to know what the answer was too.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 4:33

Aren’t there English equivalents to Japanese word, Senpai (先輩) meaning a senior in school, career, or age?

  • Clear explanation and context from Japanese culture
  • Research is included
  • Useful information
  • Attracted great answers

What do we call people who go to the gym?

The user (me) had identified there was a lexical gap in the language, she suggested possible solutions but had shared her research. She was open to idioms, slang, fixed expressions etc. Users were asked not to offer neologisms. Answers which were supported by reliable references, were openly encouraged.

  • I suggested this in the original question. So, upvoted :)
    – ermanen
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 15:30

What do you call the child who doesn’t resemble his / her parents in English?

This question is a good example of how non-native speakers might describe the word they need. The user provides the expression in their mother tongue, and clearly explains its meaning. The user also mentions that the word/expression in his native language is not necessarily derogatory and provides a further example.

Moreover, I particularly appreciate the fact that the answer can't be found in Wikipedia. In other words this is not a general reference question.

  • Perhaps worth mentioning that people can edit these suggestions (wiki) and provide additional support. Obviously, if you believe the suggested SWR is unsuitable, downvote and please explain why in a comment.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 5:56

A word that describes a process that can be both good and bad

  • OP explained why the questions is not a duplicate (by explaining why the answers in the other question don't fit)
  • The question contains an advanced context
  • Research effort is included (some options are eliminated with reasoning)
  • Clear indication of formal/scientific word

You must log in to answer this question.

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