The following question:

was not only closed as NARQ but also receievd 4 downvotes at present, which makes it one of the most downvoted questions here.

The question was not really brilliant as it lacked a context to resolve possible issues on translation from English or a dictionary entry. Still, I feel it was not that bad. It could have easily be salvaged by adding some context. It even has a good and upvoted answer.

Other than a snappy comment

"Aus 6 Begriffen kann man 21 Paare bilden - sollen wir die alle gegenüberstellen? Welche Unklarheiten hinterlässt die Konsultation eines Wörterbuchs?"

no effort was taken to salvage this question.

What did we want to say with closing and downvoting? Are a beginner's questions no longer welcome here? Will the site survive after we had chased off all people that actually try to contribute by asking?


The question in question was actually the one that brought me to German SE and the top answer that was given was exactly what I was looking for and was extremely helpful for me at the time. –  thekeyofgb Dec 27 '13 at 6:05

3 Answers 3

The question ran afoul of both written and unwritten rules about posting.


It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ.


We expect askers to do a minimal amount of research before posting a question here.

In this case, consulting a paper or online dictionary to look up the definitions and English equivalents for each of these terms. Possibly that minimal research would have sufficed and the question would have been moot.

But what if that research had turned up an inconsistency? What if a reputable dictionary had given the exact same English "equivalents" for two or more German terms? Now that would have been interesting! For example, it could have sparked a lively discussion about congruency (or not) of the semantic fields covered by these words in German and English, perhaps coupled with a review of how these differences came about historically.

yeah, that's what I was thinking when reading this question. It could have been turned into an interesting discussion on finer points on how or when to use different German synonyms for to receive, to obtain. Instead, we heavily downvoted it, made an incomprehensible comment, and closed it. Why after that should the OP feel motivated to come back in order to improve their question? –  Takkat Mar 20 '13 at 9:12
Your concern is touching but probably misplaced. Besides the Question in question (haha) this Asker posted four other questions around the same time, which received 1, 2, 3 and 6 upvotes, respectively. I see no reason to believe that we chased away a promising contributor. Remember, the closed Q has not been deleted and the Asker may improve it at any time if she or he chooses. –  Eugene Seidel Mar 21 '13 at 6:56
I've researched the similar question (googled the difference between bekommen, erhalten and kriegen). Where did I come to? Right, to heavily downvoted question. IMHO, the question is crystal clear. There are verbs which are nearly synonyms or at least their meanings is very close (they all mean "to get" for foreigner). And dictionary doesn't help much. It's a pity that people decided to downvote instead of helping not only the OP, but hundred other people who would have the same question. –  Dmitry Osinovskiy Aug 15 '13 at 0:44

I don't remember my first days, and from the privilege page, I can only inform myself, that you need 50 points to comment everywhere. So can you comment without points in your own posts? Did libuz have 50 points then?

If either case was true, he could have reacted in the comment section. He didn't, so maybe he wasn't too much interested in the question. Which fit's to the kind of question which looks like "Do some work and vote me up".

Users can always comment on or edit their own questions. Reputation is needed for commenting everywhere. –  Takkat Mar 29 '13 at 8:15

The list of words (verbs) in the question seemed to be "random." I can see a beginner reasonably confusing "bekommen" and "behalten." (In her auto biography, Maria von Trapp related an amusing story of the confusion a GERMAN speaker created when trying to use their "false friend" English equivalents, become and behold.)

I can see grounds for confusion between "entgegennehmen" and "emfangen." Again these words might be similar enough to the "untrained" (foreign) eye for one to mix them up.

I have been known to confuse "verdachtig," and "verdachten" which do not exist in German, with the correct word "verdächtigen." Not all of these can be found in the dictionary, because two of these forms don't exist. That might be a typical "foreigner" problem that the site is equipped to address. What is the difference between "verdachten" and "vermuten"? At least I knew enough to "mix up" word forms.

But the more words the above questioner adds to the mix, the harder it is to believe that mere confusion is at work. From the apparent look of it (to someone who is learning himself), it seems that the learner is just throwing out a laundry list of German words without even trying to sort them out in his own mind.

Thus, it seems that the questioner has crossed the line between mere "confusion" between a few choices and asking people to translate large number of words. And "lists" are something we aren't supposed to have to deal with on this site. Moreover, the questioner didn't provide a context for why these words were chosen, so that we can't reconstruct his thinking. These are probably the reasons why the question was considered "bad."


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