Forum etiquette
Posted: 11 May 2010 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  267
Joined  2007-02-20

The authors of several posts have been criticized, and often rightly so, for submitting questions which might have been googled instead. On the other hand, by definition every answer given in this forum can in principle be found elsewhere, i.e. in the place where the forum member who provides the answer found it originally. Thus, I suggest that the criterion for what is a good post and what is not must be its ability to start a productive discussion among a reasonable number of forum members rather than whether or not the information in question could be found in places other than our forum. It would be fun to see some statistical analysis of threads with above-average numbers of contributors as well as of posts with zero responses.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 May 2010 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1276
Joined  2007-03-21

I couldn’t agree with you more.  Except that this might be better placed in the “Meta” area, but your new to this iteration of WordOrigins.  There are lots of questions asked that could have been googled or whatever, but then we get on these marvelous tangents that are illustrative of the alleys and by-ways of English.

Welcome back, Senning.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 May 2010 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  590
Joined  2007-02-22
Senning - 11 May 2010 11:38 AM

The authors of several posts have been criticized, and often rightly so, for submitting questions which might have been googled instead. On the other hand, by definition every answer given in this forum can in principle be found elsewhere, i.e. in the place where the forum member who provides the answer found it originally.

An exception to this is where the answerer quotes the OED.  Not all of us have access to a copy of the OED and are thus dependent on others looking for us.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 May 2010 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3506
Joined  2007-01-29

Also, you can’t trust answers from random internet sites.  Certainly not everything said here is correct, but the incorrect things usually get shot down pretty quickly.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 May 2010 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4750
Joined  2007-01-03

There’s also a big difference between someone who says, “I’ve looked here and here, but haven’t got a satisfactory answer,” or “source X disagrees with source Y,” and someone who just simply poses a question that can be answered by looking in any decent dictionary. Someone who has shown that they’ve done at least a little spadework of their own upfront will be received better.

But in all cases, a civil and polite response to straightforward queries is preferred to the alternative. (I’m not talking about trolls, to which the best response is silence—flaming a troll just encourages them, as discord is what they are seeking.) A response like “The answer can be found in any good dictionary. Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate says...” That provides the answer and tells them where to look next time. If the same person keeps coming back with similar questions, then a more abrupt, but still civil, response may be appropriate.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ Con-Dem Nation      Data mining in etymology ››