How can this How does "debt prescription" work in America (Utah if that matters)? be unclear? I specifically asked about terminology and gave an example from South African English asking for the American English synonym.

Someone also managed to give a correct answer so obviously it wasn't unclear if you had the right background knowledge.

2 Answers 2


First, keep in mind, I am a mod, but neither I, nor any other moderator, closed the question. It was closed by 5 regular members.

That said, a question was asked, and 4 different members tried to prompt you to add more detail to make the question more clear. Members were not quick to close, but waited. It was 3 days after the last comment went unanswered that the question was closed. 'Closed' doesn't mean deleted. You were welcome to edit the question and vote to reopen it.

It's been over a year, and you are still welcome to edit. I'd highly recommend you take the tour and see the kind of questions that are a fit for this stack. More important, you'll see how good questions are worded to get good answers.


I'd go a bit further than JoeTaxpayer here, and explain how you might have helped things along.

We're not really a translation service here. "What is the word for X in Y language/dialect" is not a great question on this site.

Why? Because, in part, what you saw: most of us don't know, and can't do anything more than google what it is ourselves.

But also, in part, because it's not really doing anything more than taking one technical term and making it into another technical term.

It's also not really what you want to know, at the end of the day. What you wanted to know is, what is the term in American English for [the concept that debt prescription means in South African English]? And the way you get to that is by asking that question.

In South Africa, we use the term "debt prescription" to refer to debts that are considered no longer valid after a period of time. An example would be if a person were to owe a debt, and then many years pass, there is a point at which they no longer are considered to owe that debt, and could not be sued in a court of law. How can I refer to this concept in American English?

Brythan tried to help you get to this in the comments, but you didn't take their advice.

The important thing here is to explain the term in neutral (non-regional) language, and to include more information in your question. Your initial question was simply too short and cursory, and while someone was able to guess at what you wanted, that's not really how we prefer to operate here; we're happy to answer complete, clear questions.

We'd also prefer not to have to do work in order to understand the question. Notice the answerer appears to have first worked out what 'debt prescription' means, and then translated it. A good question will already contain that information. This not only gets you a better answer, but it saves the volunteers who answer your question time too.

Hopefully that helps you understand why it was closed, and what you can do to get better answers in the future! Definitely also spend some time reading the faq and the help center as well.

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