I've never really liked the pecking order that one finds on some forum sites, one famous one in particular. (It rhymes with "said it".) While I've found EL&U to be relatively civil, there is an aspect of meta-discussion and disapproval that I still see fairly often, along the lines of: "Is this forum really the best place for this question?" "I'm voting to lock this thread." "You could only come up with one example? Please come back when you can put in some real effort." First of all, there is the problem of tone. These are simply not nice ways to talk to people. When you consider that many users here do not use English as their first language, it's really quite presumptuous to blast them. After all, we are trying to be educators. No one here is anyone else's boss.
There is a bigger point, however, that has to do with the logic and working principle of forums like this one. Certainly, a forum can specify certain ground rules about format and content. Don't post spam, please stay on topic, etc. But this is, after all, a totally public outlet. (I don't need to remind users here about the meaning of the word forum.) As such, we should really expect some amount of disorder: some repetition of questions or parts of questions; some half-baked thinking; some rowdy discussion or argument. However, the online culture for these things seems to have diverged from that. Frequent users or mods can seem to have a mama-bear attitude, one that I find distasteful and a little weird. It can seem like these protective users expect the forum ledger to resemble a textbook FAQ or a committee's official minutes, rather than a somewhat messy, peer-to-peer exchange. (Consider the associations of that word too, as in the name of this website.) And, it isn't just unreasonable; it quickly devolves into waste and pettiness. To go back and forth, among several users, deciding whether a topic is worthy of our consideration can quickly approach bureaucratic farce. If it's really that egregious, someone with the authority should simply lock the thing, perhaps providing an explanation, and be done with it. Parading one's disapproval is nothing more than childish.
All that said, I do understand some of the motivating desires of many of these type-A users. If this is going to be a resource, it might as well look a little clean, and polished, and avoid redundancy and be perfectly on-topic, etc. My confusion is why you would ever expect a public forum to be that kind of document. And so, I just want to offer a suggestion-- or at least, see if anyone has an idea why this isn't the way things are done.
What seems to me most reasonable, would be to take the existing EL&U forum, use mods or veteran users or whatever, and then create a higher-order, curated stack. This would include the best questions and answers from the whole history of these records. It could be catalogued, alphabetized, never redundant and nicely cross-referenced. It would satisfy the housekeeping urges of many of the users here, while also leaving the main page to breathe a bit and just be what it is: an exchange or a forum. To my mind, there's a ridiculous expectation built into forums like these: because someone has already asked about who vs. whom, or participle vs. gerund, you're not supposed to ask anymore. People have been asking questions like these for hundreds of years, but we don't expect students in school to have read all the literature before raising their hands in class. Teachers of language, whether at the grade school or university level, are asked about who vs. whom many times every year they teach. Only a very bad teacher would get impatient about that.
What do you think?