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This question is an exact duplicate of:

EDIT: Why was this question marked as duplicate? Please do not vote for a duplicate if you did not take the time to read the posts. As I said in the comments, the difference between those two reasons is not mentioned on the alleged duplicate post.

This is a follow-up question on: Recent changes to close reasons on Stack Overflow.

I am honestly confused with the recent changes to the set of off-topic close reasons. Let me hasten to add that I welcome constructive changes and that I try to make an effort to flag a question with the correct close reason.

I have trouble to discern the following two close reasons:

This question appears to be off-topic because it lacks sufficient information to diagnose the problem. Describe your problem in more detail or include a minimal example in the question itself.


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.

For starters, they both link to the same SO help page: http://stackoverflow.com/help/mcve. But there's more:

  • What's the difference between "lacking sufficient information to diagnose the problem" and "a problem that can no longer be reproduced"?
  • Both close reasons ask the OP to post or study a minimal code sample.

This is not about whether you like those close reasons, so please don't post your opinion. All I ask is:

  • the rationale behind the above close reasons
  • straightforward examples that clearly show when to use which close reason

Besides, I don't think I can grasp the wording here: "this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers". Is this a close reason for problems that are already solved?

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marked as duplicate by animuson Jan 21 '14 at 20:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

The "typo" close reason is for where it becomes clear (usiually through comments) that there never was a real problem (other than a simple typo) –  Richard Tingle Jan 20 '14 at 13:11
Thanks for this hint. This is the or part of the second close reason. I mean, this does not touch on the issue of not being reproducible. Can you elaborate a bit further and answer my questions? –  Mathias Müller Jan 20 '14 at 13:15
I have read this discussion - to my knowledge, a distinction between exactly those two close reasons can not be found there. –  Mathias Müller Jan 20 '14 at 13:30
Please do not mark as duplicate without reading the question. The two close reasons I mention do not appear together on this alleged duplicate post. –  Mathias Müller Jan 20 '14 at 14:28
Close vote retracted and answer given. –  Lance Roberts Jan 20 '14 at 17:55
There's a lot more information around those close reasons than just the reasons in that question that explains when to use each one. The answer here doesn't really provide any more information than is already present in the question you linked. –  animuson Jan 21 '14 at 20:22

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers

This is because the problems are solved, but solved because of a trivial syntax error, or the issue mysteriously went away. It doesn't really help anyone in the future, because they wouldn't be searching based on that syntax error, since they haven't spotted it in their own code yet, or if the problem just went away, then there's no real solution for future visitors.

So that's what the second reason you posted is for, and we're so happy we have that reason back (it used to be called "Too Localized").

The first reason,

because it lacks sufficient information to diagnose the problem

is just for those problems where the poster didn't give enough information, which could be his code, the text of the error, the details of the application or system, or some other needed piece of information.

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Isn't "lack of sufficient information" somehow covered by "unclear what you're asking"? –  BartoszKP Jan 21 '14 at 16:35
@BartoszKP, yes, and that point was brought up in a comment by Jon Skeet, and Shog9 answered that off-topic was the only category right now that allowed sub-categories. So maybe someday, they'll modify that. –  Lance Roberts Jan 21 '14 at 18:39
Ok, thanks for your explanation. –  BartoszKP Jan 21 '14 at 21:29
Yeah, that's quite straightforward. So, I conclude that the longer one equals too localized, and that the one about lacking sufficient information means did not post code / error log / omitted crucial info. Right? –  Mathias Müller Jan 23 '14 at 12:07
@MathiasMüller, yes, that sums it up. –  Lance Roberts Jan 23 '14 at 13:42

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