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87 votes
3 answers
1k views

This is not a site for "serious English language enthusiasts," and it never will be

I think it's time that we addressed the conceit that ELU is a site for "linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts." Its framers and many of its devotees intend for it to be ...
phenry's user avatar
  • 18.3k
85 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is Python a snake or a programming language? If the latter, why is it choking my dog?

We've been getting a rash of questions asking, essentially, what a programmer should name methods or properties. One such was a request for a word that meant both "add" and "remove" because the ...
Robusto's user avatar
  • 152k
57 votes
4 answers
4k views

Single word requests, crosswords, and the fight against mediocrity

A call to action This topic has been brought up here numerous times before, most recently by JSBangs: I'm now of the opinion that single word requests should be either disallowed entirely or subject ...
Shog9's user avatar
  • 381
26 votes
18 answers
1k views

What questions are on-topic and off-topic here?

One of the essential components of the FAQ will be the list of on-topic and off-topic subjects for questions. Let’s use this question to vote on what topics should be on and off topic.
25 votes
1 answer
311 views

Can we add English Language Learners to the "belongs on another SE site" list? (When will ELL move out of beta?)

For close votes, we are provided a number of reasons. One reason, in particular, is for being off-topic because it belongs on a different Stack Exchange network, takes you to a list view of related ...
TylerH's user avatar
  • 1,330
23 votes
1 answer
648 views

How to deal with homework questions

What is the community's stance on people asking homework questions on the site? There was a recent question that got me thinking about the issue; this question seems like a blatant copy & paste ...
pkaeding's user avatar
  • 1,747
20 votes
2 answers
454 views

A simple proposal towards improving question quality

Encouraging Better Questions I would like to encourage the asking of better, more substantial questions. Every day we receive many brief, low-quality questions that are unlikely to elicit anything ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 136k
15 votes
3 answers
505 views

Are Old and Middle English questions really on-topic?

I asked a question recently (Send, sent; end, *ent?), which hasn’t yet received a straight answer. It leads me to wonder if questions about Old and Middle English are actually on-topic for this site; ...
Jon Purdy's user avatar
  • 32.5k
15 votes
1 answer
575 views

Why did "slang for breasts" disappear because that was a valid question, no?

I don't have the text anymore (caching) so I can't quote it, but I know that the commentary already had some discussion from site-mods saying that it was acceptable, and quoting meta questions here. ...
jcolebrand's user avatar
  • 2,525
14 votes
4 answers
370 views

This is not a site for peeving

I'm really concerned about this question, and others like it that may appear: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/1441/the-most-annoying-misuse-of-word-or-phrase The purpose of this site is ...
JSBձոգչ's user avatar
  • 54.9k
13 votes
3 answers
187 views

Can we come up with guidelines for "good" dictionary questions?

This subject came up in the town hall chat: how basic is too basic, and more importantly, how do we help users to write questions that are not too basic? "Find in dictionary" questions ...
Marthaª's user avatar
  • 32.9k
12 votes
1 answer
247 views

Can an ELL question be reposted on ELU, and vice versa?

Suppose that I had asked about the fundaments/rudiments of a topic on ELL, but in order to seek a deeper understanding or delve into the simple matter, could the same question be reposted on ELU (with ...
user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
149 views

What standards do we want when asking for differences between the meanings of words?

I have noticed a significant number of questions worded as: What is the difference between [first word] and [other word]? Some of differences are really interesting distinctions that stimulate ...
MrHen's user avatar
  • 35.8k
12 votes
5 answers
311 views

Bad questions can lead to good answers

Many people at ELU seem to view the relationship between seekers and givers of knowledge as being essentially transactional in nature: the job of the questioner is to state his or her question simply ...
phenry's user avatar
  • 18.3k
11 votes
4 answers
221 views

How does/should English.SE regard Linguistics.SE?

Have noticed lately more and more folks are suggesting users commit to linguistics and wait to put their answers there. Is it really a good idea to hold those questions off for quality reasons? Just ...
That Realtor Programmer Guy's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
477 views

Accent identification questions

There have been a few questions of late asking for help identifying accents of TV and movie characters. This one about Downton Abbey got 7 upvotes and 0 downvotes, but was closed as "too localized". ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
324 views

Are single word requests always welcomed questions?

Are there any cases where a single word request is not welcomed on EL&U? The FAQ clearly states that users should ask "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems." In which cases ...
apaderno's user avatar
  • 59.3k
9 votes
4 answers
121 views

Are we okay with polls, "List of X" questions and discussions?

Title says it all, really. Users on every SE site since and including SO want to post fun polls, "best of" lists, "how to" lists and discussions about sometimes-only-tangentially-related topics. And ...
Pops's user avatar
  • 5,985
9 votes
2 answers
140 views

Using EL&U SE as writing help for other SE sites?

Occasionally in working on other SE sites I come across a word usage or phrase I am unfamiliar with. Before I've always gone with my "best guess" as to what the correct phrasing should be and edited ...
C. Ross's user avatar
  • 1,433
9 votes
3 answers
146 views

How can I improve a question?

I recently asked a question here that seemed to fit the site, so I was surprised when I saw that it was quickly downvoted. Questions relating to spelling and punctuation are clearly encouraged in the ...
derekerdmann's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
223 views

Helping this user read a (somewhat technical) book

Over the past three days, the new user yorgun has asked 10 questions, all seeming to be asking for clarification on various excerpts from the same book, Diplomacy, A Very Short Introduction by Joseph ...
cobaltduck's user avatar
  • 12.9k
8 votes
2 answers
330 views

Can I ask the community to help me find errors in a text/sentence?

Basically my question is related to the following question: Should we correct (or point out) language errors in questions? English is not my mother tongue and mostly i make mistakes in writing which ...
user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
216 views

Are questions about style guides appropriate?

Over on What manual of style should I use for technical writing for US Federal Government documents?, I posted the following comment: Interesting question, but this is really about government work, ...
Pops's user avatar
  • 5,985
8 votes
3 answers
282 views

Would questions seeking native Anglo-Saxon equivalents to English terms borrowed from foreign languages be on-topic?

In a recent question, the OP wanted to know why English would borrow a foreign word like kudos from Greek when we already had two perfectly good English words, honour and glory. I wanted to point out ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 7,764
8 votes
2 answers
98 views

How to get my question off hold

I recently asked a question here: What are the distinctions between property, quality, attribute, characteristic, feature, aspect and trait? It was shut down for being to broad. It seems my only ...
Moss's user avatar
  • 384
7 votes
4 answers
1k views

Questions about prepositions

We have had a lot of "which preposition goes here" questions. These are by their nature very specific and localized, and are also not usually particularly interesting. I think we need some more ...
Kit Z. Fox's user avatar
  • 27.9k
7 votes
2 answers
119 views

Is english.stackexchange.com the right place to ask about how English is used (or abused) in legal documents?

Is english.stackexchange.com the right place to ask about how English is used (or abused) in legal documents? I'm still trying to wrap my head around how some "and" and "or" are sometimes used with ...
Ants's user avatar
  • 659
7 votes
0 answers
97 views

Something to keep your eye on: Question Wizard

So the “Help new users ask better questions” Wizard has been in the works on SO for a long time. It has officially entered the testing phase. Worth keeping an eye on. If it works there, I’d imagine ...
Dan Bron's user avatar
  • 28.4k
6 votes
1 answer
155 views

Judicial Review for Special Reference Question

Comments on answers to a recent question raised issues of historical usage and appealed to OED 1. I have determined that with respect to two of its citations OED 1 is mistaken; but before proceeding I ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
171 views

What is the difference between these two questions?

Here are two questions, both about adjectives being used as adverbs: Slow vs slowly Easy vs easily. The former was asked in September, got one answer quickly and another in December (neither ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 2,449
6 votes
1 answer
92 views

Can I bring that question over here?

I have this naming / terminology question which I first posted on "Code Review" and then it was moved to "Programmers" and then it was closed. Would it be appropriate for "English", after some ...
Mike Nakis's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
282 views

Are questions about online resources on-topic?

Sometimes, questions about English (online) resources are being asked. Are those questions on-topic for EL&U? If they are on-topic, aren't they at least subjective? These are examples of ...
apaderno's user avatar
  • 59.3k
5 votes
3 answers
341 views

Is the usage of the word "Bumbler" on-topic?

I want to ask a question about the usage of the English word "Bumbler". The online dictionary Oxford only provides the definition of bumble, so does Webster. The word bumbler is hot in Taiwan ...
Nobody's user avatar
  • 101
5 votes
3 answers
110 views

When can two questions be in the same question?

What do “socially imposed judgments” and “Keyboard, face, keyboard, face.” mean? The differing opinion here seems to revolve around the idea that the two questions are coming from the same source. ...
MrHen's user avatar
  • 35.8k
5 votes
2 answers
259 views

Is this the type of single-word request question we should be closing?

I understand that the site is now discouraging single-word requests, but I'm not clear if this is a sweeping guideline (as in, all of them should be closed) or something to be considered on a case-by-...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
78 views

Where would I ask about typographic usage?

As this forum is for English usage, I am wondering if that would cover punctuation and typographic usage questions, such as "when is it appropriate to use an en dash versus an em dash?" Or "how widely ...
justin's user avatar
  • 302
5 votes
1 answer
778 views

Literature is closing — what questions should we migrate here? [closed]

Our sister site Literature Stack Exchange is shutting down on May 4th due to a lack of activity. (So are Astronomy, Economics, Firearms, Healthcare IT and Theoretical Physics.) There may be some ...
Hugo's user avatar
  • 67.7k
4 votes
4 answers
166 views

Are tip of the tongue questions completely unsuitable here?

Are tip of the tongue questions completely unsuitable here? e.g. I think there's a verb that cashes out "sanatorium", i.e. means to rest at a sanatorium. May I ask what that is, assuming I have gone ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
268 views

Is posting a word game accepted?

Can I post word games (as community wiki) on this site? It will improve vocabulary. I would like an answer from a moderator.
chanchal1987's user avatar
  • 1,886
4 votes
4 answers
313 views

The "bare/bear with me" question: what should we do with it?

Is it "bear" or "bare" with me? There's been a lot of discussion on Meta in the comments about this question recently, but it's actually not the main topic of any of the recent ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 82.7k
4 votes
1 answer
264 views

Is it OK to ask about Early Modern English? [duplicate]

Is it OK to ask about Early Modern English, like Shakespeare's or Milton's? I ask this because some people seem to think asking about them is off-topic.
ivanhoescott's user avatar
  • 1,511
4 votes
2 answers
169 views

Why was this question on usage migrated to ELL?

I asked a question about the usage of a particular phrase: In what regions or countries would this usage be considered correct, and where would it be considered incorrect? I attempted to word the ...
randomhead's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
210 views

Asking essentially a duplicate question if one considers the original wasn't answered satisfactorily

Is not liking the answer given for an existing question a reason enough to ask a duplicate/similar question? Ironically, kiamlaluno did not receive an answer on asking this.
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
218 views

Question Moved Without Comment

I put a question to this forum recently and am surprised to log in today to see it moved to a non-English language speakers forum. Here is the question: https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/10186/...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
142 views

When does a question about what a person meant becomes a "try to guess" game?

I am taking https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/47422/what-does-this-guy-mean-when-he-says-big-m as example, but the question is general to any similar question. The user is asking the ...
apaderno's user avatar
  • 59.3k
4 votes
1 answer
138 views

Are questions asking about the structure of sentences too broad?

I recently asked this question: Parts of speech and functions: "Bob made a book collector happy the other day" The question asks for the structure of the sentence: Bob made a book ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
140 views

Language-agnostic linguistics questions

Is EL&U the right place to ask linguistic questions that do not pertain to any specific language? E.g. questions on grammar that is shared by most every language.
user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
80 views

On Migrating and Dispatching: redirecting off-topic question from and to EL&U.

Following the recent complaints concerning the growth of the Stack Exchange Family and where to ask questions, I think it would make sense to help the users and moderators to find the right place for ...
Eldroß's user avatar
  • 4,057
4 votes
1 answer
145 views

Is this a simple definition question or something for linguists in general?

I like this question asking "What is a noun-modifying clause?", but I cannot decide (probably due to my lack of knowledge of linguistics) if this is a simple definition question, or a question that ...
Matt E. Эллен's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
144 views

is english.stackexchange normative or creative?

is english.stackexchange normative or creative? as with anything that evolves, english improves through a creative process that introduces new features and remains cohesive through a normative ...
teldon james turner's user avatar