Would this question be on topic here? Should journalists be pointing out that “coronavirus spike” and “coronavirus spike protein” are misnomers when they use the terms?

It has nothing to do with fiction.

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    No, this is about scientific terminology and is not even remotely related to literature.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 19:27
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    My upvote on this meta question reflects appreciation that you asked here first, not support for the proposed question being on-topic. I agree with @Tsundoku's comment.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 19:31
  • @Tsundoku So does literature as applied to Literature.SE not include any of the following: 1.newspaper articles explaining scientific topics to laymen, 2. magazine articles aimed at laymen explaining science, 3. Popular science websites 4. Encylopedias like Wikipedia. What sorts of nonfiction is to be discussed here? Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:01
  • The question whether a specific text is literature cannot simply be answered by listing specific features that a text should have and then checking whether a text displays these features. See my answer to the question "What is literature?.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:05
  • @bobble How could I edit the question to make it on-topic? What if I asked whether this literature is flawed because it does not point out that the term is misnomeric? Or whether literature that points it out (rare indeed) is superior to literature that doesn't. Note that I am not asking about whether to use the term, nor what it means, but whether the writer should comment on the fact that it is at least a bit misnomeric. I for one have lost dozens of minutes thanks to not having this pointed out to me earlier. Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:08
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    Both still opinion based. "Is it flawed?" is opinion based - people disagree about what constitutes a flaw, what is a significant flaw, etc.. "Is X superior to Y?" is opinion based because people disagree about what would make something superior, how to balance the tradeoffs, etc.
    – bobble
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:13
  • Note that "What are the arguments that X is flawed?" is not opinion-based, because someone could do research into how people arguing one way support their claims. Maybe that's what you actually want? As I allude to in my answer, you have a textbook example of a leading question. "Should people do X? Here are reasons why I think they should do X, and here is some evidence to prove there is a problem."
    – bobble
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:16
  • @bobble Are you sure that questions have to be completely neutral? I think I've seen a lot of questions that ask more or less, 'am I right in thinking X?' Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:24
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    They don't have to be completely neutral. That's not a reason your question is off-topic. It can be a symptom of being opinion-based. The main problems with your question are what I listed in my answer: being opinion-based and not about literature as we define it.
    – bobble
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:25
  • @bobble I didn't think 'English literature' included nonfiction. Novels, poetry, plays, that's what I always thought it was. Not journalism. But someone at Writing told me Literature or ELU would be better for my question. With suitable editing if need be, where would be better for my question out of Writing and English Language? Is there a Science Writing at SE? Something else? Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:47
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    People on other sites don't always (and often don't) understand the scopes of other sites. Try asking a site-recommendation question on Meta Stack Exchange - that's the official place to ask "where can I ask this question?"
    – bobble
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 21:20

1 Answer 1



  1. I'm not sure this would be on-topic anywhere for SE, because it's opinion-based ("Should X do Y?"). It also seems to be fishing for a "yes" answer.
  2. This is about writing ("Should writers do this while writing?"). We analyze pre-existing literature (which does not, in general, include informational news articles) and related topics. We do not offer writing advice or opine on the correct way to write a scientific/news article.
  3. As @Tsundoku says, this is about scientific terminology. We're not arbiters of scientific terminology.

Thank you for asking here before posting following the advice of the commenter on Writing. Most people will have only a poor idea of the scopes of sites which they do not participate in. Thus you can't always trust the opinions of an SE user commenting on the scope of other sites.

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