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I asked this question: Is there a general name for a group connected to a N-atom?

While it may not be the peak of my SE presence, I was surprised that it got closed as a homework. The question itself, as it turned out, may be silly for a chemistry expert, but I really don't see it being about asking you to solve a homework problem.

I had a legitimate motivation which I included in the body, and elaborated on my own research I did before asking it. I'm honestly not sure what did I miss.

What else should've I do to avoid my question being labeled as a homework question?

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  • $\begingroup$ Related: chemistry.stackexchange.com/q/44349/72973. Maybe reference this when editing your question. $\endgroup$
    – Karsten Mod
    Jan 25, 2023 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ Quite frankly, I don't understand why this was closed. I voted to reopen. By the way, if the homework reason really means 'lack of research', it needs to be renamed... $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2023 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol I agree hence I VTR'd. Granted, the first draft of the question was quite unclear and was unclear but OP made drastic revisions and now it is clear what OP actually needed. $\endgroup$ Jan 26, 2023 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithoron I think it was perfectly clear (your edit really didn't change anything), and I like it enough to vouch for it being on SE. I don't know what kind of questions you actually like, but if you are hoping for exciting, graduate-level chemistry which sparks deep discussions, that ship kind of sailed a long time ago, unfortunately. $\endgroup$ Jan 26, 2023 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ It looks fine as of when I am posting this comment. $\endgroup$ May 21, 2023 at 16:20

1 Answer 1

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TL;DR: This is imo a borderline case, with a problem formulated in a confusing way, with an answer that would be useful to you and others, but mostly about English writing in a scientific context.

I see a problem with the question because it seems to be mostly about English as used in scientific writing (yes, of course in the specific context of chemistry). Others (specifically those who voted to close) may be of the opinion that you should have done more research before posting the question, or that there is no clear problem, as suggested by comments.

It is not uncommon to wonder what terminology is appropriate in various chemical contexts. This is why the terminology tag exists. Such questions are common here and are often well received. However, here the question was muddled by being potentially more about English usage rather than chemical terminology. You will sometimes encounter "bad" English (in a grammatical sense) in scientific writing because the author is aiming for conciseness (a typical example is use of nouns as adjectives). In the case of your question, you might say "N-bound so-and-so" rather than "the so-and-so group connected to the N-atom". I am not sure whether IUPAC has a strong opinion here, or whether the use of a compact scientific writing style justifies the more compact terminology. I am therefore also unsure whether it would not be better instead addressed by an SE site such as Writing SE. But since the answer might not be obvious there is no harm with submitting the question at chem SE, it just happened to be a tad confusing.

Regarding policy: votes to close come (usually) from 5 different participants with the right to place such a vote (at least 3k rep). These votes might however be for different reasons (I for one cannot see the list of individual votes) and the reason shown in the end (and only to you and participants with sufficient rep) is an average of these.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your input, it is appreciated. I do still have some doubts: I was specifically looking for a proper chemical term, not just for an English phrase. Before I asked the question, I did not know there's probably no such proper term. The presence of the terminology tag was exactly what convinced me that the question is on-topic. A negative answer of "there's no such term" is a good answer, but I think it shouldn't mean the question is off-topic. Are terminology questions restricted to some more specific cases? $\endgroup$
    – Neinstein
    Jan 25, 2023 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ The term "N-bound" might not be official. While the term is encountered in the literature, I am not sure IUPAC has provided an official opinion (likely the answer is yes, but then you have to dig up where this is stated). Ideally 'terminology' answers should be supported by official documentation, but terminology can have a less official meaning: chemistry.stackexchange.com/tags/terminology/info $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Jan 25, 2023 at 9:12
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    $\begingroup$ Another 2 cents: participants here often don't have a lot of time to devote to a particular post. They might act on instinct. Instinctively, when I read your post I was confused about what you were asking (similar to Mithoron's reaction). It took a number of comments and re-reading before realizing that maybe there was a real question there. If you don't take care to format your question properly, viewers may gauge you need to take more time reviewing it. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Jan 25, 2023 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ N-substituted is another related term but it refers to the group containing the nitrogen rather than the substituent on N. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Jan 25, 2023 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the input, I'll keep them in mind for my next questions. I'll attempt an edit to this one. $\endgroup$
    – Neinstein
    Jan 25, 2023 at 9:31
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    $\begingroup$ It is strange there is a locant (N-methyl vs 3-methyl) but no corresponding language to describe it. $\endgroup$
    – Karsten Mod
    Jan 25, 2023 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ In biochemistry, there are N-linked and O-linked sugars… $\endgroup$
    – Karsten Mod
    Jan 25, 2023 at 12:33

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