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An older question popped into the review queue on my beta site today. It had a whole lot of close votes but most of them had expired, so the question never actually got closed. Back when it was first posted, I'd left a comment on it explaining to the OP why it was off topic (as had several others). At the time it was asked I did not have close voting powers, or shiny moderator ones.

So anyway, for whatever reason the question popped back into the review queue today. It clearly needed to be closed, so I went to do so. I wanted to close it as Off Topic -> Other, because none of our specific close reasons fit. I didn't want to leave another comment though; there really wasn't any point, I'd said everything that needed to be said previously. So I removed all the text from the "custom reason" button, and tried to submit the closure. But it wouldn't let me, claiming I had to enter a comment.

Well, I already did enter a comment! Just not at the same time as I tried to close it. The comment is already posted on the question and explains the reason why the post should be closed. There's no need to add another comment, that's just clogging up the OP's notifications for an old question (and being redundant). I suppose I could have left another comment and deleted it right after, but still.

I think that the closure system should check and see if you have already left a comment on the question. If you have, it shouldn't require you to leave another.

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How would the system know that your original comment was discussing the question's topicality? –  Robert Harvey Aug 14 '13 at 22:34
    
@RobertHarvey It wouldn't, but as it is now it can't know that the comment I type into the box is regarding the question's topicality: I could type I like cheese [insert 30 characters here] into the custom close comment box, and it would accept it. Perhaps it could give you an option: use previous comment as close reason or add new comment describing close reason. I'm not sure exactly how the UI ought to work, but I think explaining the same thing twice is redundant. –  WendiKidd Aug 14 '13 at 22:36
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I just delete the comment after it is created, in these cases. :) –  Robert Harvey Aug 14 '13 at 22:38
    
@RobertHarvey Yeah, maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing. That occurred to me after I'd already closed the question (there was another vote for "primarily opinion based" and that was fair too, so I just used that). I suppose this would only be useful when you're the first person casting a custom OT close vote and you already commented before you decided to close. Maybe not a common issue. –  WendiKidd Aug 14 '13 at 22:39

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Upon reflection, I think this is a very rare scenario. Usually, when I write a comment then a custom off-topic close vote, the first comment is some general guidance and the custom off-topic comment is something specifically about the closure. In this case, the custom off-topic comment often ends up being something generic like “… because it isn't about $Topic” — in effect it's the generic off-topic closure that we lost.

When a question becomes closed, the off-topic close reason moves from being a comment to being attached to the close reason. That's not so good because the user can't reply to it (actually you can @-mention the moderator who closed a question, but that's neither discoverable nor intuitive). So it's better to leave that comment the way it is.

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