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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 ...
102
votes
3answers
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 ...
85
votes
4answers
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 ...
83
votes
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 ...
66
votes
4answers
689 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 ...
63
votes
2answers
823 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 ...
61
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
60
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
60
votes
2answers
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 ...
56
votes
6answers
2k views

How reliable is 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 ...
56
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
53
votes
5answers
4k 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." — Ronald Coase For some time now,...
50
votes
8answers
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 ...
50
votes
9answers
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....
50
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
49
votes
9answers
848 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 ...
48
votes
7answers
772 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 ...
44
votes
6answers
735 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 ...
44
votes
2answers
821 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 ...
43
votes
9answers
690 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 ...
43
votes
7answers
862 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 ...
42
votes
2answers
382 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 ...
42
votes
0answers
364 views

Election candidate statistics overlap candidate's user card, plus sprite CSS problem

There is a display problem on the current election page. Information overlaps the "user card" and hurts legibility. Compare (bad):           To better from the current ...
41
votes
4answers
523 views

Eeeek! Where did my giant quotation mark go?

I don't care what @nohat thinks. The world is a bleak and barren place without ornamentation. Less is less. Deal with it.
40
votes
8answers
941 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 ...
38
votes
7answers
730 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 ...
37
votes
8answers
618 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 ...
36
votes
6answers
905 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 ...
36
votes
6answers
734 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 ...
35
votes
2answers
507 views

As a site about EL&U, should we maintain correct grammar, punctuation, etc. throughout the site?

When a user goes to ask a question, the default text in the title bar is this: Should this be changed to reflect the site's intent? In my opinion, this is a place where rules of the English language ...
34
votes
2answers
436 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 ...
34
votes
6answers
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 ...
33
votes
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 ...
32
votes
7answers
790 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 ...
32
votes
4answers
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 ...
32
votes
5answers
687 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....
32
votes
2answers
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 ...
31
votes
9answers
769 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 ...
31
votes
9answers
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 ...
31
votes
5answers
683 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
751 views

Excessive downvoting

I usually hang out at math.SE being among top contributors. I find math.SE a pretty welcoming community, with many newcomers politely steered into a right direction, and given helpful hints/answers. ...
31
votes
2answers
304 views

Blacklist the [words] tag

The tag words has been heavily discouraged since the early days of the site. A few weeks ago I manually retagged every question that used words, and there are currently no questions with that tag, ...
31
votes
3answers
513 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 ...
31
votes
1answer
273 views

Can a placeholder text be added to the question body box?

I posted this suggestion to another post, but thought it would be worth its own separate feature request. Is it already possible to add a placeholder text to the question body box, or would the SE ...
30
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
717 views

What's with all the serial down-voting on the “boobs” question?

The question What is the difference between “tits” and “boobs”? has a number of answers, and a dedicated group of people appears to have gone through and down-voted every answer multiple times. This ...
30
votes
6answers
768 views

Waning gap of acceptable questions

After a couple days of break I revisited EL&U to find about a third of questions on the main page marked [closed]. It appears anything that can be looked up in more or less obscure source (NOT ...
30
votes
4answers
539 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 ...
30
votes
3answers
817 views

Why was there such a negative reaction to this question: “Word for a person from another race?”

Is there a word for "a person from another race"? This question has three down-votes and was closed because "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic"...

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