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I have posted two essays in the linguistics stackexchange which are in the form of a question followed by a long discussion of the answer given in the form of many answers by me, one answer for each section of the essay after the topic. One of these has been put on hold, for reasons I find mysterious, and I was invited to raise the difficulty here. So here goes.

One of the essays, on the question of intermediate forms in phonological derivations, has not yet been attacked. It is here: Eliminating intermediary forms to account for production and perception. The other essay, on the question of describing grammatical relations as differences in level (in a certain sense), which has been put on hold, is here: How can PSG describe the vertical dimension of sentence structure?.

The official reason cited for putting the second essay on hold was that it is "too broad", specifically "There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs." I'm not aware of any other answer that has ever been given to describe the factual instances of levels I gave in the third section of my essay (the answer titled Vertical levels), for instance the predicting of precisely five types of English auxiliary verbs. So I guess what is meant by the "too broad" objection is that "good answers would be too long for this format".

But actually each of the answers I gave (corresponding to sections of the essay) is quite short. In the comments to my question, two commenters suggested that I reformat my essay as one long answer, as a remedy to the defect they saw in what I wrote, but of course that would make the new answer rather long. So how could that fix the problem of a question requiring a long answer? This does not make sense.

One commenter implied that I shouldn't provide multiple answers to my own question, but I see nothing in the site help files to prohibit this. Did I really break a rule?

One commenter said that the sections of my essay would be viewed in random order instead of the order I intended, but I pointed out that this is not so provided a reader clicks on the "oldest" option at the end of the question. In any case, this seems irrelevant to whether my question is really "too broad".

In summary, I don't see anything wrong with the form of the essay I posted, and the reasons cited for putting it on hold seem incoherent.

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    A problem with an essay split in several parts is that the parts will be displayed out of logical order. (Ab)using votes to sort them is of limited help, because other answers may just interfere. – jk - Reinstate Monica Jun 1 '16 at 15:38
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First of all, the fact that you call it "essay" already shows why we're not on the same page. SE sites are Q&A sites: you post a question, and then a variable number of users will give you an answer to that question. Both can be long or short but you're not posting an essay, you're posting an answer. There's nothing wrong with an answer being long as long as whatever is inside is related to the question and since questions on SE are meant to have a narrow scope, answers aren't going to be that long because of that.

If you ask a broad question, as is your case, then of course answers will have a lot more to cover, but the problem here is not the answers per se, it's the question. We have a close reason for broad questions because SE sites are meant to answer a more or less narrow topic.

The same applies to "discussion": this is not a forum, there are no discussions, or at least, there aren't any of the same type as those you could find on a forum board.

One of the essays, on the question of intermediate forms in phonological derivations, has not yet been attacked. It is here: Eliminating intermediary forms to account for production and perception. The other essay, on the question of describing grammatical relations as differences in level (in a certain sense), which has been put on hold, is here: How can PSG describe the vertical dimension of sentence structure?.

"Attacked"? Maybe you shouldn't use loaded words, there was no attack. I'm just enforcing the rules of a website I've been called to supervise. The question I closed was called to my attention, the other I didn't see until now. I have and it seems fine, but your answers should be reduced to a single answer: just focus on the point of the question, you don't have to present a paper based on it. Just answer the question.

The official reason cited for putting the second essay on hold was that it is "too broad", specifically "There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs." I'm not aware of any other answer that has ever been given to describe the factual instances of levels I gave in the third section of my essay (the answer titled Vertical levels), for instance the predicting of precisely five types of English auxiliary verbs. So I guess what is meant by the "too broad" objection is that "good answers would be too long for this format".

Your guess is wrong, good answers are scoped, concise, to the point and while providing some context, they do not become essays. That's what the close reason means.

But actually each of the answers I gave (corresponding to sections of the essay) is quite short. In the comments to my question, two commenters suggested that I reformat my essay as one long answer, as a remedy to the defect they saw in what I wrote, but of course that would make the new answer rather long. So how could that fix the problem of a question requiring a long answer? This does not make sense.

Again, a long answer is not the problem if it's necessary to answer a well-scoped question. If the question is OK and you need to give a long answer to cover it, then so be it. I have given long answers myself, but if the question is asking about everything and you give an answer that can easily be made into a paper, this is the wrong place for both the question and the answer. All SE is asking you is to narrow it down.

One commenter implied that I shouldn't provide multiple answers to my own question, but I see nothing in the site help files to prohibit this. Did I really break a rule?

One commenter said that the sections of my essay would be viewed in random order instead of the order I intended, but I pointed out that this is not so provided a reader clicks on the "oldest" option at the end of the question. In any case, this seems irrelevant to whether my question is really "too broad".

Multiple answers by the same author are rare, it really depends on the question and each case. Typically, there is no need for more than one answer per user, especially on a site like Linguistics. On a site like StackOverflow, this might happen since you provide two different solutions to one problem, for example using different programming languages. But here, there is no case that comes to my mind that could justify that.

In conclusion:

  • Narrow down your question and reword the answers to fit in one. If you really don't want to lose all that material, start a Linguistics blog and you can even link to it from your answer for "additional context". There was the possibility to create blogs on SE sites, but apparently it has been discontinued. If you want to create one for Linguistics SE, I won't be opposed, and on the contrary, I think it'd be a nice idea. You can try contacting SE directly and see if something can be done. Of course, this means that you should commit yourself to it.

  • Merge the answers on the other question, which doesn't seem broad to me, and that's why I'm not closing it for now. But you should merge the answers.

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Your recent question on vertical dimensions was closed as "too broad", but that doesn't mean that all the votes were for that reason - I'm pretty sure I voted to close it as "unclear what you're asking." In fact I'm still unclear, and you have not edited the question to explain further despite me asking in the comments for you to do so. A question does not have to be at such a basic level such that every person on the planet will instantly understand it, but it should be possible for someone who doesn't to come to an understanding in a reasonable amount of time. Questions concerning obscure topics such as yours should be accompanied by links or citations to books.

When I search Google for "vertical dimension of sentence structure", the first result is your own question, which is not a good sign. The second result doesn't seem to be about anything other than the idea that linguists draw syntax trees. Down further is a Wikipedia article on Catena, a topic in dependency grammars, which does seem similar to your answers, but it doesn't mention declensions or case which your question does. Other responses link to several books in Google Books. In none of these is it clear that they are talking about what you are asking about. For this reason it is completely appropriate that your question be closed.

But in fact, as you wrote in a comment, this concept of a "vertical dimension" is an original feature of your theory! I would not have a problem with someone presenting a new linguistic theory or framework in order to answer another question. But you can't ask a question about a new theory, one which no one but you understands! That's completely ridiculous!

Answers can be 30000 characters long, or about 5000 words. Very occasionally a very detailed answer will need to be broken up into two posts, but I've only seen one or two such posts which I thought actually warranted that level of detail. Your ten answers come to just over 20000 characters. Even accounting for formatting they would fit comfortably in a single post.

But posting a multi part answer is a distraction from the real problem with your question. You have a new theory, and I guess you want some feedback on it. You have in effect posted a moderate length research article here. You should not be posting it here, you should be submitting it to a journal. If you want feedback I'm sure many of our community members would be interested in reading it, so you should ask on chat for that. I'd be interested myself.

Something like this needs to be written and formatted as a research article, with an introduction, explanation of the problem, some level of literature review, development of the new model, and arguments for why it has superior explanatory power over existing models.

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    I would have been happy to give arguments for superior explanatory power, if I had been asked that. Among the predictions of the theory are the Coordinate Structure Constraint and Across-the-board Condition of Ross, the constraints discovered by Zeno Vendler on multiple adverbs of the same type and on coordinating adverbs of different types, and the scope constraints described by McCawley between adverbs and quantifiers on verb arguments. It's a pity if Stackexchange really has a rule against ever saying anything new. – Greg Lee Jun 2 '16 at 19:59
  • @GregLee There isn't a rule against saying something new - you have to make your question comprehensible by itself. Right now it doesn't make sense unless you've read the answers. – curiousdannii Jun 2 '16 at 23:42
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    @GregLee academia.edu would be a much better place for posting "new" ideas in an essay format. You can also open it there for discussion. – Alex B. Jun 12 '16 at 18:35
  • It is a good sign. When I google my highly-upvoted question here, I get my question listed first because Google lists the word that match more first. – zixuan Feb 2 '19 at 14:11

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