(Edit -- I just discovered that I posted a working draft by accident yesterday, so am doing a substantial re-write. At least half of my draft was missing from what got posted. Note, this was due to human error, not a problem with the software.)

Quite a few questions written by English language learners (ELLs) are mistakenly posted on this site. I sometimes see riddles, or criticisms, or flippant remarks posted as comments below the question.

Q1. How flippant does a comment need to be for it to be worth flagging it as dispresfectul? (Without becoming the child who cries wolf.)

I'm imagining a sole language learner at a dinner table, with the native language users sometimes tossing quick, funny asides to each other back and forth that you aren't expected to try to follow. He might wonder, What are they laughing about? Does it have anything to do with my language blunders? I'm uncomfortable when this happens, because the quips are sometimes funny, but they also make me squirm, because I've been the sole language learner at that dinner table.

Q2. Could a flag reason be added, to the effect that the question would fit better on ELL?

If that isn't possible, I'd like to ask that folks try to remember (or imagine) what it feels like to struggle to express yourself in a new language, in a way that others will understand and not laugh at.

  • @AndrewLeach - What is meant by the tag "status-bydesign"? Aug 18, 2015 at 12:26
  • 1
    Hovering over a tag gives its description. By Design indicates that a submitted issue is actually due to the existing design of the system and is not considered erroneous behaviour. There are other "status" tags for bugs and feature-requests, [status-reproduced] [status-norepro]; [status-declined] [status-planned] [status-completed]. "By design" was the closest I could find to match your question as it stood. You have completely changed your question, which is generally frowned upon when an answer has been given to the question as asked.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 18, 2015 at 12:37
  • Are there two separate questions here?
    – Mitch
    Aug 18, 2015 at 12:43
  • @AndrewLeach - Shall I roll this question back to the mess I accidentally posted yesterday, and post a new question with today's wording? If I do that, I would actually like to delete the original question, which I never intended for public consumption. But I would want to give you an opportunity to copy your answer over to the new question. Aug 18, 2015 at 13:12
  • Thanks for showing me how to read a tag description. Aug 18, 2015 at 13:16
  • I would suggest you roll back and tidy that version into a coherent single-issue question, and then ask a different question about flippant commenting. But I'm sure there is already a question about that, so do look for existing posts (a search for flippant comment may well turn up something
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 18, 2015 at 13:23
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    @AndrewLeach - I see the two questions as inextricably related. My hypothesis is that people do the flippant stuff partly out of frustration. I think the key to solving that problem is to provide an easy way of funneling questions better suited to ELL over to the other site. Aug 18, 2015 at 13:32
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    There is already a way, as I explained. Note that an explicit migration path will not be provided because SE removed that possibility a couple of years ago. With less than 3000 rep the question needs to be flagged for closure (it puts the question into a review queue); over 3000 rep a vote to close may be cast. If people are adding flippant comments as well as [or instead of] using the facilities available, then that is a separate issue.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 18, 2015 at 13:35
  • @AndrewLeach - That is helpful, thanks. My plan for the near future: when I see comments that bother me, I will take a look at whether the commenter's rep > 3000. If I see that more than one powerful commenters are choosing to be flippant or witty in entertaining side discussions through comments, then I'll bring that up specifically here on Meta. Aug 18, 2015 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


There is already a flag reason which mentions closure and migration to ELL, but it may take a little bit of finding. Migration to ELL is a closure reason. It appears in the standard close dialogs which are accessible when you reach a reputation score of 3000. But until then, you can still flag for migration.

Flag dialog 1: Should be closed Flag dialog 2: Off-topic Flag dialog 3: Research/ELL

This last dialog is very similar to the close dialog which is presented to users who have the Vote to Close privilege:

Vote to Close dialog

The only difference is that there is a distinct "Migrate" option — but that only allows users to suggest migration to Meta, not to another non-Meta site like ELL. You have to use the first reason, which does explicitly mention ELL.

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