Is it correct that my question: Idiom request for wasting time or money was put aside as not respectful of the site rules. I have a short experience here but I think it was clear and it actually received many interesting answers. I had also posted an example of where to use the sentence as requested.

What is wrong with my question?

  • I didn't vote to close the question, and did vote to reopen it because many people answered it--thus indicating they were able to interpret it to their satisfaction. However, the question does not seem clear to me: are you able to provide one or more sentences containing blanks where the idiom you want would work?
    – JEL
    Feb 14, 2016 at 11:04
  • I believe the only "fault" in your question, if you can call it that, is its length. But it's difficult to provide details when someone doesn't have the answer. The example sentence, is fine but maybe nowadays users expect something like: 1. Friend: You really _______, haven't you? How do you think you're going to pass the exam next week? 2. Bob: You shouldn't have ______ money. Now you need to fix your car, where's the money going to come from? But we all know what to waste time / money means. We've either experienced it ourselves, or recognized that failing in others.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 14, 2016 at 11:05
  • Ok, I am sorry! It was my first or second question here and I still have problem with links. I wonder why nobody complained first helping me understand how to improve my question but just put a hold.
    – user 66974
    Feb 14, 2016 at 11:31
  • 2
    The question is "on hold" which means the OP (yourself) can improve the post, five votes from the community is required before a question is open, there are now FOUR, which suggests a number of users disagree with the "put on hold" reason. Stick with it, the post's going to be reopened pretty soon. Good luck! EDIT: to communicate a user place the @before their username. You are the author of this post so you will always be notified if someone answers or comments on your post. Whereas I checked this post and saw your comment. There was no notification in my inbox.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 14, 2016 at 13:27
  • @Mari-LouA - thanks, the question is back to normal, should I delete this question now?
    – user 66974
    Feb 14, 2016 at 13:54
  • 1
    I'd leave it, if I were you. It's on topic for meta.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 14, 2016 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Although your idiom request was quite clear, your meta question is of interest regarding ELU questions more generally.

This answer just addresses the issue of adding sample sentences, but the principle behind other requirements (e.g. show your research) is similar:

Good answers often take a lot more time and effort to produce than it took to ask the question.

It is therefore only fair that the crafting of questions is held to a high standard.

On this site (ELU), a guess at (or statement of) the requested word or idiom on its own is often considered insufficient as an answer to questions tagged single-word-requests, idiom-requests and the like. Dictionary entries, arguments for and against, Ngram links, or references to other accepted authorities are par for the course. This is also the case more generally - answers are expected to be backed up by research or logic.

After going to the trouble of finding a word or idiom to satisfy the request, it's a little disheartening when the OP (original poster) rejects it because that's not quite what I had in mind. Consider Mari-Lou's two examples in the comments to the question:

  1. Friend: You really _______, haven't you? How do you think you're going to pass the exam next week?
  2. Bob: You shouldn't have ______ money. Now you need to fix your car, where's the money going to come from?

The phrase ran your well dry (adapted from K1eran's answer to your idiom request) fits the first but is clumsy in the second. On the other hand, the past tense squandered of matt's single-word answer fits the second but not the first.

Adding a sample sentence means that those who answer can simply drop their answers into the blanks to check if they fit, and avoid the research if they don't. The answers tend therefore to be more satisfying to the OP, or else easily down-voted since the OP's intent is clear.

A clear question, an answer that clearly answers the question, community support for the answer by up-votes, and the green tick of approval all help the broader community and contribute toward the fundamental goal of all Stack Exchange sites: "We build libraries of high-quality questions and answers". When a visitor searches for the same question and lands on yours, all these factors contribute to helping them decide whether the answer is useful for them.

And it all starts with clarity in the question.

  • 2
    Good answers often take significantly more time to answer than they do to ask. I think there is a typo in there somewhere, but I don't know where. Did you mean bad questions often take more time to answer than they do to ask, or good questions often take more time to ask than they do to answer? Either of those seems correct and consistent with (the tenor of) your answer. Feb 16, 2016 at 18:01
  • @Cerberus Thanks for your comment, though I don't see a typo. I'm making no claim about bad answers, just that good answers are time-consuming to create, whereas questions can be flippantly tossed out. I hope I'm not giving the opposite impression with the rest of my answer. For example, if I asked, "Why are sentences with severe ellipsis still understandable?", consider how much time would be needed to construct a good answer.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 16, 2016 at 23:42
  • @Cerberus Thinking about this some more, I suppose the tricky part is ask*[ing] *answers. I could replace the word "ask" with "solicit", but it detracts from the effect of the statement. I might ask for suggestions on the main site as a single-word-request :) once I finish with LucidityofPower's "all there is are idiolects" question.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 17, 2016 at 1:52
  • 1
    Then I'm afraid I don't follow you...how can you ask an answer, and how is it different from asking a question? Feb 17, 2016 at 6:33
  • @Cerberus What I meant by my previous comment was that I agree asking answers was poorly phrased. Have a look at the new phrasing - is it easier to follow? I'm trying to say that answering is often harder than asking, hence the high bar ELU / SE sets on question quality. Also, if this wasn't what you got from the rest of my post initially, I'd like to know how it came across to you.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 17, 2016 at 7:01
  • 1
    Ah, this new phrasing is perfectly clear. That is also how I understood your answer here. It was just that one sentence that seemed...paradoxical. Feb 17, 2016 at 16:23

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