I asked a question yesterday: Is there a list of verbs for starting yes/no questions?
It very quickly gathered 5 close votes and a lot of comments. When I checked it again today it had 4 reopen votes and it let me cast the fifth. So far, it has received 3 upvotes and only one downvote, so it doesn't seem to be a bad question.
The problem I have is that those who voted to close seemed to know the answer, but would not tell me/make it clear what it is.
One comment says:
I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because surely any verb that is used to start an interrogative sentence is likely to give rise to a yes / no response. The wh-words invite other answers.
I've instead close-voted for the reason that this is very basic.
In response to that, another comment says:
It's basic if you study EFL, but it's not basic for a native speaker, because such knowledge is tacit; it is not knowledge that we are able to consciously recall.
As further argument for closing my question is this:
This appears in a question closed as a duplicate
The question linked to has three answers and the question it is marked as a duplicate of has five answers. The questions and answers are only peripherally related to mine, and they don't appear to be duplicates of each other, but merely related.
Barrie England's answer here lists primary auxiliaries, modals and semi-modals.
This question seems very low quality to me and unrelated to my question.
perhaps you need reminding that ELU is aimed at linguists.
I felt like I had been given this response from The Simpsons:
Well, it should be obvious to even the most dimwitted individual, who holds an advanced degree in hyperbolic topology…
So, what's going on here? I don't believe it's the consensus that only linguists should use this site. I've always previously been of the opinion that any well-considered question about English Language and Usage is welcome here, as long as it's not a duplicate and not trivial to find the answer by looking in a dictionary, doing an online search, etc.
After all, the FAQ says:
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.
While I'm not a linguist or an etymologist, I would describe myself as a serious English language enthusiast.
Why do we seem to have two polar opposites here? One group is quick to vote to close my question as off-topic, and the other group is equally quick to reopen it. I find it strange that no-one has yet definitively answered my question if it is so basic. I don't think that my question is off-topic, basic or a duplicate (although I don't always find duplicate questions due to using different terminology).
By, the way all this is a distraction from getting an answer. Ultimately, I don't care what happens to this particular page, and my question remains unanswered, although heavily hinted at. I don't care if my question gets closed, as long as an answer appears somewhere, even just in the comments. The reason I'm bringing my issue to Meta is because it's much more likely to receive an answer if it's not on-hold or closed.
So, is ELU becoming elitist? If I don't live up to other people's lofty expectations, my questions aren't welcome here? Is it acceptable behaviour to withhold the answer but spend time writing long comments if you don't think the question is worthy of ELU? Short of getting a degree in linguistics, what can be done about this?