29

You seem awfully certain that people are asking for these words because they want to use them to hurt others. There are many different reasons why someone might want to learn a particular pejorative word, some negative and some quite positive. You yourself used a lot of negative words when writing this question—disgust, bile, nasty, violence, etc.—and nobody ...


23

While I understand people may feel icky or annoyed that our language has mean things in it, I don't feel that it is our job to tell people where the line between "not that mean" and "too mean" is. We can offer our opinion while answering, certainly, but I don't see a convincing argument that it is any of our business to start making rules ...


20

TL;DR Single-word requests are not the problem, they are just the kind of questions where some problems (in particular lack of guidance) predominantly manifest themselves. Only addressing these problems will lead to actual progress. Some of the criticism described in the question is specific to single-word requests, but it is either not an actual problem ...


19

Many single-word requests would probably find a better home on ELL than on ELU, particularly those questions that are asked by, well, English learners – where the main impetus for asking the question is that the O.P. simply hasn't learned enough English to know the right word to use. That said, to declare that "these questions are no longer on topic&...


19

This particular tag has had a lot of past discussion. The simple answer is that not all single-word-requests are good questions and the bad ones should be downvoted. But people are shy to use downvotes because they hurt and other people just upvote stuff even though the questions are terrible. We used to have a close reason for Too Narrow but I'm not sure ...


19

I'd venture to guess that 90% of the time when a question is tagged single-word-request, the only reason the phrase-request tag isn't added as well is because the questioner doesn't know that such a tag exists. So no, don't downvote a multi-word answer to a single-word-request question just for being multi-word.


17

I know that tag is called single-word-requests, but I think it's a mistake to get hung up on that word. What these types of questions are really asking for is a concise way to express a concept, and a single word —being as concise as you can get— is the ultimate goal; but you can't always reach that goal, and that's OK. That said, some s-w-r questions do ...


17

In the brief time I've been responding to questions on this forum, I've noticed that a great many of the SWRs seem to originate from non-native speakers of English who have a pretty weak command of the language. That's fair enough, but it does suggest to me that a lot of these questions are being asked by people who probably wouldn't feel the need to do so ...


16

For the most part, the first-time posters who submit one-word answers followed by a little filler to meet the minimum character count are not interested in anything more than participating in a quiz-show-format guessing game. They have no sense of what EL&U's standards are or what sort of resource the site is hoping to be—and admittedly single-word ...


16

Per Laurel's request, this is one potential wording. The answer is Community Wiki so please feel free to edit for brevity, clarity, and felicity (but if you fundamentally disagree with the listed requirements it might be better to make a comment or a different answer). Single word request questions must include: A sample sentence demonstrating how ...


15

We already have phrase-requests for users searching for multi-word expressions, so a rename is not in order. The tag single-word-requests really is (supposed to be) about single words, and that should be taken into account when writing an answer to a question with this tag. (Questions may be tagged with both to emphasize that either a single word or a multi-...


14

Sometimes people ask single-word-requests because they expect there's some easy-to-understand, fairly common word that they just don't know yet or have forgotten. Other times they really need a single word. It's super important, for some reason. Sadly, the SWR questions usually don't provide much context or limit the scope of possible answers. Finally, SWR ...


13

tl;dr: Leaving these lying around just encourages others to follow their bad example. We don't want that to happen. Deleting is good for the site. SLAs are NARAs We used to have “Not A Real Question” close reason, sometimes called a NARQ. It seems that now we’re discussing the flip side of that, or NARAs: things posted as answers that are “Not A Real ...


12

Problems with this type of question The StackExchange guidelines are in fact not to allow these types of questions at all, for several of the reasons you've described, summarised in the following statement: After a year I am convinced that guessing game questions do not meet our goal of making the Internet better. Quite the opposite, in fact. Here are some ...


12

It depends. English Language & Usage might be what you are looking for if you are interested in the details and nuance of the language. On the other hand, if you are wondering about how to effectively teach certain concepts or if you are seeking understanding of some of the aspects of the language that frequently confuse non-native speakers, then English ...


12

The message needs to be short and easy enough for less competent speakers to understand To get the best answers, please include the following: A sample sentence showing how the word would be used Provide as much detail and context as you can Tell us which words were discarded after using a thesaurus or a dictionary, and why. If the word you'...


11

One passive approach you can take as an individual is to edit your user preferences to add single-word-requests to your list of tags to ignore. You have the option of either dimming them or hiding them altogether. This can end the annoyance for yourself, though it doesn't solve the issue for the community (if it is indeed an issue regarding the health of ...


11

I don't think the problem is with single word requests; there are good ones and bad ones. And good or bad, they at least provide varied interest as opposed to questions about the difference of have and had. I don't think single-word requests which could easily be answered by a thesaurus are necessarily bad either. There is so much nuance that is not ...


11

I see two problems. (i) Your answer is a list of ideas, suggestions, or opinions, not a definite answer. A Stack Exchange answer answers the question, or at least part of the question, once and for all. If you are unsure what the asker is looking for, first ask for clarification in the comment box on the question. (ii) Your post must be mostly your own ...


10

This is not recent: it has been going on since the beginning, or as long as I remember. Single words no more necessary in English than in most other languages. Although needless wordiness is undesirable, needless compression can be equally bad; and excessive compression at one point usually leads to destruction or inflation at some other point. These ...


10

One counter-example, which is probably still not on-topic, is that regional vocabulary varies considerably. For example, DARE attests for “the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street” not merely terrace as I would use, but all of the following: boulevard [chiefly Upper MW, N Cent] devil strip [chiefly neOH] grassplot [chiefly Atlantic] neutral ...


9

I just did a quick check of the top 100 highest all-time scorers on EL&U and found that 76 of them have "single-word-requests" listed among their top three tag categories for upvotes. Unmistakably, single-word requests draw a disproportionately high level of interest among people who cast upvotes—with the result that, no matter how much time you devote ...


9

Sven Yargs points out that the problem is with poorly supported but otherwise correct answers; tchrist advocates deletion of single-line answers (SLAs) because they are not real answers. MετάEd concurs, but leaves it in the hands of the moderators (reviewers). The key question is whether an SLA that gets to the heart of a question should be shored up or ...


9

A question asking for people to coin a word is out of scope for this site. A coinage in an answer might be in scope, depending on how well-reasoned it is. If the answer is a coinage which follows naturally from the way the language works, such as your example "samsaraphobia" which follows from the common practice of sticking "-phobia" on new things people ...


9

It is important to get a hopeless answer in the VLQ queue ASAP because: (1) after 7 days, the answer can't be flagged VLQ; and, (2) long before then, it may attract enough undeserved upvotes to be immune from being flagged as VLQ. Also note that not all VLQ answers are one-liners, and not all VLQ answers are responding to a SWR. I sporadically edit ...


8

It can be interesting: Q. What is the single word that best means "smelling of a horse's urine"? A. Jumentous, adj. smelling of a horse's urine. Comment: Why thank you kind sir, that is indeed an interesting word. Now what a shame I'll almost never have a need to use it except perhaps in word games. In terms of good English, no, not particularly useful, ...


8

I think we should not allow single-word requests for synonyms and antonyms, at least. Asking for a word that means (or that means the opposite of) XYZ, where XYZ is a description, is typically not a problem. The asker has an idea in mind and lacks a word for it. This is different from a request for a synonym or antonym. I'm looking for another word for ...


8

I haven't been here long but already a lot of the more mind bloggling single word requests feel like mere nuisance posts. But the single word request is clearly an established and accepted part of the culture here, both for askers and answerers, and it seems to me unlikely moderation can or will change that at this stage. I think the only choices are to put ...


8

I am getting really frustrated by "what is the word for [something there is a word for in another language but not really in English]?" as though all concepts must be represented by a single word. They do strike me as requests related to learning English more than anything else. Same with the in/at questions. At the moment I don't downvote or flag these, ...


8

The only thing I can tell you for sure is that five community members closed it as off-topic. No mods were involved. If even one of them suggested it be sent to Writers, the system would have automagically done that as soon as it closed. I don't know why one of our members thought it would be a good fit there. I am also not certain why, of all the word ...


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