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Changing the flag reasons as suggested in the question would be a significant step up from the current system, as it restores the missing generic off topic flagging workflow. Also, I presume it would be a relatively simple change.

I'd rather have the additional generic option than a single option with nested explanations, for the following reasons:

  • It would more closely match the close vote dialog, better preparing users for the transition to close voting when they reach 3000 reputation. Perhaps the text could include a hint that there's a custom option for close voting, which would replace the generic flagging option?
  • It makes the generic option explicit, rather than implied by "common reasons include", making it obvious that the missing workflow is restored.
  • Putting the option at the end suggests that it's the least important close reason and the option of last resort. This could also be made explicit by inclusion of text to that effect.

One downside of the extra option is that it maintains the current status of having the UI inconsistent with the back end behavior, by implying that the sub reason matters when it doesn't. Whether this is desirable is debatable, though; see the second bullet point below.

However, I think it would be much better to change the back end so that the sub reasons are shown, both to reviewing close voters and on the flagging summary page. This would no doubt be considerably more work, but offers the following benefits over the simple UI update:

  • User feedback and education improve greatly. Being able to see the specific reason chosen and how the close voters felt about it teaches users when the various options are appropriate. The system doesn't teach this to flaggers as it stands now.
  • This removes a rather sharp disconnect between two activities which generally appear synonymous to users. Now that I know the sub reasons don't matter, I might as well use the any of them when flagging an off topic question, even if none of them apply (and I'm sorely tempted to do so in that case). This is behavior which should be negatively reinforced, as some users might let it continue when they begin close voting.
  • Close voters receive a better suggestion of what's wrong with the post.

Changing the flag reasons as suggested in the question would be a significant step up from the current system, as it restores the missing generic off topic flagging workflow. Also, I presume it would be a relatively simple change.

I'd rather have the additional generic option than a single option with nested explanations, for the following reasons:

  • It would more closely match the close vote dialog, better preparing users for the transition to close voting when they reach 3000 reputation. Perhaps the text could include a hint that there's a custom option for close voting, which would replace the generic flagging option?
  • It makes the generic option explicit, rather than implied by "common reasons include", making it obvious that the missing workflow is restored.
  • Putting the option at the end suggests that it's the least important close reason and the option of last resort. This could also be made explicit by inclusion of text to that effect.

One downside of the extra option is that it maintains the current status of having the UI inconsistent with the back end behavior, by implying that the sub reason matters when it doesn't. Whether this is desirable is debatable, though; see the second bullet point below.

However, I think it would be much better to change the back end so that the sub reasons are shown, both to reviewing close voters and on the flagging summary page. This would no doubt be considerably more work, but offers the following benefits over the simple UI update:

  • User feedback and education improve greatly. Being able to see the specific reason chosen and how the close voters felt about it teaches users when the various options are appropriate.
  • This removes a rather sharp disconnect between two activities which generally appear synonymous to users. Now that I know the sub reasons don't matter, I might as well use the any of them when flagging an off topic question, even if none of them apply (and I'm sorely tempted to do so in that case). This is behavior which should be negatively reinforced, as some users might let it continue when they begin close voting.
  • Close voters receive a better suggestion of what's wrong with the post.

Changing the flag reasons as suggested in the question would be a significant step up from the current system, as it restores the missing generic off topic flagging workflow. Also, I presume it would be a relatively simple change.

I'd rather have the additional generic option than a single option with nested explanations, for the following reasons:

  • It would more closely match the close vote dialog, better preparing users for the transition to close voting when they reach 3000 reputation. Perhaps the text could include a hint that there's a custom option for close voting, which would replace the generic flagging option?
  • It makes the generic option explicit, rather than implied by "common reasons include", making it obvious that the missing workflow is restored.
  • Putting the option at the end suggests that it's the least important close reason and the option of last resort. This could also be made explicit by inclusion of text to that effect.

One downside of the extra option is that it maintains the current status of having the UI inconsistent with the back end behavior, by implying that the sub reason matters when it doesn't. Whether this is desirable is debatable, though; see the second bullet point below.

However, I think it would be much better to change the back end so that the sub reasons are shown, both to reviewing close voters and on the flagging summary page. This would no doubt be considerably more work, but offers the following benefits over the simple UI update:

  • User feedback and education improve greatly. Being able to see the specific reason chosen and how the close voters felt about it teaches users when the various options are appropriate. The system doesn't teach this to flaggers as it stands now.
  • This removes a rather sharp disconnect between two activities which generally appear synonymous to users. Now that I know the sub reasons don't matter, I might as well use the any of them when flagging an off topic question, even if none of them apply (and I'm sorely tempted to do so in that case). This is behavior which should be negatively reinforced, as some users might let it continue when they begin close voting.
  • Close voters receive a better suggestion of what's wrong with the post.
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Changing the flag reasons as suggested in the question would be a significant step up from the current system, as it restores the missing generic off topic flagging workflow. Also, I presume it would be a relatively simple change.

I'd rather have the additional generic option than a single option with nested explanations, for the following reasons:

  • It would more closely match the close vote dialog, better preparing users for the transition to close voting when they reach 3000 reputation. Perhaps the text could include a hint that there's a custom option for close voting, which would replace the generic flagging option?
  • It makes the generic option explicit, rather than implied by "common reasons include", making it obvious that the missing workflow is restored.
  • Putting the option at the end suggests that it's the least important close reason and the option of last resort. This could also be made explicit by inclusion of text to that effect.

One downside of the extra option is that it maintains the current status of having the UI inconsistent with the back end behavior, by implying that the sub reason matters when it doesn't. Whether this is desirable is debatable, though; see the second bullet point below.

However, I think it would be much better to change the back end so that the sub reasons are shown, both to reviewing close voters and on the flagging summary page. This would no doubt be considerably more work, but offers the following benefits over the simple UI update:

  • User feedback and education improve greatly. Being able to see the specific reason chosen and how the close voters felt about it teaches users when the various options are appropriate.
  • This removes a rather sharp disconnect between two activities which generally appear synonymous to users. Now that I know the sub reasons don't matter, I might as well use the any of them when flagging an off topic question, even if none of them apply (and I'm sorely tempted to do so in that case). This is behavior which should be negatively reinforced, as some users might let it continue when they begin close voting.
  • Close voters receive a better suggestion of what's wrong with the post.