My understanding for this site is that it is to help people learn Japanese, and that it should be open and welcoming to people learning basics.
However, I've noticed a fair amount of heavy linguistic terminology which is like having to learn a whole separate field of study on top of Japanese. Like this example from a recent question:
に can be used either as a dative case marker or as an element leading the agentive-phrase in passive.
... say what?
That kind of explanation is probably fascinating to linguists, but am I crazy in thinking that it makes Japanese into an academic exercise for experts and not something practical for people who want to experience life in the language?
I'm a native English speaker and consider myself articulate, but that statement is so steeped in linguistic terminology I have no idea what it is talking about. Or, more accurately, it's that it's so heavy with terminology that I am too overwhelmed with apathy to try and understand it. I want to learn Japanese, not how to describe Japanese in English.
That said, I know there are some linguists on this site that have provided interesting insights which I enjoyed, so it's not that there is nothing for the language learner in information from linguists. It's a matter of presentation: Can a Japanese learner, especially a new one, be expected to understand it? Do we really expect everyone who wants to learn Japanese to know what "dative" or "agentive-phrase" means?
Wikipedia tries (and admittedly often fails) at maintaining levels of readability and accessibility so that non-experts can understand the information offered.
Should we not aspire to the same thing?
Perhaps the best solution is to add a tag like "linguistics" so that members can specify what kind of learning they hope to achieve? Personally, if I knew if a questioner would want to get into the linguistics aspect, I would not attempt to answer or be involved in the discussion.
So, in short, my question is two fold:
Should this site aspire to make all questions and answers accessible?
Should there be a tag or some form of guidance to help members distinguish academia from practicality?
Please note: nowhere in this have I said, or do I mean, that linguistic discussion should be banned. I am merely suggesting it be made either more accessible and/or identifiable so that people who don't find it useful or engaging can circumvent it.
Update: A new point I thought of. Isn't the aim of this site to be of help to everyone who wants to improve their Japanese? The problem with overly technical linguistic terms is that it is exclusionary. People who understand it benefit, those who don't get nothing from it. However, in the opposite case, non-linguistic answers are accessible to everyone, including linguists.
So it seems to me that if the goal of this site is to be helpful to all who might use it, the onus is on the technical linguists to make their knowledge accessible to all, where accessible = readable without having to have words that even native English speakers don't understand.
Otherwise the linguists are using a forum built for everyone to do their own thing within it.