The question "Essas falas da Dilma possuem erros de regência?" shows a bunch of unrelated transcripts, which only have in common the person who said them (Dilma Roussef, president of Brazil), and asks whether any of them have any errors [of the type regência], without specifying exactly what is being looked for.

I'm not a frequent user of portuguese.SE, so I don't know much about the rules here; can this question be considered too broad? If the asker is really interested in the language aspects per se (considering who is being quoted, I highly doubt it, but that's just me), shouldn't he/she ask separate questions for each one, or maybe even several in the same question, but at least pointing out what exactly they have in common which is believed to be in error? Or is this question format ok here?

  • 2
    Yes it is too broad. If the errors are the same he can explain them in one question. But if the sentences have multiple errors he has to ask separate questions.
    – Jorge B. Mod
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 8:05
  • That was a very swift acceptance of my answer, mgibsonbr. Not that I'm protesting. I'm however interested in knowing other people's views.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 12:52
  • @Jacinto Well, I think you covered every important point IMHO, didn't find necessary to wait any longer (especially since the question was already closed). But if anyone has anything to add, or some counter argument, etc, I hope having an accepted answer don't dissuade too much from posting it.
    – mgibsonbr
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 16:29

1 Answer 1


In my view this question is not ok for this site for several reasons. The main one is that it does not ask about a particular issue. Here’s an example of what a legitimate question inspired in one Dilma’s quotes might look like.

Title: ”Tem obras que vai durar” or “tem obras que vão durar”?

Body: In a recent speech Dilma said: “tem obras que vai durar pra depois de 2010.” Is this correct, or should we say tem obras que vão durar?

This question raises a particular issue. Users might then choose to answer the question, direct the OP to related questions, vote to close as duplicate if appropriate, etc. If the question was not a duplicate, it and its answers would then be available for future users, who could easily identify what the specific issue was about just by looking at the title.

Instead the OP presents a lot of text and asks us to comb it for errors. This should not be accepted, regardless of the source. Suppose we found lots of disparate errors. Then each error, if it hadn’t yet been addressed in another question, should be dealt with separately and be available for future reference under an appropriate title. What about things the OP thought were mistakes but we thought were fine? We would be unable to address them, because the OP has not told us what his or her issues were. So, in effect, the OP, rather than present us with specific issues, asked us to proofread a text. But we are not proof-readers. We are about providing answers to specific issues, which will then be available for reference.

That’s one way of looking at things. Another way is to say the question is not about a particular Portuguese language issue: it is about how a particular person spoke. That’s off-topic. We’re not about personalities. Note, that in my example question above, I bent over backwards to keep some of the spirit of the OP’s question. However any reference to Dilma would be absolutely unnecessary: to discuss whether “tem obras que vai durar” is right or wrong there’s no need to know who said it, unless they are some authority in language matters.

If we allowed this precedent, how many curious bits of speeches by public figures would we end up with here? Either because the OP didn’t know how to frame the question appropriately, or because they wanted to have a laugh at someone’s expense, or wage some sort of campaign? Whatever the reason might be, we don’t want to become a venue for that.

And if there is any doubt about this just go and have a good look at the question and answer. How will any user view them? Is it going to be “Ah, here is an interesting aspect of Portuguese grammar?” No, it will be, “Ah, that’s how Dilma spoke, and how whoever transcribed the speeches made an appalling job at it.”

So, off-topic would actually be the best reason to close the question. But when I voted to close the question all of these was a bit hazy in my mind, and I found it difficult to select one of the reasons on the menu. At the time it looked as though none fitted very well. I ended up choosing the question was unclear: it was not clear where or what the OP thought the mistakes were. I suppose the other voters faced the same difficulties, and chose the question was too broad. I actually think the question is not too broad (vague is more like it). The help centre says a question is too broad if it took an entire book to answer or it has many valid answers. Now, Arthur Azevedo Amorim gave a fine, short answer to the question. So excessive breadth is not the problem. But there are lots of others.

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