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I'm Laura, a product manager at Stack Exchange.

Before I getting into the details of my announcement, know that we are not changing anything regarding English Language Learners. This post is just to keep you informed of some things we're discussing at a high level for the whole network.

I wanted to let this community know that I've started a discussion over on Meta Stack Overflow about some general guidelines for naming our sites, specifically our language sites, going forward. Feel free to read and discuss my post over there.

The gist of my proposal is that "& Usage" generally makes a site name longer and more difficult to say and type without adding much, if any meaning. I'd like to rename existing Stack Exchange language sites to just "X Language" and drop "& Usage" from both existing sites and any new language sites we launch in the future.

We're not planning to change the name of this site (or English Language & Usage). English Language Learners doesn't follow our old convention for language site names, and it won't be following our new one. English is the exception to this naming plan because we have two sites that require longer names to disambiguate.

In summary:

We're having a conversation about the way we name language sites that you're welcome to participate in if that's of interest to you, but we have no plans to change the name of this site.


Update 11/25: Thanks for your feedback; we're moving ahead with dropping "& Usage" from the site titles of the other SE language sites, but will be making no change here. There are some comments here regarding ELU v. ELL, and whether there should be new names for one or both of these sites; please keep discussion of ELU on ELU's meta. If you feel that there are additional issues to be discussed with the conflation of ELL and ELU, feel free to start a new thread.

  • Thank you for letting us know, Laura! heads over to check out the discussion :) – WendiKidd Nov 14 '13 at 22:44
  • Hmm ... so ELL is--can't be grandfathered--grandchilded in? – StoneyB Nov 14 '13 at 23:52
  • Please read @Gilles's answer on EL&U and comments. I think he's really made a point and if any renaming should be done in a logical manner then ELL should become: E nglish L anguage U sage and ELU: E nglish L anguage & L inguistics! – Laure Nov 15 '13 at 10:51
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    Swapping the acronyms would have a pretty high (unjustified) cognitive cost. – snailboat Nov 16 '13 at 12:48
  • @snailboat : Removing Usage from EL&U and not from the other language sites would be just as unjustified. That's the point we're trying to make. If the use of usage is logically appropriate somewhere it's on ELL and not on EL&U. If usage is removed that it must be removed from all language sites. And we don't object to that. – Laure Nov 16 '13 at 14:03
  • @Laure - I saw Gilles' answer, and I chuckled; people seem confused enough already. If such name changes were really going to be made, I'd like to see the word Language removed from ELU's title altogether: English Linguistics and Etymology. ELL could become Learning the English Language. That way, ELU because ELE, and ELL becomes LEL. The initials aren't swapped, and the removal of the word "Language" from what is now ELU might stem the tide of first-timers asking ELL questions on ELU. Moreover, ELL's title would focus more on the activity than the individual (an improvement, I think). – J.R. Nov 17 '13 at 9:47
  • Although ELU's main focus doesn't seem to be linguistics, so language probably suits it better. – snailboat Nov 17 '13 at 14:40
  • @Laure Normally, I push really, really hard for consistency, but I just don't agree that there's a big loss in removing "usage" from all our language sites but English. You have to admit that our two English sites have a problem that no other SE language sites do. If the ELU community thinks their name does total disservice to their site, they are free to open a new thread proposing a different name – but I have to be honest and say that we as a company are very reluctant to change the names of sites that have been around for a while without an extremely compelling reason. – Laura Nov 19 '13 at 16:19
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    @Laura The ELL/ELU split is an argument in favor of renaming ELU, not against, because “usage” describes ELL better than it describes ELU (insofar as they are different, which is about as far as I can throw a 16-ton weight). – Gilles Nov 19 '13 at 21:24
  • @TylerJamesYoung: I just don't get you remark (unless you misunderstood Gilles's pun?). And yes I regularly visit StackExchange Linguistics, even if I hardly ever post. I'm only a regular poster on FL&U. – Laure 12 mins ago – Laure Dec 2 '13 at 7:38
  • Just a note, which I should have posted earlier: Thank you for taking the trouble to give us all this heads-up. Had you not done so it might very well have been misunderstood and caused unnecessary distress -- particularly on the part of senile old farts like me, who adapt poorly to change – StoneyB Dec 25 '13 at 23:02
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ELU: The English Language and Usage Stack Exchange is for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts.

ELL: English Language Learners Stack Exchange is for people who are learning or teaching English as a foreign language.

Those seem straightforward enough, but, to find that guidance, one must first click on a link that says help.

If we are doing some soul-searching about the renaming of sites, I would suggest something else to consider: renaming that help link to about.

Maybe if it said "about" instead of "help", more newer users would read through it, and decide if their question was being asked in the best place. It seems like many newcomers ask questions without paying too much attention to some of the on-topic/off-topic guidance in the help pages – perhaps that's because they're called help?

  • Both pages, help and about, already exist and they have different content. Why you don't see the about link. – Laure Nov 17 '13 at 8:24
  • @Laure - Ah, thanks for the helpful information. – J.R. Nov 17 '13 at 9:29

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