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One of the off-topic close reasons currently reads as follows:

This question was caused by a problem that can't be reproduced or a simple typographical error. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was solved in a manner unlikely to help future readers. This can often be avoided by identifying and closely inspecting the shortest program necessary to reproduce the problem before posting.

Especially the "this one was solved in a manner" part makes me think, that this reason is only meant for questions that had an answer. However, there are quite some questions that make me want to use exactly this reason. It is clear that we don't have enough information to exactly reproduce this, yet it is rather clear what the questioner is asking about, and answering one or more concrete questions (that you can then often find in the comments) would be necessary to solve this.

So when we see such a question, wouldn't this be appropriate to use for closing, even if no answer was given yet? Or should I answer, and then close, so that "was answered" applies? Not having a concrete example at hand probably makes it hard to reason about this, but I would not like to close them as "unclear what you are asking", since they are not really unclear, they are just missing the last bit.

Even more so this is for the "simple typographical error" part, where it's often immediately visible that e.g. a semicolon is missing here or there. Should we have to answer this question before closing it?

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The answer could be in a comment too - if that is the case (a comment solved the issue), than the close reason still applies, IMO. –  Oded Jan 15 at 10:54
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I think "solved" can be meet by posting a comment that points out what exactly this "simple typographical error" is. –  Mołot Jan 15 at 10:55
    
Shog9 discussed this briefly in comments here (reply to Duncan), basically saying the same as the above comments. –  Geobits Jan 15 at 12:51
    
Please note this meta question is now answered in a comment as well. –  Jan Dvorak Jan 15 at 14:47
    
@JanDvorak: Which makes me wonder, there is a "flag for moderator attention" reason "this answer should be a comment", so is the reverse maybe useful too... –  PlasmaHH Jan 15 at 14:49
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@PlasmaHH nobody wants to be downvoted for an answer they didn't technically post. So, no. –  Jan Dvorak Jan 15 at 14:56
    
@PlasmaHH That was proposed here;Allow users with lots of rep (3500?) to promote “comments” to “answers" [duplicate if your want to support it –  Richard Tingle Jan 17 at 19:21

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's probably easier to just give you an example:

typo causing error

It's possible that someone might have a question on a specific Python syntax error that would be useful to others, but in this case the problem was a simple mistake that was quickly pointed out. In some cases, these questions might have answers, but often they do not; the close reason merely expects that the problem has been identified and resolved.

Here's another example, this time with an answer: note that the problem here had nothing to do with the code and everything to do with a stale browser cache. Again, problem is resolved, but very unlikely to be useful to others in the future, even if they're observing similar symptoms.

Since this was confusing to many people, I've tweaked the wording to this reason slightly:

This question was caused by a problem that can no longer be reproduced or a simple typographical error. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers. This can often be avoided by identifying and closely inspecting the shortest program necessary to reproduce the problem before posting.

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