16

I think each question should be taken on its own merits regardless of the source of the question or what the asker intends to do with the answers. Our goal is to create a comprehensive reference for people learning English as a second language. I think a lot of questions that arise from translating are useful in general (although not in particular the "...


12

Stack Exchange originated as a site to help professional programmers help each other. The idea of helping people get advice from other experts so that they can do a better job is actually what Stack Exchange is all about. This Meta question is entirely inimical in both in spirit and demeanour to the whole Stack Exchange enterprise, whose very aim is to ...


10

There are two sides to this coin. Some might wonder, "Why are people answering these close-worthy questions?" But others might wonder, "Why are we closing these answerable questions?" Incidentally, I've talked about both of these situations in previous meta posts: Do Not Feed the Bears Have We Forgotten Our Mission? In this case, I see a mix of the two. I ...


10

Let's take a look at the following question: What is the meaning of "will fulfill a prophecy by bringing balance to the Force"? Here's the content of your question, formatted slightly to allow more natural block quoting: Title: What is the meaning of “will fulfill a prophecy by bringing balance to the Force”? Source Qui-Gon senses ...


10

I hate to disagree with WendiKidd here (we don't often disagree, and I think it's a good point, well made). But whereas I hope I don't often fall into the trap of posting an answer to a question that's subsequently (correctly) closed, I do often "answer" in a comment while closevoting. Maybe this does encourage more Off Topic questions - but at least if a ...


10

I'm glad you've asked this question; I've been thinking about writing a meta post on lyrics for awhile now. Yes, song lyrics (and poetry verses) are in English. However, they are not always as readily explainable or interpretable as, say, sentences from a news article, or passages from a book. There are entire websites devoted to meanings of song lyrics, ...


9

Since it is not always obvious how to move from a written English word to its pronunciation questions about how to pronounce a word, especially about less familiar words, seem to me eminently on topic here. Like all questions they receive answers varying enormously in scope from the simple "Cat rhymes with mat" style to the complex showing how the ...


8

I think any math question is on topic as long as it's not about math, but about learning English. Reading aloud Most of our math questions are about how to read a mathematical expression aloud. This topic is filled with tricky things like casual vs. formal ways to say the same thing and British and American differences. The question about how to say A = -...


7

The principle What makes some questions about song lyrics off-topic is that they don’t seem to have any real, definitive answer, only interpretations that differ from person to person. An on-topic question about a song lyric asks people to explain something about the English language or how to make use of the lyric as part of the process of learning English....


7

I agree that etymology should be abolished and blacklisted. Existing answers with the tag should either be retagged as appropriate, or deleted.


7

I don't think any more-specific ruling is needed than this: Questions about any subject whatsoever, no matter how specialized or esoteric, are on-topic as long as they're not questions about that topic, but about learning English. So, you could ask about quantum thermodynamics, as long as you're asking about some peculiarity of English within that topic ...


7

Recently, I have had several posts put on hold because they "lack research or context." However, there are plenty other posts that don't include any research or context at all, but they remain as they are. That's an interesting observation – but it's also an interesting way of looking at the situation. I will say this: It's not uncommon for the ...


6

The two aren't contradictory. The problem here is a more wordy reading can't fit there, because as far as I'm concerned, there's a limited area in the "help center" that moderators can modify, and the rest are topics that are discussed the same way across different SE sites. There are some "meaning" questions we don't allow, and some we ...


6

I've always had reservations about requiring learners to know the answer to their question before they ask it, but the problem with language is that it impinges on so much of life that, even for native speakers, it's sometimes difficult to discern or agree on whether a problem requires linguistic competence, or domain/cultural knowledge, or both (or whether ...


5

There is nothing wrong with the question (being posted on ELL).* I think the comment was an unfortunate one. It shouldn't have caused you any concern. It probably should be deleted, as it is not constructive. *For further explication of this view, consider the following comments: Damkerng: I don't think there is anything wrong with the question. (...


5

This is an excellent question, but you're not focusing on what I think is the main thrust of the comment (which I will put in bold): Single word requests are off-topic on ELL. We should focus on how to express something naturally, not how to express something within arbitrary game-like limits such as "the expression must be a single orthographic word" I ...


5

I agree that resources should be abolished and blacklisted. Existing answers with the tag should either be retagged as appropriate, or deleted.


5

If you're looking for some foolproof flow chart that will instruct you and the rest of the community about what to do for each and every question like this one, then, sorry, you'll be disappointed in this answer. The process isn't all that simple, and every circumstance provides its own teachable moments. If you feel like a question could or should be ...


4

As a pronunciation question about math, I think this sort of question sits in a gray area, and is acceptable in either place. Where is it best suited? I think that depends on what the O.P. is trying to figure out. If the O.P. is thinking: I know how I'd say this in my native tongue, but I'm not sure how I would say it in English then I have no ...


4

I was in the middle of typing a reply to this question when it was put on hold pursuant to this rule. Apart from the mild annoyance to me (but I'll take the positive that I learned interesting things while researching it), the big issue for me is this: if I was a language learner who had found this site and posted a question, then got a formulaic response '...


3

There's a difference between English Language Learning, and Reading Comprehension Assistance. Just because you are asking about an English test question doesn't mean your question "concerns English." The onus is on you to make sure these questions are directly pertinent to language, and not just reading comprehension. As an aside, please try to avoid ...


3

I think the questions are fine, and we should probably try to come up with a better term for the tag than "translation", because that's not really what they're asking for. In Spanish we say "Hola, como estas?" How can I say that in English? That's translation, and off-topic. In [my language] we say [phrase in other language]. We say this when it is ...


3

I think it's not so much that the question really is "nuanced" - it more that by its very nature, ELL is likely to have a high percentage of users who are interested in knowing what's grammatically correct (whereas ELU users tend to be descriptive rather than prescriptive). When it comes to the dafter prescriptions of Latin-versed Victorian grammarians (...


3

Saying that the question isn't in scope, and explaining what scope it is in is itself an answer--albeit an incomplete one. The user can then go get the answer in an approrpriate location. The only problem is if the question disappears so that other can't also know that the questions. While I've used the SE sites for a while, I personally haven't paid much ...


3

I've been active on both sites for some time, and I'm completely at a loss why a regular at ELU would have steered you toward ELL for your first question. As a matter of fact, ELU seems to get precious few questions nowadays aimed at its purported target audience, and I think yours is one of the few questions that does. Anyhow, I'd put more stock your ...


3

OK I know some folks really dislike when I say "that's just how things are and there's nothing to fix", but I'm going to say it again. First of all, it only takes 5 people to close a question. I don't know for certain, but I'm confident that almost no-one on the site is able to thoughtfully review every question that is posted. I'm lucky if I can do a ...


3

The core of this question seems to be something along the lines of Where do we draw the line? How much background research can we reasonably expect someone to do before asking a question on ELL? Personally I think we should always err on the side of caution in this area. Just because most people might find it reasonably easy to resolve their problem if they ...


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