In relation to this question:
I'm wondering if maybe I wasn't a bit too hard on this particular question. It's a matter of degree with some questions, and some are particularly sticky. Optimization and "improvement" related questions have a tendency to stick out as borderline just by their nature.
How do you know when a question is too off-topic or too localized? I try to ask myself, how would I ask this question in a way that would prove meaningful to later SO users. Sometimes, it's just as productive to edit a question, but when it appears that the OP hasn't tried to narrow the question enough, my initial reaction is to vote to close.
Could the question be improved? Every question could be, I assume. Is it worth it to try and have the OP improve the question? Is it really a judgment call to close a question of this nature? It's perhaps questionable if a question really should be closed just because it's possibly off-topic, instead of "specifically off-topic". In this case, I believed the question was both off-topic and too localized, but the question itself could have been more focused.
SO seems quite a bit more big picture than "I have a problem, please help me" type questions, but we all know they slip through all the time. How do you know if you're legitimately voting to close a question which is at least some kind of gray in this regard?