This question asks about a way to translate “original poster”, i.e. “OP”, into Italian. In its phrasing it seems to solicit original proposals (rather than, say, just asking whether there is already an existing way to say that concept), and indeed the answers as I write are phrased by way of direi... (I would say) or Io propongo... (I suggest).

I feel that such a question, and the answers it brings on, are a bit on the opinion-based side. I don't believe the intent of this site should be to create or propose new words and phrases (even though it is an interesting and useful effort).

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    I agree: the question should be reformulated to ask whether there exists a commonly used translation.
    – egreg Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 10:44
  • @egreg I'm open to rephrasing the question, but it's unclear to me why the question is so "opinion based". Surely we can all agree in what is a good answer (joke answers do not count)?
    – Denis Nardin Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 11:26

2 Answers 2


So, question asker here. I'll try to explain why I think this kind of questions should be acceptable.

I understand that "finding the correct translation" of a term is often opinion-based, especially if this is a relatively niche term that hasn't find its way in the dictionaries (and of course if the term had found its way in the dictionaries the question would be off-topic for a completely different reason). However these kind of questions seem to be well-received in other language SE sites. For example, both English.SE and French.SE have whole tags about them (1, 2, 3 and 4).

Aside from that argument from authority, language is a slippery topic, and we cannot expect the same amount of exactness in the answers to questions based on language than, for example, questions about mathematics or programming. "How do I say this?" is a concrete problem that people have when speaking a language that's not their own (or, as in my case, that is their own but that they do not use in certain contexts). It is true that there is often no "right" answer (and sometimes no answer at all!), but such is the nature of the subject.

If we allow people to ask only questions we are sure admit a unique answer, this site would devolve on little more than a transcription of Serianni's book together with some of the more interesting articles by the Accademia della Crusca. We can do better than that, without losing sight of the limitations and goals of the SE format.

That said, I agree that such questions should not devolve into discussions. I would strongly suggest to stick to the format of "one answer per post" and be more aggressive than usual to move comments to chat.

  • I think your question fits better to "phrase-request" than to "single-word-requests": we have already this tag. See, for instance, a question on ELU.SE with this tag that, in a certain sense, I believe is similar to yours.
    – Charo Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 11:44
  • Uhm, I wasn't aware they had a distinction between "phrase-request" and "single-word-requests". Anyway it does not really change the main point
    – Denis Nardin Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 11:52
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    I agree with you: I was only pointing out that I believe this is a good tag for your question.
    – Charo Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 11:54
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    Yes, sorry if I came a bit harsh. Communicating through the internet is hard :). Thanks for the edit!
    – Denis Nardin Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 11:58

I don't see this question so different from this one on ELU.SE which is asking for some English translation proposals for a Polish expression (since probably it doesn't exist an exact translation in English of such Polish expression). You can see there is a quite large amount of answers giving plenty of possible translations. In my opinion, the question would be opinion based if it were asking which of all these proposals is the best one. But I see no problem in asking for some different proposals. And, if this kind of questions is accepted on ELU.SE, I don't see why it should be rejected in our site.

  • Thanks for the example you propose, since it gives me a way better to clarify my objection. In that question the answers requested for, and obtained, are of the form “The standard English answer would be...”, “[XXX] is common short-hand”, “A commonly used idiomatic expression is...”, and so on, and they quote from The New York Times, specialist texts, collection of idioms and the like. In the Italian question at hand, on the contrary, the focus seems to be on original proposals.
    – DaG
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 13:39
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    @DaG It seems to me that you are comparing the question to the answers. I do not see any difference between the questions (and of course, answers that do reference attested usage are better)
    – Denis Nardin Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 15:04
  • @DenisNardin: The fact that you appreciated the suggestion autore originale, which is not currently used in Italian groups or websites (and if it is, it should be stressed in the answer), made me understand that you are looking for proposals of new Italian phrases to express that notion. If this is not the case, you should make it clear in your question (and that would mean that the current answers miss the point, with the partial exception of the mention of capothread).
    – DaG
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 17:00
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    @DaG I don't particularly care if the expression is new or old, but it needs to be immediately comprehensible to an Italian speaker, without much ambiguity (as original poster is for an English speaker). Do you think this needs to be spelled out? Honestly, I'm not looking for a fixed expression that you could find in a dictionary, just what words could I use in the future when I'm writing, e.g., comments on Italian.SE :)
    – Denis Nardin Mod
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 17:12
  • It should be noted, though, that there are cultural-based differences: while some cultures have a strong tendency to reject anglicisms, English terms and acronyms are widely and commonly used in Italian (especially in the social media and internet semantic realm). Therefore, for many words, some languages are more likely to have an "established" local translation, which can be considered "objective/official". [...continue...]
    – secan
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 10:10
  • [...] In other words, IMVHO, asking how to translate an anglicism can be a more or less opinion-based question, depending on the target culture/language. In the case that originated this thread (italian.stackexchange.com/questions/10045/…), I think any proposed translation would be merely based on opinion and personal preferences rather than on the actual use of the Italian language.
    – secan
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 10:14
  • @DenisNardin, if your aim is to identify immediately and without ambiguity the person who initiated a thread (or any other person participating to it), the easiest and more direct way is to refer to him/her using his/her nickname (after all, that is what nicknames are for). OP still makes sense because it replaces a potentially long nickname with a two-character acronym but then replacing OP with "autore originale" (or any other relatively long expression) does not seem very practical and you could not replace it with a corresponding acronym (e.g. AO) because nobody would understand it.
    – secan
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 10:34

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