I think that S[O|F|U] should have moderator-only tags that get applied when a question is closed to help filter them out. These tags should be in addition to any tags (even if there are already 5) already on the question (I think that even closed questions should be well-written and properly tagged, but I'm willing to give up on this aspect).

On SO, this is a possible mapping between close reason and tag:

* exact duplicate => closed-duplicate
* not programming related => closed-not-programming
* subjective and argumentative => closed-argumentative
* not a real question => closed-not-a-question
* blatantly offensive => closed-offensive
* no longer relevant => closed-not-relevant
* too localized => closed-localized
* belongs on meta.stackoverflow.com => closed-meta
* belongs on serverfault.com => closed-serverfault
* belongs on superuser.com => closed-superuser
* spam => closed-spam

By default, these tags should appear on a new user's ignore list, invisible to users who are not logged in, and not indexed by search engines.

  • 4
    What if there are already 5 tags?
    – fretje
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 10:35
  • 1
    @fre, he does say "even if there are already 5"
    – juan
    Commented Mar 11, 2010 at 13:03

6 Answers 6


For questions closed as duplicates, I believe it is important that they still be indexed by search engines. Jeff has mentioned many times that its amazing how people can ask the same questions while hardly using any of the same words. Therefore, these questions should remain and be searchable, as a reference to the canonical question/answer.

Additionally, I believe having closed questions visible to all, can serve as a learning tool for users, allowing them to see and get a feel for what types of questions are appropriate and questions are not.

  • I think the FAQ is fairly clear on what types of questions are appropriate, so I don;t think that's a concern at all. Commented Aug 12, 2009 at 18:03
  • But your point about the duplicates is a good one. Commented Aug 12, 2009 at 18:06

You don't want the non-duplicates to be unindexed, as people have said.

You don't want closed questions to be invisible to new users - cause as soon as you close new user's question the user can't find it!

Some items, like "Not a Real Question" or "Spam" could be non-indexed. But what's the gain in adding tags to the questions? So you can find them really quick? Or so experienced users and ignore them? Maybe, I suppose.

  • OK, so invisible to new users is a bad idea, but perhaps invisible to unregistered users? Commented Aug 13, 2009 at 12:11

The search now does this for you.

If you want to filter out all closed questions, plug this into the nozzle:


Then you can page back and forth as you desire with the interesting and ignore tags still holding on to their glistening hope of relevance.

Using tags to mark out the status of a question as opposed to the content is bad SOFU tagging.


Wouldn't it be easier to just make closed questions by default (changeable in preferences):

  • Be ignored for new users
  • Invisible to users not logged in
  • Not indexed by search engines
  • 2
    I disagree, sometimes closed questions (duplicates) offer a larger search footprint. They may have different qeywords or wording that could help people find their answer.
    – jjnguy
    Commented Aug 12, 2009 at 17:45
  • I should be clear that I am a little ambivalent about the premise that any change needs to happen regarding closed questions. I just think that if you were going to make a change, I would make it this way rather tahn with tags.
    – EBGreen
    Commented Aug 12, 2009 at 17:50
  • 1
    So duplicates and MAYBE subjective should be indexed by search engines. But the other types of closure, probably not. But yes, if you want to do it without tags, that's fine too, as long as it's a setting. The tags was just the first thing I thought of. Commented Aug 12, 2009 at 17:54

I'm not convinced that special tags are the right solution, or that there's even a real problem here that needs to be solved.


I'd like to see these tags. Althought I would not automatically add them to user's ignore lists or prevent indexing ...
It is just about consistent tagging. When all closed questions have a closed tag, I'd happily add this tag to my ignore list on my own.

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