Which term should be used for subj?

  • "Question" is ambiguous because it can also mean just the question part.
  • "Thread" is used, too, as per What is a "thread" called on SE? , but the current discussion shows that it doesn't seem to be accepted by community at large.

The established related terms are as follows:

  • "answer" and "comment" -- self-descriptive
  • "post" -- a unifying term for the large messages, this is what they are called internally in the database. For an entire page, I don't see such an official term.
  • I also used "question" to denote the "question post": the meaning seems clear if I place it in a context that hints that I'm considering things in the confines of the current page.
    • This, however, limits its use to such contexts, severely restricting the freedom of expression: I need to think carefully and set things up to help me each time.
  • Likewise, "another question" is clear about meaning another page. Its use is still limited to where this expression fits.

The best context-free term that I've come up with so far is "(a) Q&A".

  • It also means an operational model, but it's only used as such in philosophical discussions, which are rare, and it's often used as an expression "the Q&A model" in those.
  • Using an article also shows that it's meant as a countable noun while the "model" meaning is uncountable (in the phrase, it's used as a noun-based adjective AFAICS, "the" is related to "model")

I see that some others are using it, too.

The intended use case is:

  • To refer to a page (either current one or other one(s)), concisely and unambiguously, as a technical object, a building block of the site's content, like other types of pages or parts of a page.
  • Be usable and clear without context -- i.e. not require to adapt the surroundings for it to fit (so phrases constructed from common words likely not qualify -- I'd have to show somehow that I mean it as a term and not as a common phrase)

If the SE staff has an official term they use internally, it will surely be preferrable to any "fan nickname" unless the latter is vastly superior for the specified use.

(I asked the SE team if they have an internal term)


To keep things constuctive, please try to heed Good Subjective, Bad Subjective (I tried to).

  • 1
    I would just say the question page.
    – apaderno
    Apr 25 '18 at 12:31
  • 3
  • @gnat: Anything in particular? Apr 25 '18 at 15:24
  • nope @PeterMortensen - referred it just in case if it turns out that glossary needs to be updated with that term
    – gnat
    Apr 25 '18 at 15:43
  • I feel like this is a duplicate of some earlier discussion, but I can't find it at present. Apr 25 '18 at 17:45
  • 1
    Question and answer thread :/
    – user1228
    Apr 25 '18 at 20:56
  • @NathanTuggy ^^^ I think I found it
    – gnat
    Apr 26 '18 at 7:17
  • @gnat Not a duplicate because that one asks the inverse question. Apr 26 '18 at 15:39
  • @ivan_pozdeev: "inverse" question here means "same" question — each asks the real name most commonly used on SE for the entity described in approximate terms, and it's obvious that they are asking about the same entity. Apr 26 '18 at 19:15

"Thread" is a pretty good option. It's the term used in each "Moderator Election Q&A - Questionnaire" (example here), which are posted by Stack Exchange employee Grace Note (emphasis added):

In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

You can find the appropriate definition of "thread" in pretty much any dictionary, so it should be pretty self explanatory (for example it's definition 3c in Merriam-Webster).

  • 2
    Rubs me the wrong way because discussion threads are explcitly against the nature of SE as formless noise, and the UI filters comments and limits them specifically to prevent a discussion from degenerating into one of those. Apr 26 '18 at 2:56
  • Still, if one abstracts from that boogeyman of a meaning and considers it just another word that is free to use because it's not yet used for anything in the system... it's not so bad. Apr 26 '18 at 2:57
  • @ivan_pozdeev That post doesn't use the word "thread", so I'm not sure it sullies the term.
    – Jeremy
    Apr 26 '18 at 18:25
  • @JeremyBanks The blog post is pretty clear about what discussion model it condemns. How it calls it is irrelevant. Apr 26 '18 at 19:20
  • @JeremyBanks What is relevant is that "thread" means exactly that model in the net speak, so anyone using it effectively suggests to use that ineffective form of communication at the site specifically designed to obsolete it -- which is thus perceived as disruptive behaviour. Apr 26 '18 at 19:27
  • 1
    "Thread" as a term for something like "items related to a common theme added over time" is not an internet-era term, it's an existing term that takes on that a specific meaning in a forum context, which this is not.
    – Jeremy
    Apr 26 '18 at 19:30
  • 1
    @ivan_pozdeev Two years ago, on a very similar question I said "the only thing preventing Stack Exchange from using the word 'thread' is its forum connotation". It's a bit funny, since I believe we've forgotten the original design for Stack Overflow. The about page for years had this line: "we synthesize aspects of Wikis, Blogs, Forums, and Digg/Reddit in a way that we think is original".
    – Laurel
    Apr 26 '18 at 19:56

The SE team replied that they don't have any special internal term:

We do not have any sort of technical term for what you describe, and would just call it a question page or even just a question, probably alongside a list of other random, one-time-use names. What you're referring to in regards to "question" is often just inferred from the context around it - we've never had a need to create a term for it.

That said, "question page" actually seems clear and accurate regardless of context. So it can either be used as the primary term, or at least whenever "question" is not clear enough.

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