We all love English Language Learners Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

5 Answers 5


there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists...

I'm finding questions daily on ELU – questions that are getting downvotes there, but ones that might get upvoted here. Here is one example from just minutes ago! I still think that somehow, in a FAQ or something, there ought to be a pointer from there to here.

The ELU FAQ already reads:

But please, don’t ask any questions about the following topics. They are out of scope for this site.

  • Proofreading ("are there any mistakes?"), unless the source of concern is clearly specified
  • Writing advice or critique requests (see Writers.SE instead...)

So, there is already a precedent for a pointer from the ELU FAQ to another StackExchange site. Given that:

(a) ELL was largely formed out of a plethora of basic learner questions flooding the ELU site;
(b) ELL is now healthy and active, with over 1,000 users and over 1,000 questions already asked;
(c) basic English learner questions are still being asked on ELU daily,

I think it's time for the ELU FAQ page to make a mention of us there; something like:

  • Questions about basic English that stem mostly from the fact that English is not your first language (there's a good chance you want to ask that question at English Language Learners.SE instead)

It seems like that one bullet could help both communities make their respective sites a better place; they'd get fewer questions that aren't appropriate for their site, and we'd get more questions here.


Something else to discuss so that we're better prepared for the next self-eval; sometimes a question is excellent and the answer is excellent, but it's just not easy to come up with search terms for it. In this case you can't give points for google-ability, but you can for quality. So which factor trumps the other, and how should we rate the question?

For now I'm going with rating the question on its own merits (though I will say that I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of questions on the first page of google results!) What does everyone think?


I’ve completed the self-evaluation. I’m personally quite satisfied with most of the answers given on this site. I’m also pleased to note that we have a number of experts who are volunteering their time to make this site a success.

When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be?

Positive, I hope. Other than quantity and quality of topics, I also think having a good attitude is very important.


Final Results


Regarding this question: What is the word or expression for 'criticize someone strongly'

The answer to the question is good, but from the comments I feel like the community would have voted to close the question at the time if it could have (since it was very early on in the beta, I'm assuming not many users had close-voting privileges).

If you think the question should be closed, go ahead and cast a close vote. If you have strong feelings about whether it should or shouldn't be closed, please comment here to discuss!

  • 2
    I feel like that question could be improved. Specifically, I think the O.P. could have done a better job of describing what we was looking for. A question like that one makes me wonder, "Why do some folks act like there is a limit on the length of a question? Why are they only writing a sentence or two to convey a complex thought? Try writing a complete paragraph or two; it's better for you, and better for the site." That all said, I don't feel that it's so bad that it warrants closure.
    – J.R. Mod
    Apr 1, 2013 at 9:08

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