Questions tagged [on-topic-off-topic]

This tag is used for questions about whether something fits within the defined scope of this Stack Exchange site.

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105
votes
12answers
79k views

What good reference works on English are available?

Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. What good reference works on English are available, and what kinds of questions are they good at answering? General ...
83
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3answers
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 ...
77
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
33
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11answers
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 ...
24
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18answers
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.
22
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5answers
1k views

Are questions about ununderstood English-language jokes on-topic?

In a song video made by an American acquaintance, there is a joke that I don't understand. I am not a native speaker, and I guess most English speakers would understand what makes his joke funny. Is ...
21
votes
10answers
1k views

Can anything be done about mean-spirited requests for terminology?

tl;dr: Mean people suck, and we should not help them. EDIT: I don’t actually believe anything mechanical can be done here, and I certainly don’t expect a “closed due to meanness” reason. That’s just ...
21
votes
2answers
382 views

Please help define the limits of General Reference

As mentioned here, the General Reference close reason is dead. In its place, I've added a custom "off-topic" option: Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic....
21
votes
1answer
286 views

Jaded user meets new contributor…

The jaded user is myself. The new contributor is (was) Replica Foxtrot who posted this question What does the phrase 'Putting the Spring' mean? I am reading the book about the Simpsons and I ...
19
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12answers
998 views

Are minor jokes in answers and questions OK when they are slightly discriminating against certain groups?

Consider this answer: What is the pejorative for people who only practice their faith while at the place of worship? Whited sepulchres. This is what they are called in that noted work of ...
16
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5answers
572 views

I am worried about being off-topic

Today is the second time I had an "English Language" question and visited this forum based on the result of a Google Internet search using a query such as: "proper use of the word _______" Both ...
16
votes
1answer
298 views

Are all questions about the reason a word is spelled/pronounced the way it is duplicates of one another?

As a hypothetical example, should we close Why are "put" and "but" different in their pronunciation? as a duplicate of Why is "chore" pronounced differently from the &...
15
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3answers
540 views

Where do we stand on legalese questions?

Recently there have been a lot of questions about legalese. Here are a couple of examples: What’s the difference between “cite” and “cite to”? https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/185890/what-...
15
votes
2answers
275 views

Do questions about emoticons belong on ELU?

A question was published recently in which the OP asked about the proper style for usage of emoji, which as it turned out I guess he meant emoticons since he was talking about using punctuation marks. ...
15
votes
3answers
409 views

Are interpretations of song lyrics, poems or other creative works on-topic?

Examples (feel free to edit in more): What/who are “toy soldiers”? What do these confusing lyrics mean? What's the deep meaning in the lyrics of “Heavy Traffic” by Elton John? Some questions about ...
15
votes
4answers
250 views

Are typography questions on-topic or off-topic?

Before adding a votable answer to the on-topic-off-topic question I figured some discussion would be appropriate. Are typography questions on-topic or off-topic? Why there's a difference between the ...
14
votes
5answers
319 views

Continued recommendations that things be moved to ELL

I've seen a number of questions (including one of mine) receive comments along the lines of "this would be a more appropriate question for the English Language Learners (ELL) site". While I understand ...
14
votes
2answers
273 views

Would this question have been off-topic here?

I just posted a question about English etymology in Linguistics SE. I was contemplating whether to post it here, but decided against it. Could I have posted it here, or would it have been off-topic?
14
votes
1answer
213 views

Are questions about the use of italics in English off-topic?

Recently, this question was put on hold: Why is "their" italicized? I'm wondering, why it is considered out of scope? If it's considered to be too close to "analysis of literature," that ...
13
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4answers
411 views

Should Scots language questions be considered in the English language community?

I stumbled across the question What is the meaning of “Many a mickle maks a muckle”? which is a question about a Scots language proverb. The thought occurred to me that although the Scots language is ...
13
votes
5answers
456 views

Are requests for arbitrary lines from novels on-topic?

Am I the only one to be very disturbed by the re-opening of the 'What is the exact wordings for "There is a single stupid question in the world … " in Stephen King's "Under the Dome"?' question? ... '...
13
votes
3answers
183 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
262 views

What is the point of migrating all resource requests to Meta?

There are a couple of resource requests that were recently migrated to ELU Meta (e.g Is there an online speech comparison programme, What are some good and authoritative reference/data source for ...
13
votes
5answers
419 views

How to save EL&U

I think one way to massively improve this site would be to start a new Stack Exchange site called something like English Phrase Finder or Word finder or something like that where single word requests, ...
13
votes
2answers
315 views

Is there anything we can do to get fewer off-topic questions?

Having read Josh61’s considerations about “Thanks for not laughing at my question”, I stopped to ponder. There are days, and I think you all agree, when only 10 to 20% of the questions we get deserve ...
12
votes
4answers
435 views

Exactly WHY is this question Off Topic? Or not?

My instinct is to assume Help me understand the pronounced phrase? must be Off Topic (it's about a movie clip where the OP can't discern what's being said at a certain point). If it's On Topic, what'...
12
votes
2answers
367 views

Why is my alliteration question off topic and put on hold?

I have a question about my English Language & Usage Stack Exchange post: Is alliteration adjacent words and/or close together words starting with the same letter? If words between are permitted ...
12
votes
2answers
211 views

Are these OED questions on-topic here?

One of our high rep users has recently asked several questions based around the OED's "public appeal for help in tracing the history of some English words." Though EL&U is an appropriate site for ...
12
votes
1answer
210 views

Are there any topics that are off limits in answers/comments?

I've noticed lately that a lot of people are taking every opportunity they have to take a negative topic and reference the newest US President, Donald Trump. Not that I'm trying to get people to ...
12
votes
2answers
270 views

What sort of resource request questions do we accept on meta?

We often migrate resource request questions to meta, and there's no denying that some resources are very useful to the users of this community. Here's my attempt at broadly categorising these ...
12
votes
0answers
115 views

Update the “list of community recommended resources”

Quoting from the help center: Where can I find answers to simple and basic questions? If your question is simple and can probably be easily answered by looking it up, then you may find ...
11
votes
3answers
245 views

Are questions of language *usage* discouraged

I was reading this question about usage of abbreviations and nicknames/abbreviations in a newspaper article, and noticed that the question earned a couple of downvotes, as well as two comments (to the ...
10
votes
3answers
260 views

Are word requests allowed?

Is it okay to use this site to ask for words that fit a given definition? Dictionaries are great for looking up definitions if you know the word you're looking up, but not the other way around. I'm ...
10
votes
1answer
187 views

Please don't migrate “help me draw a syntax tree” questions

Recently, this question was migrated from EL&U to Linguistics.SE: https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/27845/syntactic-trees However, this type of question is expressly disallowed by ...
9
votes
9answers
589 views

Is this site for “English as a second language”?

I'd like to seek clarification on "English as a second language" questions. E.g. https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/376/ia-suffix-nouns-for-disorders-and-diseases When should the word “...
9
votes
3answers
232 views

What is the point of the Microsoft-Word tag?

I noticed recently that a question used the tag microsoft-word. Since this question was about the usage of a specific program, it was moved to Super User to which it is much better suited. There ...
8
votes
1answer
174 views

Posting questions from “How English Works” and proposing answers

I am studying English and one of my old friends recommended that I study "How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction" by Curzan and Adam This book is an amazing book but the questions are not ...
8
votes
2answers
149 views

No communication regarding wrongly-closed question?

I asked the question "What word for "tomorrow can I use that is not connected with the idea of the rising sun?". It collected a bit of controversy (which was not my intent) and the question was put on ...
7
votes
1answer
122 views

Are we here to do homework questions? [duplicate]

This question here: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/305999/reserved-or-ashamed The 1 rep OP asks a clearly-a-homework-question. I have a sentence:" As a(n) .... girl, she found it ...
7
votes
3answers
152 views

Closing on-topic questions as duplicates of questions closed as off-topic

Regarding this question, I believe duping it to a question that was closed as off-topic is a bit disingenuous. I believe there was general consensus the question itself was on-topic. Is this really ...
7
votes
2answers
237 views

Questions asking for technical terms/jargon

I just flagged this question as (potentially) off-topic, and I have flagged other questions like this in the past, but I am not sure if I am right to do so. It seems to me that the correct answer ...
7
votes
3answers
159 views

Are “Book recommendations” allowed?

I see some questions from time to time which ask about book recommendations. I could not find anything related to the book term on the faq page. Is it allowed or should it be allowed? Some examples I ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

To what extent is analyzing poetry or verse off-topic?

I've seen comments on a few posts indicating that song lyrics are off topic. I have no beef with that rule. However, is asking for an analysis of specific lines or portions of poetry always off-topic ...
7
votes
2answers
105 views

Naming vs. Single word requests

It seems that naming is off-topic and single words requests are on-topic on this site. How do I identify whether I'm asking a naming question or I have a single word request?
7
votes
1answer
172 views

If every answer is improper, doesn't that suggest standards are wrong or moderator is wrong?

I refer to this question (now on hold) and the moderator's repeated observation that the answers, and question, are opinion-based. Isn't the issue that synonyms (like translation questions) are going ...
7
votes
2answers
93 views

Would a question asking for English terms used to designate some aspects of the Spanish language be on topic here?

In a question in Spanish Language someone is asking what are the English terms used to designate the Spanish verb tenses. Some people (myself included) have closed the question as off-topic, because ...
7
votes
3answers
239 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
165 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
170 views

Is asking a question about the politeness of a phrase on-topic?

I'm looking at the FAQs and I'm trying to see if this has already been answered...Can't find it anywhere. Is asking if a phrase is polite on topic? Wouldn't subjects like this be too subjective to ...
7
votes
0answers
115 views

Please consider reopening my question

My question is closed as off-topic. First, my question is not so elementary. It is not about the usual use of past perfect as in When I came up with the idea of climbing all the statues taller ...