In my 2 months of EL&U contribution, I have come across umpteen instances where top users suggest OPs to include some research effort from their side(rightly so) and I too have adopted this practice whenever I see vague questions from relatively new, low-rep users.

But then , I came across this 5 year old question - "Y'all" or "ya'll"?

A hugely popular question (upwards of 80k+ views) with the simplest of titles and (probably) the shortest body content.

My questions -

  • Why was this question not flagged for lack of research efforts?

  • In the bigger scheme of things, should we always (I mean a 100%) look for research efforts in new questions? Or are there any special clauses that can be applied to a few questions(such as the one mentioned above)?

Disclaimer : I have nothing against the OP or the linked question. Just trying to understand in-depth about the moderation techniques and working of EL&U site. Please feel free to point out any fallacies in my argument.

  • 6
    I would say it was quite different 5 years ago from now as (1) English Language and Usage was new without firm rules and guidelines at the time, (2) English Language Learner was not created then, (3) Many current rules and guidelines have been made over the past five years through trial and error, discussion and consensus. Research efforts are necessary and the question and its answers Does a question which shows no research, no effort deserve a downvote? show why.
    – user140086
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 8:31
  • 1
    @Rathony - I can imagine. EL&U must have been in its nascent stages then. I assumed policies are set in the initial stages of community creation. I probably failed to take into account the fact that policies do mature as time progresses, as Andrew suggests.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 8:50
  • 1
    You've been a member for only two months now, but you should be able to do some research in the meta archives yourself. If you read up on a couple of posts dated 2010, 2011, and 2012 you'll get a feeling of the site's "history" and the changes it has enforced and endured during these six years or so.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 17:03
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA - I did search. Yet I wasn't sure of their relevance after 4-6 years.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


As you point out, that question is five years old. That's plenty of time to garner many views, and it's plenty of time for site policy on research to mature as well.

Recent Meta questions touching research which I can find easily are Does a question which shows no research, no effort deserve a downvote? and How much research is needed? There are undoubtedly more.

The current consensus of the community is that some research has to be demonstrated; this is similar to Stack Overflow's expectation of a modicum of understanding of the question's topic there.

  • 2
    Understood! If that question were to be posted now, I suppose the first expectation would be more clarity and some sentences suggesting their research, am I right?
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 8:44

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