I asked this question not too long ago:

I was trying figure out a word, term, or phrase that means the same as last added by. I prefer something concise.

For context, I have a database table which contains a list of things added to our system. Each thing was last added by a specific person. I want the table to be name to be thing_last_added_by. However, the table name seems too wordy.

However, it was voted to be closed:

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because naming programming-related things is specifically out of bounds (see english.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic, where it says "don't ask for help on ... Naming, including naming programming variables/classes ") – Hellion Aug 20 at 21:34

I understand the rule (although this is the name of a database table and not a variable or class), but if I just removed the software context out of then I'm just looking for a synonym phrase for "last added by". I kind of find this rule silly.

Should I just re-edit this question so it can be opened again? Is there any other place I can post about for naming database tables? Code review doesn't seem to fit the problem.

  • latest adder, ultimate adder ... Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 17:54
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    SE is not an informal suggestion site ELU or SO or whatever. It isn't a good site for absolutely every question you might have. yahoo answers or reddit might work.
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 2:41
  • @Mitch actually it doesn't ignoring the obvious fact that I am not asking about variable or class names, I understand this extends to more than just those things. But this is not something unique to my program, or code this is talking about naming the operator in general. And if the community is absolutely opposed to answering that then please close the question and let me shop for a different venue on my own. This should not be migrated to an irrelevant forum.
    – user206315
    Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 20:03
  • @SE oops I see that you already posted to meta... never mind. But why are you pinging me? I didn't have anything to do with all that.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 21:38
  • @Mitch it was a mistake i meant to post this reply to someone else on the meta page but i must have clicked his link to page site by mistake. sorry
    – user206315
    Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 21:41
  • @SE No problem. It's an interesting question, but naming things for programs (variables, data base fields, etc), as has been noted several times is off topic and there were enough keywords in your question to think of that. But if it is about the generic operation itself (as called by experts or documentation in the field), it is pretty domain specific, and so would get better traction in a domain specific site.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 21:47

3 Answers 3


A long, long time ago (by EL&U standards) the folks here got tired of answering a banana-boatload of trivial questions that seemed unrelated to English and only of use to a very narrow sampling of people: programmers. See Is Python a snake or a programming language? If the latter, why is it choking my dog? You can get up to speed on this issue by reading the answers and comments there.

Simply put, helping individuals name things, especially programming artifacts, doesn't seem like such a good use of our time.

  • This doesn't fully answer my question. I have seen many synonym questions for phrases without any downvotes (just checked now and saw this on the top). I mention that if I had changed the context (aka not even mentioned it was for a database table), then the question would have been valid. I could even fluff a story and say it's for an essay. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 13:48
  • It's not a perfect system, true. It could be spoofed. Are you saying that if the system is not perfect then you should be allowed to violate its rules merely because you can find ways around them?
    – Robusto
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 13:51
  • I'm more (or less) trying to say that my initial question is actually valid, and that the programming variable name rule is kind of "odd". Perhaps it's time to adjust the rules? Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 14:46
  • "Perhaps it is time to adjust the rules?" Are you saying that because you find the rule odd we should go against our preference to accommodate you?
    – Robusto
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 15:05
  • @CyberneticTwerkGuruOrc SE culture is about trying to answer questions definitively. And questions like 'help me do my personal programming' seem like useless one-offs, and they tend to bother long time SE people on every site. That's the culture here so if you don't like it then there might be other sites where your question would be more welcome.
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 15:10
  • @Robusto "Odd" was just a kinder way to say "illogical" (I clearly need help with synonyms |=^] ). It's not solely to accommodate me but to help shape the future and culture of ELU. I believe allowing to ask synonym questions with a programming context is OK, because the only problem is the context (and not the question itself). I can understand if it's about programming conventions then it's not allowed because that's more of a Code Review question. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 15:27
  • @Mitch I think you should read the question again because it's not help me do my personal programming kind of question. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 15:28
  • @Cyber: Now you're calling us illogical because we have stated a preference for this community?
    – Robusto
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 16:19
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    @CyberneticTwerkGuruOrc How is it not all about your personal programming? You want to name something in your work and you're asking us to help you with it. Variables, classes, data base fields, screen elements, title of a document, whatever, it's all about you. Helping you find the right word for your thing, not helping anybody else.
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 17:32

For at least some of these questions, it is possible to remove the database/computing part and make a real-world example.

"Not empty" set in one word?

That question gained its upvotes after the edit to make it on-topic, although it wasn't edited soon enough to prevent closure.

The rule is the rule, and it's not silly. This is primarily an English site, not a computing site. If you want a name, call it Milly; that's probably unique and would work just as well in a program or database schema (that is, it would not error). If you want a word, describe the word.

In the case in point, last_added_by is fine as a database column name. If you want an English word, you need to come up with a sentence where "last added by" might be replaced. I doubt that "This item was last added by Edgar" is that sentence.


Removing the "programmer" part of the question often makes the question unanswerable. List all the synonyms for X? is not a valid question. For single-word/phrase requests, there is an additional rule which is that you have to specify what makes the question answerable, i.e. how you expect the word/phrase to be used, and what alternatives (if any) you've rejected, and why.

Failure to specify the use-case of a word request makes it a poor question for this site. We don't necessarily close all such poor questions, but that doesn't make them okay.

In the case of programming, naming is often very important and very deliberate and fraught with heated opinions. What makes a good word for something often doesn't make it a good word in a codebase or database table, and vice versa.

Note: we will also close other word requests that are too specialized. We've closed legal word requests, for example.

TL;DR: If you can fix your question to make it more generic, it might be re-openable. If not, then simply removing the programmer language just hides your intentions and still leaves us with a poor question.

  • That's kind o my point though. If I do make it more generic, then it would be considered re-openable. I find that an unnecessary step taken to avoid a somewhat silly rule. I wasn't asking for what is the best phrase for this database table with purpose XYZ. I already had a phrase, I just wanted an synonym phrase or word. I just thew in the context of programming to explain why I need it (so it was a question with purpose) Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 15:32
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    @CyberneticTwerkGuruOrc It's not a silly rule. You need to ask a question that is answerable. Without context, how can we judge if a synonym is appropriate? With a different context, a different synonym may be better. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 15:45

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