I would like to attract the attention of the respected community to the question about the gender of the word "кофе". The answer about the neuter gender has been accepted, so it's now sort of official answer of this FAQ, for which we all are responsible. Does it really reflect our average opinion? Does it set a high quality standard of this site as a Russian-language reference?

  • Interesting question. What is your resolution proposal in case the we agree that having that answer accepted was wrong? Jun 15, 2012 at 21:06
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    @bonomo I actually don't know. May be we can establish some sort of trusted "experts" (they need not be professional experts, but just someone not only active in RLU.SE but also showing really good knowledge of language and references) who could sort of vote in such cases. The question is: can admins dis-accept an answer? If not, they should contact the question author and ask him/her to remove the acceptance check mark.
    – texnic
    Jun 16, 2012 at 8:42

2 Answers 2


I see what you mean, and this might become an interesting question when incorrect answers get accepted, but in this precise case I would argue that there is nothing to discuss.

Unlike English, Russian is a regulated language with precise rules set by design and updated by a committee every few years, based on the changes in how the language is used by the general public.

Since 2009, кофе can officially be used both as a masculine and a neutre word. Whether we like it or not, the answer is correct, and whoever chooses to use кофе that way is correct, desite the fact that such usage may be frowned upon by many.

  • I would like to add that I accepted the answer despite the fact that I am NEVER going to use кофе as neutral. My question was not about what to use, but about the official status of the word Jun 16, 2012 at 0:28
  • I should agree with both Philip and @ArmenTsirunyan, my reaction to this answer is more emotional than it should be. Indeed, the question is well formulated and the answer by AleksG was very correct and careful. It is an undesirable situation in our country that makes it possible to introduce the language norms in such a fashion. That's what I wanted to stress and I think it's clear from the discussion there. My question here is really just about what to do if something goes wrong. We do need to set high standards for this site. What mechanisms do we have?
    – texnic
    Jun 16, 2012 at 8:47

If I understand correctly, we are talking about what answers do we provide: those which are correct with respect to the rules or those which are used no matter what.

Now let's consider that at least some part of the questions will come from people who do not know Russian yet and are in the process of learning it. We need to give both options, so that these future users could both speak correctly and understand what is said. In cases when the rules enforced or accepted by language politicians are different from what one hears on the streets, we need to say something like this: "it is correct to say A, but many people say B".

And I guess the hardest part here is not to impose our language preferences on these users, no matter how we may not like it.

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