What is the site policy on using Hebrew terminology and other jargon in questions and answers?

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1 Answer 1

The community has generally accepted the following jargon guidelines. They're not hard-and-fast rules, but should be considered by users when posting and when editing others' posts.

When writing questions and answers on Mi Yodeya, the overall guiding principle you should have in mind is:

Will any English speaker who is interested in this content be able to understand what it means without additional research?

Here are some guidelines that come out of this:

  • Don't use non-English terms gratuitously. If there's an English term that conveys your meaning smoothly, just use it. (But there won't always be one.)

    • Not: How much should we pay people involved in chinuch?
    • Not even: How much should we pay people involved in chinuch (Jewish education)?
    • Yes: How much should we pay people involved in Jewish education?
  • If you use a non-English or specialized term that your readers might not know, define it the first time or link to a definition. You can keep jargon in a question title as long as you define or link it in the body.

    • No: Turning on a light might be prohibited under the Melacha of Makeh Bapatish.
    • OK: Turning on a light might be prohibited under the Melacha (category of creative labor) of Makeh Bapatish (finishing touch).
    • Better: Turning on a light might be prohibited under the Melacha of Makeh Bapatish.
  • Terms that anyone who may be interested in the content would know are fine by themselves.

    • Fine: How should I purse my lips when blowing a shofar? No one will care about this if they don't already know what a shofar is.
    • Not so fine: The Yom Kippur service concludes with a shofar blast. All a person needs to know to potentially care about this is that there's a holiday called Yom Kippur.
    • Fixed: The Yom Kippur service concludes with a shofar blast. 'Yom Kippur' itself is common in English.

Again, these are not hard-and-fast rules. If a question is asked such that it is clear that the asker is unfamiliar with the usual jargon, the answerer should be more explanatory with his/her terminology; and vice versa.


These guidelines were copy-pasted from another question, its answers, and comments on both. See there for a contributor list, and to discuss these guidelines.

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