When I ask a question here, why do I have to wait so long to get an answer? Even the number of users who have seen my questions is small.

I am not new here; I had an account before but I lost the password.

  • 11
    I think it's a bit "premature" to claim that ELL is failing to promptly answer your questions, when you wrote this meta question less than an hour after asking five new questions on main.
    – Matt
    Apr 1, 2013 at 22:10
  • 10
    What @Matt♦ said. So far as I can see, 3 of those 5 questions were adequately answered in less than an hour, the others within two hours. OP has now posted a sixth question, which no-one's yet answered (after 6 hours). Unsurprisingly, since OP hasn't meaningfully responded to repeated comments asking for further clarification regarding context, and what exactly he's trying to learn. In fact, I see no evidence OP is trying to learn anything at all - as per my answer, it seems he thinks we're just a free online translation service (who are too slow for his commercial context! :). Apr 2, 2013 at 2:28
  • 4
    ...having said all that, I'm not convinced this question should be closed as Not Constructive. It's perfectly okay to ask "discussion"-type questions on Meta, and OP is genuinely seeking an explanation as to why his expectations of getting prompt answers have been let down. I've raised three factors in my answer, and StoneyB has raised as fourth point (how we compare to other Stack Exchange beta sites), but there may be other relevant factors. Foreclosing further discussion seems arbitrary and extreme. Apr 2, 2013 at 15:03
  • 3
    I reopened - this seems like a valid discussion/question for a young site.
    – Jaydles
    Apr 2, 2013 at 15:24
  • @Jaydles If there were a way to quantify "I wait so long," I would agree. Since the OP is not waiting so long, as he said, I don't think there is much to be said here, except that he is not waiting so long.
    – apaderno
    Apr 2, 2013 at 22:56
  • 1
    @kiamlaluno You can argue the semantics of taking "so long", fair enough. But even if you are questioning the author's lack of followup, such meta posts are a opportunity to discuss how the community works and how to improve the end user experience. Closing the post as "not constructive" didn't seem productive, especially when you consider that you're missing a golden opportunity to talk over the shoulder of the author to the rest of the community. It was a poor choice, in my opinion, when the question could have been answered in good faith. Nice job on the responses, by the way! Apr 3, 2013 at 1:09
  • 3
    @RobertCartaino The premises are wrong; I cannot see what can come out in that case. It would be like asking "Why is the sun green?" I also don't see how we can answer about why users waited almost an hour to answer his questions. It would be a better question if it asked "What do I need to change, to get a faster answer on my questions?" As it is, the question seems putting the blame on who answers. I would also bet the same question asked on MSO would be closed as not constructive as well.
    – apaderno
    Apr 3, 2013 at 9:03

2 Answers 2


I sympathize with your impatience; and I understand that it’s even more frustrating when you consider how few users we have at this point. But ELL is a small site because it is also a very new site—less than ten weeks old as I write this. With that in mind, let’s compare ELL to other new SE sites (these are the latest numbers posted at SE's stats page:

4/1/48 stats

Note first that ELL has substantially more questions (and questions per day) to be answered than do any of our sisters. And note, too, that we have a much higher proportion of questions to users than our sisters: they have 5 to 7½ questions per 10 users, we have almost 9 per 10. That means we have also a higher proportion of people asking questions to people answering them. And in fact, if you go to the Users page here and look at who does what, you will find that two thirds of the answers have come from just 24 people—half have come from just 13.

And of course those dozen or so principal answerers are scattered around the globe, and work on very different schedules. They tend, too, to ‘specialize’: some of them are most comfortable with questions about idiom, some with questions about formal use, and so forth—I myself prefer questions about syntax and verb forms.

So you may have to wait a while for the two or three people most likely to answer your question to come on line. But I think you can be fairly sure that you will get an answer eventually. The table above shows that 99% percent of our questions are answered, and in fact it’s better than that: the unanswered questions page shows only 3 questions (out of 1088) actually have no answer.

  • 3
    Also keep in mind that we are in various locations around the world, and have to sleep and stuff like that. The best answer may not be near to you.
    – user485
    Apr 1, 2013 at 22:12
  • 7
    What @user3169 says. This is not a full-time job for any of us; it's a hobby. Most of us have jobs, families, and other interests. This isn't Siri. If you need answers more promptly, your company should hire a technical writer. Moreover, I find it particularly ironic that you're asking, "Why do I have to wait so long to get an answer?" yet you haven't answered any of my questions yet.
    – J.R. Mod
    Apr 2, 2013 at 16:13

Firstly, ELL is a new Stack Exchange site, still in "beta" mode, so it doesn't have that many users yet.

Secondly, how do you define "wait too much time"? Sometimes a misleading answer may be posted within minutes; you would be well advised to wait until more people have at least seen and commented/voted on any responses. Not every answer is automatically "correct" just because someone posted it.

Thirdly, bear in mind that those people who can answer your questions don't get paid for doing this. If your questions don't appeal to them, why should they answer? Personally I don't find your questions particularly interesting - I have the impression you're just using ELL as a free "proof-reading" service for a work-related technical specification project that would probably be better dealt with by hiring a commercial translator with experience in your line of business.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .