This may be a simple question (the link is for 10k users), but why is it downvoted with no comments? Normally commenting is required when you downvote in Stack Exchange sites, right?

when I read "yet another human being", it seems wrong.
"yet another a human being" feels correct.
Which way is correct ?

This question is far too localised. It's not an appropriate context for general discussion of reasons for downvoting, nor is there anything interesting to be considered in the specific case. OP's original question on main was closed because it was far too basic, and that's all there is to it. –  FumbleFingers Jul 19 '12 at 23:19
The question in question was deleted. This means that few users will find this question very helpful, without seeing what the OP asked on EL&U. –  kiamlaluno Jul 20 '12 at 13:34
@kiamlaluno: That's true, but that's not the fault of the O.P. (The question had not yet been deleted when this meta question was asked). –  J.R. Jul 22 '12 at 9:57
@J.R. I didn't say it is OP's fault. :) –  kiamlaluno Jul 22 '12 at 9:59
Since you are a new user, I want to make sure you understand that downvotes on this meta question do not harm your reputation. On meta, voting is used to indicate agreement or disagreement with a question rather than to indicate helpfulness or quality. –  Kit Z. Fox Jul 26 '12 at 22:20
@FumbleFingers Meta is an appropriate place to ask this question as it provides more room for users to explain why they voted to close a particular question. It can't really be too localized if it is helping a user understand the community's actions, and there are many such questions here. –  Kit Z. Fox Jul 26 '12 at 22:23
@KitFox: Perhaps. But when I voted to close there were already two answers which imho covered everything specifically relevant (and no-one since has contributed anything that isn't perfectly well expressed as a comment). I just don't see this particular page is a good context to widen the discussion to downvoting of questions in general (a discussion that never got far on this meta question) either. –  FumbleFingers Jul 27 '12 at 0:15
@Fumble I am re-reading our comments, and I think I must be confused. When you say "This question is far too localized," my impression is that you mean this meta question is too localized, i.e. "why was my question closed?" If that is in fact what you mean, then I think you are wrong. Meta is an appropriate venue for users to ask this very question, and as far as I know, they are encouraged to do so if they want clarification about why their specific question didn't meet our requirements. –  Kit Z. Fox Jul 27 '12 at 0:22
@KitFox: I did indeed mean this meta question is too localised. The main question it referenced was unbelievably basic in my opinion. You may want ELU to present a "warm and inviting" face to people asking anything at all relevant to "English". I don't want that level of question here, and I don't see how you square it with the fact that ELU is for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts. It's not for people who don't even come close to that definition - they need SE.ESL –  FumbleFingers Jul 27 '12 at 0:45
@everyone : I got the point here.As I commented on the answer below ELU is beyond my English knowledge level.And now I know where to go for simple English questions. –  D-Shan Jul 27 '12 at 8:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

First off, Mitch made a great summary, so I upvoted his answer.

I wanted to add, remember "official" reason for a downvote: "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful." With that in mind, any question that reads:

X "seems" wrong
Y "feels" correct
Which one is correct?

with little-to-no elaboaration or explanation is practically inviting a downvote. My advice: Don't come to a language forum for serious language enthusiasts, and spend 30 seconds writing your question. (Or, put another way, feel free to do just that, but don't be surprised if the question gets downvoted. Did you seriously expect that question would get upvoted?)

One more thing: I've dispensed advice like this before, and was told, "aren't you expecting a lot from a non-native speaker?" I didn't say the question has to be free from errors or grammatical mistakes (the community seems to be very tolerant of those, when an obvious effort has been made), I merely said it should be written in a way that shows you have done some preliminary research. Sometimes 5 minutes of research will answer your question; sometimes it will only puzzle you more. Save your questions here for the latter case. (If that's too much to ask, I strongly suggest creating an account at Yahoo! Answers, where you'll get several helpful responses, and won't need to worry about downvotes).

In this case, I get almost 9 million hits when I Googled "yet another human being." I found over 3,000 citations in Google books.

Did you Google it? (Perhaps you didn't; if that's true, then the question shows no research. Perhaps you did, but you didn't tell us why you remained confused; in that case, the question is unclear).

Actually I hadn't figured out that just by googling "Yet another human being" I'll get the correct answer.Instead I googled "is it yet another human being or yet another a human being?" which didn't give any clue.And I get that simple questions better be asked at Yahoo!Answeres :) btw I never expected upvotes. –  D-Shan Jul 20 '12 at 3:54
@D-Shan: I'll admit, there's an art to finding information through Google, and not everyone necessarily understands the best ways to do it. Here are some tips that might be helpful: (1) prune down your search to the basic elements of the text you wonder about; (2) put that text inside quotation marks (which will make Google look for exact matches); (3) after the results are returned, in the left-hand column, click More, then click Books (this will show you where that phrase has been published in literature). Good luck :^) –  J.R. Jul 20 '12 at 8:46
  • no one knows why a down vote is given unless someone explains their own vote (and that's an explanation for only one vote)
  • It is suggested and even encouraged to explain a down vote, but it is not necessary. If it were made necessary then I'm sure there would be many fewer downvotes, and then that would mess up the utility of voting, having no way to express disapproval in a simple manner (what if every upvote required explanation? (and by parity if downvotes require them, don't you think upvotes should too?)
  • sometimes the reason is too simple ('I just don't like it') or too rude ('this is dumb') or too complex (faulty assumptions, opinionated, worded tendentiously, etc) to warrant the effort to respond. So instead a quick -1 shows general disapproval.

This is all very general. For ELU at least, there's is a broad range of question quality. Those that show a very basic misunderstanding of elementary English are likely not to be voted well, without explanation.

For this particular question, I can only guess what the downvoters think:

  • maybe it is because it is so basic
  • the question is almost posed as why -you- would feel that the obviously incorrect alternative (to native speakers) is correct, and that is impossible for anyone to have a clue about. Why does your arm hurt? I don't know, what have you been doing with it? Stop doing that then.

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