I've started becoming more active here recently, and in several cases have answered questions that I would have flagged or called out on EL&U for not showing proper research. My main reason for doing so is that I understand people learning the language won't necessarily have the knowledge or skill necessary to form a helpful search string to help them answer their question, so I'm more lenient in my willingness to straight up provide an answer.

Is this how everyone else feels and what I should be doing? Or would anyone argue that even though ELL is for people who aren't as familiar with the language, some research efforts should still be made prior to asking?

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    ELU's a much more famous site than ELL. Hence they get much more low quality contributions and they need to be stricter in moderation. That being said, ELL folks have always been expecting little to no research from the OP's, comparing to other SE's. So, Moderation on SO, ELU, SU and SF > Moderation on most SE's > Moderation on ELL, and wherever this "quality matters less than helping the OP" atmosphere exists > Moderation on other forums and sites, IMO.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 11:45
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    That's pretty much what I expected to hear, @IͶΔ. Thanks. I'm so glad I can type @ and click your username because I have no idea how to type a triangle. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 11:47
  • John actually, you didn't need to ping me. Since you're the OP and I'm the only commenter so far, I would've been notified of your comment even without the ping. Also, it's not like I won't see the comment if I don't get notified. ;)
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 11:48
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    Oh! I thought notifications only happened if a comment was made on an actual answer or question you'd submitted, didn't realise that it would still ping for the sole commenter. That's interesting. I still have no idea how to type a triangle, though. :P (also someone called me out on another thread for not tagging them so they would see what I said, but that was in a flurry of other comments so I guess it's not the same situation) Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 11:50
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    I disagree with this part of your first comment: That being said, ELL folks have always been expecting little to no research from the OP's, comparing to other SE's. I do think we tend to be more lenient, because it might be quite a challenge for an O.P. with rudimentary langauge skills to present a well-researched question. That said, I think "expecting ... no research" maybe overstates it. This meta post gets pointed to often, and it exhorts people to include their preliminary research.
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 19:00
  • @J.R. I find the next sentence after my quote exactly a proof for what I said. The mindset affects us a lot in what we do. "Details, please" is being linked to often, but not often enough. And well, maybe I do overstate it. ELL's moderation is still much stricter than that of competing forums, and that's a plus.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 19:59
  • @IͶΔ What do you mean "ELU's a much more famous site than ELL."? I am not aware of any "famous" community ratings on SE, and I have been a user for years.
    – user3169
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 22:39
  • @user3169 I think the triangle was trying to say it's more well-known to people rather than having a greater amount of actual fame. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 22:42
  • @user on the Net, english.SE is way more prominent than ELL.SE. Some stats are enough to prove that.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 12:33
  • John that is the most honorable nickname I've earned on SE.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 12:33
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    @IͶΔ I think it's just because of the way your name is rendered on my browser but it's basically "I [box] [triangle]" and the triangle is the most visible part. I'm glad I have honoured you with my poor browser charset. :) Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 12:53
  • It's a delta dude!
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 12:54
  • @IͶΔ That makes sense. Can I keep calling you the triangle anyway? XD Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 12:55
  • Sure.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 13:01
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    lol, I see what John sees, @IͶΔ aka Mr. Triangle. ;) Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, there is and should be a different standard for "research" between EL&U and ELL. I look for effort and context, not research. Have you ever tried to Google anything about 'in' or 'of' without knowing the terminology that's relevant to your question? There are some very common questions that come up when learning English that are very difficult to research if you aren't fluent, and some that are tough even for fluent folks to find supporting sources for what they know intuitively.

I look for explanations of/links to where they saw what they're asking about, what meaning they think it has (or would like it to have if it's a request), and just in general some effort to make their question clearer. I really dislike questions where the question is in the title, and the body is essentially "see title" and close vote them whenever I come across them. You could at least copy and paste your title into the body, yeah?

I think that one of the strengths of ELL is that the questions are asked in the way a learner writes them, and that might make it easier for other learners to find answers if they have a similar question. We should encourage learners to explain their questions in their own voice and help them enough so that the question is clear without rewriting it to make it perfectly grammatical. It's intimidating for some folks to write in a language they don't know well, which is why I think we need to be a kinder, gentler SE.

Sometimes voting to close the question gets it the attention it needs to get shaped up so we can re-open it and provide useful answers. Unfortunately, too many people see closing a question as something irreversible or a judgment of the author and not of the post.

  • Right, that is the problem with new users: They don't understand that closing a question is not a punishment for them, but merely an invite for them to make the question better. As moderator for another site, I have seen this happening often, with users arriving to comment with if you don't know the answer, leave the question alone.
    – apaderno
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 21:36

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