Given that we can't direct the OP of a closed question over to a sister site where basic learning questions are treated more laxly (as ELU is set up to do, with ELL), let's try to make more streamlined ways of dealing with improperly posed learning Spanish questions.

  1. There should be a built-in close reason that says, in Spanish and English, that some minimal research should be done. When one votes to close, a canned reason should appear in both languages, in a comment below the question, with the information that the commenter has voted to close. I'm not the greatest at phrasing these things -- I hope someone will draft something good for me.

  2. If the OP could, in principle, figure it out by reading Resources for learning Spanish, that should be indicated. Again, could we have a built-in radio button option in the voting to close procedure, please.

  3. If our collection of resources for learning Spanish doesn't have a resource that the OP could use to answer his question, let's see if there's something we can add to that collection.

  4. Let's all chip in to edit these poorly posed questions to salvage them when possible.

  5. We might need some additional tags, I'm not sure, since I''m not very familiar with our tag repertoire. Maybe pedagogía or principiante? Which could be added to questions that cover basic questions posed by Spanish learners?

  6. Let's check https://spanish.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic to see if it's everything we'd like it to be, and have a complete version in English. Ideally, a two-column format.

I realize some of these things take work, but here's a motivational argument. ELU is a high traffic site, and can afford to prune out the basic questions. (a) We can't, since we're not even medium traffic yet; and (b) I am hopeful that as more Spanish learners come here for help, if we process their questions effectively, that will trickle over to attract more of the fun sophisticated Spanish speakers we enjoy interacting with so much here.

  • 2
    Great proposals! A couple of notes: 1) We currently say Questions asking for translations are off-topic unless prior research effort is clearly indicated; we're here to help you learn, not provide a bulk translation service but indeed it is just for translations. Maybe it is time to have some generic closing reason to address that. 6) on-topic is already in both Spanish and English.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 2, 2017 at 19:35
  • Also, I recently learnt that the text in the right box when asking (Is your question about the Spanish language? blabla) can be changed, so that could also be a place to add some info.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 2, 2017 at 19:39
  • @fedorqui - I don't know if the page changed or I misperceived it! When I looked earlier, I saw a much smaller section in English at the bottom, compared to the amount of material at the top in Spanish. // Here's some weird stuff, though: "Posts made in English will likely be translated to Spanish for you." No se permiten: "Preguntas buscando recursos de aprendizaje, Como mejorar mi español." Jun 3, 2017 at 4:23
  • 1
    Regarding the "on-topic" docs, no: they are exactly the same. - I agree those sentences should be updated. I'll open a new Meta question to address this, thanks for spotting it!
    – fedorqui
    Jun 3, 2017 at 16:29
  • Let's start working on all of this! First question: ¿Debemos replantearnos los motivos de cierre específicos del sitio para que sean más usables?.
    – fedorqui
    Aug 16, 2017 at 9:56
  • Regarding #5 -- interesting thoughts about ELL vs ELU here: english.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4168/112436 Feb 3, 2018 at 3:10
  • 1
    Hey aparente001, thanks for the link. I went through this post again and I see it has been a great way to improve our site throughout these last months, as it served as a roadmap on what to improve. Since you just asked Proposal: repurpose “aprendizaje” tag, I think we can assume all the points have been covered now. Good news!
    – fedorqui
    Feb 5, 2018 at 9:38
  • @fedorqui - Indeed. Feb 7, 2018 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


All those are good ideas. I'm afraid that given the fact that we have very little questions per day (and even answers per questions) we could not justify the resources to have a "sister" or "sibling" site, as you point out.

Nevertheless, I think you are in the right track. We can always discuss in Meta what we think should be considered on-topic and what kind of questions we want to receive here.

Sometimes I want to help someone posting a question I see as blatantly off-topic, and I'm afraid I can only post a comment or two to do so. Nevertheless, there is a reason why certain questions might not be a good fit here and their questions might need to be closed.

I think point #4: Let's all chip in to edit these poorly posed questions to salvage them when possible. Is the most important one. Although we need "rules" in place to uphold the quality of the content of the site and ensure that we help people to learn (as opposed as helping people by providing free translation services or doing someone's homework, for example), we want to have a "people over rules" mindset, and the best way of achieving our goal would be bringing up to speed these users to use the resources of the site effectively.

This question is a good example of a user helping to make a question more on-topic and useful.

  • 2
    I wish all moderators had the "people over rules" mindset. What a great maxim. I've never come across it at other SE sites. Jun 16, 2017 at 3:05

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