We get a lot of questions about requests for vocabulary/translation, which I believe make for some very weak questions. The most obvious shortcoming, in my opinion, is that these questions solicit a ton of short, one-line answers from every country/region. Some examples:

Further, about 75% of the flags I see for 'Low quality' answers are from answers that essentially say "In my country we say X" in response to questions exactly like these.

How can we focus these questions to be more constructive, and solicit higher-quality answers?

3 Answers 3


I propose that any question asking which word is best must meet a minimum criteria of:

  • Specify the context (Formal, colloquial, vulgar, etc)

    Ideally with an example phrase and/or situation to make the context completely unambiguous.

  • Specify the region (Spain, Mexico, Central America, etc)

    Each question must be tagged with the specified region.

    Any question not specifying the region should be assumed to be asking for the most universally accepted word, and include the tag .

    Any question specifically asking for multiple regional answers (such as this one) shall be closed until the OP specifies a specific region.

  • Well, you picked one of my questions in your meta question. If you picked them because you considered them a bad example, I would have to say that I basically meet your both criteria here since I tagged it "diferencias-regionales" and thus wanted to know about difference between the several countries.
    – Em1
    Dec 15, 2014 at 13:09
  • 1
    @Em1: No, I didn't necessarily mean that your questions are bad, just that they are examples of the type of question. Although to be well-scoped, a diferencias-regionales question should be asking about specific regions, and not requesting an exhaustive list of all possible variations.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 18:30

The ELU gets questions like this a lot. However, since the difference is generally binary (UK-US), it's not much of a problem.

I think some of the low quality answers are just that. You can have an expansive diferencias regionales question if each person gives a proper answer. Remember, in SE, the chosen answer just need be the that works for the asker. There may be a number of other correct (or even better) answers. Take for instance on Code Golf SE, there may be only one "winner" (accepted answer), but everyone else tries and gets upvoted and you see many interesting strategies and techniques. No one is "wrong" (so long as they might the standards of the contest), but only one is the best.

I do think it'd be a good idea to limit to either register or region in a single question if they're asking for how to render a given word or concept into Spanish.

If it's comparing two terms, in theory the best answer ought to be the one that best covers the differences. But again, there's nothing wrong with multiple other correct answers to be upvoted. We just need to cut out the "in X we say Y" ultra short answers that are best as comments.

Also, if we do any other more like "In which countries does X mean Y?" we can just have one person (possibly the poster themselves) create a community-wiki answer, and accept it when it seems mostly filled out.


Maybe those questions are very weak, but I think they are very important and there are some examples like this:

¿En qué países la palabra “coger” tiene connotaciones sexuales?

Knowing small differences between countries can add a lot of knowledge for native and foreign people, epecially for small countries or places not often asked.

I propose that we should keep that format of self-answering and editing; just adding explanations of usage if needed.

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