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The question you're asking is designed to solicit opinions or best-practices on a particular topic, with the goal of reaching community consensus.

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107 votes
3 answers
2k views

A friendly reminder: ELL is not EL&U's trash can

We've been getting a lot of migrations to ELL lately. That's actually fine by me – I think a lot of them are okay on ELL, even if they're not suitable for EL&U. The two sites have different ...
user avatar
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
84 votes
4 answers
1k views

Nobody cares how YOU pronounce it

I'll come right out and admit it: I'm a pretty self-absorbed person, and I sometimes have a hard time remembering that not everything is always about me. To this day I believe deep in the core of my ...
phenry's user avatar
  • 18.3k
70 votes
1 answer
4k views

What is the difference between ELU and ELL?

Someone has suggested that a question of mine should be migrated to the ELL site. Why are there two Q&A sites for the English language? What can I ask on each site? Note: ELU refers to English ...
Digerkam's user avatar
  • 173
65 votes
4 answers
764 views

Why I'm absent for a little while

Over the last few months, I have been going through the process of being diagnosed with cancer. The English mod team, SE community moderators, and mods from other sites have been very supportive and ...
Kit Z. Fox's user avatar
  • 27.9k
62 votes
6 answers
3k views

How reliable is Google Ngram?

Ngram seems to be more authoritative than the Periodic Table here on EL&U. As someone with more than a passing interest in the language, I wanted to know how good Ngram is. And on Wikipedia, of ...
frank's user avatar
  • 1,251
62 votes
2 answers
861 views

Basic questions are not so basic

It has come up in other threads that we have a lot of "basic" or "lowest common denominator" questions. However, a few myths about this need to be put to rest. First, we do have a general reference ...
JSBձոգչ's user avatar
  • 54.9k
61 votes
7 answers
4k views

Word for disrespecting eldest half-sister by referring to her husband as girly-girl-manly-boy though he's amused but the rest of the family isn't?

Are these single word requests getting out of hand, or am I just still too new to this site to recognize a long-standing problem and standard ways of dealing with them? I thought that by using ...
anongoodnurse's user avatar
58 votes
6 answers
5k views

Should we allow Google NGrams to be presented as statistical evidence without qualification? Should we define a set of standards for their usage?

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." — Benjamin Disraeli, attr. by Mark Twain "If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything." — ...
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
56 votes
2 answers
1k views

CyberBullying on SE

For the past few weeks I have been receiving many comments from the user Rathony. The pattern goes like this: 1) I make a comment on someone's answer, or I post my own answer 2) Within minutes, a ...
michael_timofeev's user avatar
54 votes
1 answer
4k views

List of common abbreviations and acronyms (NOAD, ESL, PIE...)

Abbreviations are always a potential source of confusion. Some people might happen to know what OED stands for, and can figure out what NOAD must mean, but others may not be so lucky. Googling for PIE ...
53 votes
8 answers
2k views

Referencing the existence of words that may be offensive

I left a comment on this answer in which I made a reference to a word that many people find offensive (although I didn’t use or even mention the word itself). I referenced the word because it was an ...
nohat's user avatar
  • 68.6k
53 votes
7 answers
843 views

Bring back the Summer of Love (aka Make new users feel more welcome)

I'm a big fan of SE sites and spend an awful lot of time on StackOverflow. When I saw an English Language site, I pointed a few of my friends and family this way (one of whom is an English professor ...
Basic's user avatar
  • 175
53 votes
2 answers
1k views

Support for Monica Cellio

Monica Cellio, an active and valued member here for years and a moderator on several other sites, was abruptly dismissed last month, without any reason given but apparently because Stack Overflow (the ...
Tim Lymington's user avatar
49 votes
9 answers
979 views

Google is not General Reference

The description for the "General Reference" close reason states, This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference ...
Marthaª's user avatar
  • 32.9k
48 votes
9 answers
1k views

How to guarantee getting downvotes without explanation

There has been significant interest in this topic, as shown by the number of related questions. Since new users come along regularly (such as myself), I don't think it's useless to review the downvote....
anongoodnurse's user avatar
48 votes
7 answers
1k views

Warn people of the rules for [Single-Word-Requests] before posting

As everyone probably knows, very few people actually follow the main rule of single-word-requests: YOU MUST INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE Thus we have many low-quality questions, many of which get ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 66.6k
47 votes
1 answer
1k views

Thank you, Professor Lawler and Rest in Peace!

I am saddened to announce the passing of John Lawler on Saturday November 25. Many of us here were friends with him, and countless more helped by his answers. For those of you who aren't familiar with ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 66.6k
45 votes
44 answers
2k views

"Oh The Horror" Hat Club 2013

41 people join in. Each person upvotes every answer, other than theirs, to this question. Once we have 41 answers and votes, I will systematically accept each answer in turn. 41 people get the "Oh ...
45 votes
6 answers
775 views

Is the EL&U community overzealous about closing/down-voting questions?

I'm fairly new to the stackexchange network, but I participate quite a bit on stackoverflow. I've used a few others (like this one) for one or two questions. And I have to say, EL&U feels ...
ThinkingStiff's user avatar
43 votes
8 answers
1k views

Is it easy to spot an educated non-native speaker on a website like this?

There are native and non-native speakers on this website. I can identify some native speakers (mostly by certain colloquialisms) and some non-native speakers (by small deviations from idiom and the ...
Cerberus - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
42 votes
9 answers
723 views

Should we have a migration path to ELL?

I know that this has been discussed before but, at the time, it was not possible since ELL was still in beta. Now that it has graduated and has had its first mod elections and everything, it might be ...
terdon's user avatar
  • 21.9k
42 votes
4 answers
8k views

Announcement: AI generated answers are officially banned here

It's really quite unbelievable, but artificial intelligence has recently gotten to the point where, given a question, it can give a stunningly coherent answer almost indistinguishable from a real ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 66.6k
42 votes
2 answers
393 views

Dealing with spam

With our recent spate of spam, a few reminders on how best to deal with it: First and foremost, please flag as spam. That's the first option when you open up the spam dialog, and that will delete the ...
waiwai933's user avatar
  • 14.6k
37 votes
11 answers
4k views

Against single word requests

We've discussed single-word-requests before: Are single word requests always welcomed questions? Are word requests allowed? The consensus of earlier discussions was that these questions are on the ...
JSBձոգչ's user avatar
  • 54.9k
37 votes
8 answers
647 views

2014 Community Moderator Election Results

English Language & Usage's 3rd moderator election has come to a close, the votes have been tallied, and the 3 new moderators are: They'll be joining the existing crew shortly — please thank ...
Shog9's user avatar
  • 381
36 votes
6 answers
966 views

So, are non-native speakers not welcome any more?

If I may, I would like to share some of my feelings about this website with you. I used to think of english.stackexchange as a welcoming place for educated people from all around the world who are ...
escargot agile's user avatar
36 votes
3 answers
1k views

erm... I lost 2,134 in reputation

Yes, I know. When a user is removed, or they delete their accounts their upvotes and downvotes are removed. But tonight I lost 2,134 rep. That's a lot. Seriously. This is no laughing matter. I just ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 91.5k
35 votes
2 answers
468 views

2016 Community Moderator Election Results

English Language & Usage's fourth moderator election has come to a close, the votes have been tallied, and the 2 new moderators are: They'll be joining the existing crew shortly — please thank ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
35 votes
7 answers
784 views

"This question appears to be off topic because it is better asked on ELL."

A bit of background before I begin: I am a moderator on ELL, and I admit to not being entirely familiar with what is and isn't on-topic here on ELU. I am posting this discussion because I see a trend ...
WendiKidd's user avatar
  • 1,249
34 votes
6 answers
764 views

What kind of questions ARE we looking for here?

I've been lurking on ELU for around six months now, and in my time here, I've seen many, many questions being closed due to being off-topic. More than any other SE site. I've browsed the meta for ...
Chase Sandmann's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
1k views

What the f*** just happened?

I just logged on and found that, no doubt for my convenience, everything on the ELU page was now in a different place. I'm sure that someone would like to take responsibility for this putative ...
John Lawler's user avatar
34 votes
6 answers
7k views

EL&U Blog, the reboot

We have a blog. We've had it for a while. You should take a look, there is some great content. I'll wait here while you read it... Good, no? This is a call for regular contributors. You don't have to ...
Matt E. Эллен's user avatar
34 votes
2 answers
2k views

How accurate is Google Ngram as a language reference source?

This may be a stupid question to ask, and maybe I will be chastised for not doing the research myself, but recently I have been having doubts on the validity of Ngram charts. Let me explain where my ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 91.5k
33 votes
7 answers
810 views

Is EL&U becoming ESL?

Maybe it's just me, but I get the feeling we are seeing an increasing number of English language learner questions. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but is it what we really want? Aren't we going ...
Benjol's user avatar
  • 4,729
33 votes
6 answers
3k views

Strong community support for a bad answer; why?

I recently joined English Language & Usage because I enjoy the topic of English language and have (so far) had positive experiences at other Stack Exchange websites. I also wanted to comment on ...
quant's user avatar
  • 457
33 votes
5 answers
756 views

Has anyone thought about changing the name of this site?

Wouldn't "Advanced English Language & Usage" be more appropriate and cut down the ELL questions? Just by the name of the site the users who post "ELL" are right. I believe this site poorly named....
RyeɃreḁd's user avatar
  • 16.9k
33 votes
0 answers
678 views

Measuring typographical emphasis: the “lawler” and “lawler weight”

RegDwighт said: @Robusto wow, that's formatting to the max. Bold and italics and monospaced and in quotes. John has outlawlered himself.¹ It occurs to me that this is something we can measure. I ...
MetaEd's user avatar
  • 28.5k
31 votes
10 answers
1k views

Answers in comments

There are quite a large number of Meta.ELU questions about answers in comments, but none which definitively settles community opinion, mainly because they are rather old now, but also because they don'...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
  • 102k
31 votes
4 answers
571 views

Proposal for selective blacklisting

Enabling selective notifications on ELU Other busy sites like Stack Overflow have pop-up notifications that trigger on various titles and tags, but we do not. For example, this is an outright ban when ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 136k
31 votes
9 answers
707 views

English Site Design

Hi all, I am Jin. I'm the designer who works on the design and CSS conversion for the Stack Exchange sites as they graduate from the beta phase. I'm very excited about the design for the English ...
Jin's user avatar
  • 1,333
31 votes
1 answer
528 views

New close reason: include the research

After reviewing several Meta posts and related commentary, the moderator team has replaced one of the custom close reasons on the site. The General Reference close reason has been replaced by: ...
Kit Z. Fox's user avatar
  • 27.9k
30 votes
6 answers
1k views

Why are answers being posted in the comments on the question?

For example: Etymology of "to coin a phrase" I have seen this several times on this site, and it seems to be a departure from how things are done on other sites in the SE network and how ...
Charles W's user avatar
  • 1,393
30 votes
9 answers
1k views

What should we do about users circumventing suspensions?

You may be aware that a certain user on EL&U has been suspended for voting abuse and that this user has repeatedly circumvented his/her suspension and continued to ask questions. In addition, this ...
waiwai933's user avatar
  • 14.6k
30 votes
9 answers
794 views

Is http://englishqna.blogspot.com violating EL&U (or YOUR) copyright?

The site http://englishqna.blogspot.com seems to be reposting all our questions and answers. Now, I understand that the data is under a permissive license, but the attribution requirements don't seem ...
Mr. Shiny and New 安宇's user avatar
30 votes
5 answers
723 views

Why are most new questions being downvoted?

I was scrolling through the list of newest asked questions and noticed that only 3 out of 15 had non-negative votes for the question. Is this just an anomaly or is the quality of the average question ...
WilliamKF's user avatar
  • 641
30 votes
4 answers
646 views

Should we encourage posting distinct answers separately? (Particularly for [single-word-requests])

In a comment on this [single-word-request] answer, the question was raised: I'm … adding all my ideas to one answer. Is that the right way? Rather than generating many answers and letting each one ...
Dan Bron's user avatar
  • 28.4k
30 votes
3 answers
531 views

A Temporary Tweak to Work Around Abusive Posting Patterns

There have been some rather unsavory things posted almost mechanically as of late, and we're seeing an increase in spam / trolling on a couple of other sites. As we can't rule out that these things ...
Tim Post's user avatar
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