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Given the impending changes to close reasons - how will we be dealing with "too localised" questions?

I know the example given in the link talks about code, where we could create a custom off-topic message.

However, on Travel, we had questions that say, were very specific to one user - so wouldn't be of use to future users. For example, people wanting a cheaper flight from A to B on a specific date. These were able to be closed (in theory, not all were) as too localised.

However, we can't really close them as off-topic, can we? We're going to get people insisting that on a travel website, travel questions are on topic. And with each one we're going to have to explain that it's too localised, which isn't a close reason any more, but they should understand that this is the reason anyway?

We're hashing it out on travel as well, but I thought I'd post in here to see if other SE network sites had run into similar problems.

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Why to close them at all? Why not to let them be, and after the flight date close them as "off-topic: obsolete"? If there is a date like carnival in Rio in 10 months from now question about cheapest way to go there from X may be pretty interesting. and if it's not, it will sink on it's own. –  Mołot Jul 4 '13 at 8:18
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The community is trying to avoid becoming travel agents. Even if you find a price for them from A to B (it's almost never for a festival/carnival, it's usually just them going on their holiday), prices change on a semi-daily basis, so the answers are going to be outofdate almost immediately :/ We've tried general answers like 'you can use a site like kayak to find the cheapest flight' but then you end up answering that to each one, and can't really mark them as dupes of each other. –  Mark Mayo Jul 4 '13 at 8:27
    
Oh, that is a reason then. It seems to be the only Q&A case I know where answers can get outdated so easily. Indeed in your case it feels different, like sub-reason of "to broad". –  Mołot Jul 4 '13 at 8:36
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@Molot yeah, it's a weird Q&A case, travel. We also get very subjective questions that can be tough to deal with when someone gets upset that we won't answer "I have 3 weeks in Europe, what should I do?". :/ –  Mark Mayo Jul 4 '13 at 11:05
    
Instead of asking about what to do in 3 weeks, the user can simply ask about what all are the best places in Europe. Visiting these places in 3 weeks time is the problem of that user alone! –  prince Jul 4 '13 at 11:18
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@prince haha, yeah that doesn't work either - 'best' is considered subjective - some would tell you Rome is a must-see, others hate it as a tourist-trap with religion. Some like cities, others like nature. I loved backpacking the Baltics on my own, but with a partner I'd prefer to go to Italy. Each to their own! –  Mark Mayo Jul 4 '13 at 12:02
    
ya, that will probably happen. Still the questioner wont have to go anywhere else to get his choices. Makig the choice is again upto him. Depends on what kind of person he is. Maybe he can mention what type of places he wants to visit, like for example, "what are the places in Europe known for its natural beauty?" But there is always a work around!! :) –  prince Jul 5 '13 at 4:13
    
@prince yes, and that's what we already encourage them to do - "define what is 'best' for you" or "be specific about what you're interested in", and we've added it to our help pages and so on. We still get them tho :/ –  Mark Mayo Jul 5 '13 at 4:18

3 Answers 3

I agree, this will not work in the long run. As a temporary workaround, you could add a site specific off topic close reason for too localized. Not ideal, but it should communicate the reason better than the other options.

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probably, full current text of TL message would be more appropriate in this case, like "This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the Help Center" –  gnat Jun 18 '13 at 10:29
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@gnat I cannot find a guide in the help center showing users how to make a question more broadly applicable. –  toscho Jun 18 '13 at 15:42

I think just about every SE has this problem - people who want someone else to do their very specific work for free. There will always be people that insist that it's within the scope, because it's related to the topic, and all I can offer is: RESIST, be firm, and make it clear to everyone that they should downvote and close and flag and delete these kinds of questions.

You can absolutely close them as Off Topic, because that is something that's entirely up to your community as a whole. Especially, you can add that to the FAQ for the website, so you can have something to point to when people complain (maybe something like, "day-specific travel plans").

You could still even add "Too Localized" as one of the pre-selected close reasons for Travel.SE, especially if instances are a lot clearer than they were on Stack Overflow (see 5(A) on the post you linked to).

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Here, the meaning of "too localized" is becoming "too localized". Here, you are taking the example of travel. And yes the question about specific planes etc on certain dates can be considered too localized. But the same question can be made a bit less localized if the user wants it to. For example, instead of asking for planes on a certain date he can ask for planes on a certain weekday of his travel, ie whether these planes are making services daily or weekly and so on so that even though the question is a bit localized, it will still be useful to people in the future by removing ambiguity on when exactly the plane makes this trip.

Sometimes, during some festival season, there can be special planes, trains etc making extra trips. These extra trips wont be there normally. Such questions and its answers cant be taken as localized, even though these extra trips wil only be there in a specific season and maynot be there next year at the same time. In such cases, all we can do is to make it clear in question and answer, all the details.

The same goes for other such sites where the meaning of "too localized" becomes "too localized". In such cases, if such changes can make the question better, then there should be a feature such as "on hold" where we give the user a chance to make the question right or even less localized.

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