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I believe this site belongs to "Native Speakers, Etymologists, and Serious Language Enthusiasts". I belong to the third one.

This question is a very interesting question which received 18 upvotes (including mine) and has this answer.

I don't mind at all how many upvotes this answer receives. However, I do mind its qualities.

I don't think the answer has the standard quality required by "Native Speakers, Etymologists, and Serious Language Enthusiasts".

It has a lot of flaws and I consider it a pure "fabrication" which has nothing to do with Etymology of "Train" and "Coach".

If I had been a moderator, I would have warned him the minute I saw the answer (which I did as a member).

This is the first comment that I made after the answer was posted:

@Rathony: Your link about "coach" explicitly reads "Meaning "to prepare (someone) for an exam" is from 1849. Related: Coached; coaching" which is different from "help some with an activity". What activity? Was it used in 1849 and never used after 1849? (It was commented around 5-10 minutes after the answer was posted)

I am copying a train of comments.

@Rathony: "The downvote is not mine,"

Note: As there was only one downvote at the time. I just wanted to tell him I didn't downvote it yet as some members do sometimes.

@Mitch. "The downvote is uninformed. Nice etymological exposition."

@Rathony: Nice etymological exposition doesn't put what was written in the plain text. Really?

@Mitch: " I don't get your objection. Or rather I can't tell if you have an exception except that you say 'really?'. Can you elaborate?"

From here on, @Mitch's comments are omitted. The followings are all mine:

@Rathony: The answer states that "coach* was used in 1849 in the modern sense of "help someone with an activity". The online dictionary (which is available to anybody) states that "coach" meant as a verb "to prepare (someone) for an exam" from 1849. The year matches, but the explanation doesn't. If it was made up by him, he should explain on what basis he made up "help someone with an activity". What activity? Baseball was there in 1849? Tennis? You can call many things an activity. There is no explanation on that part.

Furthermore, the dictionary states "coach" as a noun started to mean a tutor who "carries" a student through an exam; athletic sense is 1861. Then, what activity? Both America and Britain started to use "coach" as a verb and noun related with "study". Not an activity. Then, where are all others who were busy criticizing others' answers and questions? Are you guys giving him a special treatment? No comment at all about its poor contents? Come on, Mitch. You have to be neutral, right?

He fabricated a story with "help someone with an activity". Isn't it a fabrication? If "helping someone with an exam" is the only activity on the face of the Earth, it is not a fabrication. (I changed the word. Thanks)

Sorry, I don't get your point. It took 31 years for Britain to extend the meaning to athletic sense. If you think 31 years in Etymology is nothing, fine. I don't agree with you as we are not sure what kind of athletic sense it took in 1861? What usage? What sports? Is there any evidence to prove it? Was there any exam for sports? (I could suspect there might have been). I will leave it there, if you don't mind. Nice conversing with you.

I would have deleted this answer an hour ago If I had posted it. I am sure you know what I mean.


Still no comment from any moderator. I would like to know (1) why there is no comment from them, (2) if the answer is acceptable to the EL&U standards, and (3) if acceptable to EL&U standards, I would like to have your opinion on the reason why.

Thank you.

  • Can you put the authors of each comment in? For the uninitiated, it's hard to see who wrote what. – Mitch Nov 11 '15 at 16:25
  • @Mitch Sorry for the confusion caused. I edited my post. – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 16:33
  • The full (subscription-only) OED specifically says it's university slang. They have separate definitions for the noun (private tutor for passing exams) and both sides of the verb (to tutor / be tutored for an exam). All three of those have citations from 1848 that specifically relate to exams, but it's only 19 years later that they have The crew being coached by Mr. F. Willan and Mr. G. Morrison, from the former gentleman's steamboat, where it's pretty obviously about coaching for a sporting event (a university boat-race). I think 19 years isn't worth arguing about. – FumbleFingers Nov 11 '15 at 18:36
  • @FumbleFingers I would not have pointed it out if he had written "exam"-related word specifically in the answer. Please don't get my point wrong. His answer is a fabrication. I am not arguing about 19-year or 31-year difference. The word coach started to mean someone who helped someone's "exam" and it is the fact according to the dictionary based on which he answered and the reference you used. "Helping someone with an activity" is a complete fabrication. What activity? It could be hundreds including a university boat race. – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 18:58
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    Rathony: It seems to me that right from the first recorded use until now, coach has always had the implication of guiding towards success in some competitive activity, whereas train just has the more general sense of setting someone on the right track (along with a host of other senses, related or not). – FumbleFingers Nov 11 '15 at 19:07
  • @ermanen Thank you for your comment. I don't care about what kind of question gets how many votes. I am with you on the point that it is what it is (take it or leave it). The point I am trying to make is that we should not be biased in determining what is what and what is better/worse that what. That's all. Obviously enough, it is what it is now. – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 19:08
  • @FumbleFingers I would have upvoted millions of times if he had answered that way. That is my point. His answer didn't have it. Then, my question is "is it news to Native Speaker, Etymologist, and Enthusiasts?" – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 19:09
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    Rathony: The way I see it, the original question simply asked if there was a reason why coach, train appear to be so closely "connected", to the modern ear. The answer you're putting under the microscope seems quite reasonable to me, in that it asserts ancient and enduring semantic connections. Clearly there's no etymological connection between the two words, and the answer made no such claim. Coaching to pass an exam, win a contest, do an activity are so close it's scarcely relevant that one was used (more accurately, is recorded) a couple of decades before another. – FumbleFingers Nov 11 '15 at 21:34
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    ...in short, although the question itself is tagged etymology, I don't really think that's relevant to the answer (though the OP presumably wouldn't have known that at time of asking). I therefore think the issue you're getting so concerned about here was only marginally relevant to the original question, and that you're making too much of it. – FumbleFingers Nov 11 '15 at 21:37
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Moderators are not required to judge the correctness of answers. In the most egregious and obvious cases, we will delete incorrect answers, but as none of us are experts everywhere, we will generally tread on the side of caution.

With respect to your questions,

  1. There is no guarantee that a moderator will view a post unless it is flagged, and the post has not been so flagged.

2/3. The answer is not spam or offensive, and is an answer.

  • Now I am flagging it. Thanks. – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 16:15
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    @rathony I get this weird feeling that you're upset about the answer. Is it wrong? Then say so, and explain, but that's not what flagging is for. I see that you've tried to explain, but from my responses you can also see that I don't understand your arguments. But that is a case for discussion (maybe in chat?) than it is for what seems like ... is it anger? I can understand being upset by something you feel is factually wrong, but the strength of the affect seems extreme. – Mitch Nov 11 '15 at 16:20
  • @Mitch Please don't get me wrong. I used to run 42.195km without taking one second of rest for the full course, even though now I can only half of it. I just want to have a discussion. That's all. I am not angry. :) I flagged it for poor quality. – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 16:24
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    @Rathony OK. But your specific recommendation to improve the quality from poor to maybe acceptable is to change "activity" to "sports". Is that the extent of your complaint about quality? This seems like a lot of heavy weather about a small detail, when there's constant hemorrhaging and bodies piling up left and right. – Mitch Nov 11 '15 at 16:28
  • @Mitch No, no, no. It should be changed to "exam-related words or activities" as the Etymology dictionary clearly indicates that. And it should explain how it extended its meaning to other activities like sports. There is nothing there. You call Don Mattingly or Alex Furguson a "coach". Why? And part of it is opinion-based without any reference/research. – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 16:34
  • One thing to comment to your answer, if you don't mind. My answer was downvoted just because I didn't put "open", just one single adjective, before compound noun. I was criticized for answering back to the OP for this answer. Where are they? I have more examples to post. Please compare my answers with the above one. – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 17:03
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    @Rathony So you feel like others have been given leeway whereas you haven't? Are you saying that, if you're persecuted for extremely minor factual solecisms, that others should also be? – Mitch Nov 11 '15 at 20:21
  • @Mitch One mod once said to me just because I refused to put one adjective before a noun this site is not for kudos, but for accuracy. My point is the member who fabricates an answer (who doesn't even try to put exactly what the dictionary says) should be warned, flagged, and the answer should be edited if you really pursue that accuracy. Do you see accuracy there? Does "help someone with an activity" represent accurately "help students go through exam"?. The dictionary has it exactly word by word. I am not making it up. – user140086 Nov 12 '15 at 5:12
  • From the content on your questions and answer it seems like you have a lot of interesting content to offer the site. ELU is a community and it has a culture, some encouraged by the stackexchange software, some by the many ELU participants. It's not monolithic and can be sometimes capricious. But... look at the voting on this. Consider that maybe the other kids in the sandbox, who have been here awhile, don't agree with you, most likely not about language knowledge but about the process you're taking and your feelings about it. – Mitch Nov 12 '15 at 13:52
  • ... Stay here longer, look through meta and see if there are problems similar to yours and how they've been dealt with. Check out stackexchange itself and its meta and see how similar situations might have been dealt with. – Mitch Nov 12 '15 at 13:53
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    @Mitch If the culture is based on double standards, it has a problem. Don't apply double standards. That's the point I am trying to make. You didn't even bother to open the link, right? Voting on that doesn't make the fabrication work. They might not know the fact that he changed the words in the dictionary. The answer might have received more votes if he had just copied and paste it. – user140086 Nov 12 '15 at 18:12
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    This meta-question has so many downvotes it is not appearing on the main meta page, so it's probably just you and me who care. By double standard I'm guessing you feel slighted because some mod edited your answer but not the etymology answer. You feel persecuted. I get it. But you're spending a lot of energy against this one guy (and nobody agrees with you based on the votes to this meta question). – Mitch Nov 12 '15 at 22:28
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    I hate to say it but it seems like you're going in the direction of acting like another recently active participant who got very upset with ELU. Consider that maybe it's not everybody else. – Mitch Nov 12 '15 at 22:30
  • @Mitch I edited the etymological at least twenty-four hours ago. The citation is quoted, and formatted accordingly. Nothing else was touched. From the 33 upvotes it originally had, it has now earned a total of fifty. – Mari-Lou A Nov 13 '15 at 6:13
  • @Mitch It is entirely up to you how to interpret my intention. I don't care about downvotes as I know it doesn't mean anything. Look at here and there are 2 identical answers, one of which received 31 upvotes, the other only 6 upvotes. And you know what is funnier? The answer with 6 upvotes received 3 downvotes. What do you think that means? As long as members would behave in a fair way,fine. Don't you think so? Do you not agree there is a serious problem in voting system? – user140086 Nov 13 '15 at 12:47

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