So, I've made a few threads about questions from Internet forums. A thing that confuses me is why is this question so much worse than that question? In the first question, I at least did some research (that a Latin phrase sounding similar to "Wyoming" would be "vae omini"), while I did no such research for the second question. If anything, the second question should get deleted, not the first one.


The first question was deleted by an automatic process, not manually. The system detects question that meet certain criteria (old enough, low enough score, no answers) and deletes them without mentioning anyone. The question is therefore "why was it so badly received" rather than "why was it deleted", but the question is indeed good.

The comments under the deleted question also hint at the problem. Our users generally dislike unjustified etymology questions, in which category your question about Wyoming unfortunately falls. If two expressions from two very different languages and contexts sound vaguely similar, there is no reason to expect a reason for it. Our site has seen highly speculative etymological posts, and many are tired of it. This historical burden has an effect on your post but is not your fault.

To ask a successful question about whether two things are etymologically related, you should produce a plausible connection and ask whether it works. What qualifies as plausible is hard to describe. Etymology as a topic is one of the hardest ones to ask about on this site. Fortunately the comments gave you an answer to the inquiry: there is no etymological connection.

The second question type is far more popular with our voters. Asking for a translation is straightforward and answerable. It also has an interesting twist about the restrictions of Latin grammar, so it is not a mere "please translate this for me" question.

One of the major reasons for the difference in reception is topic, but it doesn't explain everything.


I can give some explanation about what happened to the second question: its timeline shows it became a Hot Network Question on November 9th, 15:08 and your reputation history shows all but one upvote were after that moment. (I can't see the other question because of lack of reputation.) I'm not judging the question itself, but this could be a prime example of one of the fundamental problems with the Hot Network Questions list: it is known to skew votes, because it attracts lots of visitors which only have the association bonus; they can upvote but not downvote. Some relevant discussion can be found here and linked topics on Meta Stack Exchange.


Even if the background is similar, it’s harder to write a good answer to the first question. “Does “Wyoming” mean “no state here” in Latin?“ “No.” (Any further explanation wouldn’t be about Latin.)

Vs with the question “How do you say “Heroes are never forgotten.” in Latin?”, you got several answers with relevant information about Latin.

A yes-no etymology question where it seems to be fairly easy to find out that the answer is unrelated to Latin is less likely to be received well than an open-ended question that asks about how to express some idea in Latin.

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