There are changes in the close reasons that have just gone live:

  • “not constructive” and “not a real question” are replaced by:

    • “unclear what you're asking”
    • “too broad”
    • “primarily opinion-based”
  • "too localized" will disappear.

  • “off-topic” can be refined with predefined sub-reasons. These sub-reasons can cover common motifs that are not obvious from the site name, or cases where we would formerly have used “too localized”. The expectation is that each site would define up to three reasons, and the reasons will be difficult to change once decided upon.

  • Closed questions will be labelled as “on hold” for 5 days, and “closed” afterwards.

For reference, since Gardening & Landscaping launched, we've had:

  • 1 question closed as "too localized" (essentially a legal advice question)
  • 19 questions closed as "off topic" (3 shopping, 4 legal advice, 4 about animals that just happen to be in a garden, 2 biology, 3 health advice, and 3 cross-posted to Home Improvement).
  • 5 questions migrated to other sites (2 to Cooking and 1 each to Home Improvement, The Great Outdoors and Biology)

Given the above information, should we have off-topic reasons, and what should they be?

2 Answers 2


I think an important close reason to consider will be

"lacks photo or sufficient information to answer"

Now these don't specifically fall into off topic, but one of the most common issues we have with folks is that they describe their problem generally but don't include a photo or sufficient information to answer.

Perhaps the new unclear what you're asking will be technically correct, but it might be a good idea to declare these as OT and then use a custom close reason on them.


I find the most common problem answering a question is insufficient information. That was covered under "not a real question". Where will it be now?

Is there any review planned for flagging answers? I see a number of answers lately that are the same opinion repeated for different questions without any third party references. Never mind I see "Community" has deleted them.

  • In most cases, "not clear what you're asking" should cover what used to be "not a real question". The announcement on meta SO includes the extra verbiage that you'll see in the close dialog box (I didn't include it here (a) to keep this post short, and (b) to focus on the off-topic reasons).
    – Niall C. Mod
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:43
  • With respect to flagging, there are rumors of an overhaul to the flagging system, but I don't have any details at this time. In the meantime, if you see something that concerns you that can't be handled with any combination of comments, editing or voting, please flag it and describe the problem (if the canned reasons aren't adequate).
    – Niall C. Mod
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:46

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