We have a meta thread (Resources for learning English) that lists a number of resources of learning English.

From the help center

However, requests for resources are off-topic on ELL main. In the last couple of days, a couple of questions have popped up in meta, asking about resources.

There are three votes to close the latter, and the OP closed the former after calling my assessment of it as off-topic "unsporting".

The OP of the former question also seemed to be under the impression that meta is for questions about references used for (on?) ELL. (This is possibly a result of the aforementioned reference list, which may give the impression that such posts are on-topic here.) If this is the case, then I apologise and will promptly vote to reopen the question, since otherwise duplicates may appear.

Comments from PEU online question

I'd like to find out how we should be responding to these questions. My understanding of the Meta site is that questions on it should relate to ELL.se, or the SE software; we have a close reason that actually says this.

Close reason

Should we be closing these questions, or answering them (siphoning off-topic questions from main to meta)? Or another option? My main concern is that I may have caused offense, or voted to close incorrectly.

  • 1
    I have to give it more thought before I have an answer, but it is difficult to not ask for advice when you're involved with a community like this one where someone is bound to have something helpful to add. I almost wish there was a companion discussion forum if the questions here must be strictly limited to ELL. I know there is chat, but I don't look at it much and I'm not sure it's useful for getting input on a specific topic that isn't on topic in the main site and not specifically about ELL.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 15, 2014 at 0:04
  • @ColleenV I've found that chat is usually more suitable for questions that aren't necessarily on-topic on the site. I think the origins of the resources guideline has roots in the SO guideline on the same (i.imgur.com/qjaEr1e.png), at least for Main. But I guess what I'm asking about here is Meta, and it doesn't seem right to me, but perhaps this is where the questions belong.
    – jimsug
    Nov 17, 2014 at 12:32
  • I don't really disagree that resource requests are off-topic in meta, but I don't think that chat is really set up to get a good answer and it certainly doesn't lend itself well to folks searching to see if there is already an answer. Is there any harm being done? The meta site isn't currently so active that we're having trouble keeping up I think. Maybe a chat room linked to the Resources question would work though.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 17, 2014 at 17:11
  • I guess that's what I want to know. Does the community sanction these questions? If so, then I'll actively help. Essentially however, the main case for them not being asked is that it's just not the purpose of meta. But at the end of the day, if people here are answering questions, they'll keep coming. I want to be clear on what we/I should be doing. My instinct is to help, but I respect the rules that we've developed - and also that we have scope to change the rules, if need be.
    – jimsug
    Nov 17, 2014 at 17:32
  • 1
    I don't think there's anything wrong with resource questions, and I think the question of whether they should be on the main site or meta site is more or less a meaningless one. Lots of people disagree, though, and think resource questions don't really work with the SE model, so presumably these people have opinions they can share here.
    – user230
    Nov 21, 2014 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


As no-one else has posted an answer, here's my take so you can vote on it. There's a "one-off" post here on ELL Meta: Resources for learning English. As it says there,...

Questions regarding [resources] are still allowed, but they will be closed as a duplicate of this question if they are too broad.

Personally, I'm not sure what kind of "resource" questions would not be "too broad" - my knee-jerk reaction is to close all such questions as duplicates (or POB if someone asks something like "Is [some resource] any good?").

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