I regularily encounter questions on StackOverflow which are asked only because of the sole fact that the poster haven't made the effort to google for and the docs of a particular function/class/framework/whatever. My question is, to which category of the five proposed one should I vote when I vote to close the question? Is it: off-topic, not constructive, not a real question, exact dupe or too localized? I tend to be all for 'not a real question' - am I quite right?

  • 6
    I agree with the three existing answers about this topic. However, +1 for caring about the quality of questions, and wondering what the proper thing to do for such questions is. Aug 14, 2012 at 19:56
  • 1
    Good question to ask. I know I personally find it hard to 'just' downvote questions that have this kind of low quality - it seems like they deserve a worse fate - but as pointed out, no close reason is appropriate, so I just downvote and let the less-immediate vote-sorting process do its work.
    – AakashM
    Aug 15, 2012 at 8:22

3 Answers 3


Assuming that it's an otherwise real question you should leave it open, but just vote it down as the downvote tooltip states:

This question does not show any research effort;....

Closure is for:

  1. Duplicates.
  2. Off topic questions.
  3. Not constructive questions - lists of X, soliciting opinions etc.
  4. Non questions.
  5. Questions that are only of interest to the OP and/or only here and now.

If you really wanted to close then "Too Localised" would probably be the best fit.

  • 5
    I agree. Close votes are not for "I don't like the question" or "I don't like the way the question was asked."
    – user102937
    Aug 14, 2012 at 18:44
  • Thank you! I'll do what you suggested from now on.
    – H2CO3
    Aug 14, 2012 at 18:45

I think that depends on the question, and closing it is not always the right move.

If the answer to the question can be easily googled, then chances are there will be an existing Stack Overflow question that deals with it. Find that question, then close the new one as a duplicate.

If there is no duplicate, then the question still has value. Answer it to the best of your abilities. That way, unresearched questions on the same topic can be closed as duplicates of that one in the future.

In both cases, feel free to downvote the question and to post a (polite) comment informing the questioner he should search before asking.

  • 1
    +1, now I see that closing is not the ultimate magic keyword for all bad questions.
    – H2CO3
    Aug 14, 2012 at 18:46

Downvoting or improving the question (either by provoking the asker to provide more detail via comments or by editing) is typically preferable but sometimes there are questions that not only show no research but that just can't be answered as they are, so I typically choose "Not a Real Question". I think that fits the description fairly well:

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.

There are occasions when a no-research question requires a different close reason but it's because the other reason is more apparent (eg, they're asking for a recommendation for a framework language is "not constructive").

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