I recently came across this piece of spam:

enter image description here

Now, it's spam, and it's been deleted, but a lot of times, we get questions that are just plain off topic by legitimate users, and not suitable for any other sites in the Stack Exchange network. We wouldn't delete these, we'd just put them on hold as "Off Topic".

Given that we are rolling all of the old close reasons into "off topic", for a case like this, I generally have to do the following:

  • Click "Off Topic"
  • Select "Custom"
  • Type at least 15 characters "This post is not suitable on any site in the Stack Exchange network".

That said, when I click the first "Off Topic" radio button, I'd like to not have to select any other reason to close the post. I should be able to click close and have the system auto-insert some standardized text (which can be standardized per-site, or for the entire network) saying "you shall not pass/do not pass go, do not collect $200".

The workflow of having to select two items and possibly type custom text is excessive for things that should be one-click operations.

Basically, there are times where obvious is obvious, and we shouldn't have to go through extreme hand holding/extra work in order to express that.

Just don't make it more painful for me to stamp it as off topic when it's so blatantly obvious.

  • 2
    Answer from Anna Lear on my question: meta.stackexchange.com/a/184365/146015. Basically, she's monitoring the new feature. Although I think mods should definitely be allowed a plain Jane "off topic" close reason even if it isn't exposed to regular users.
    – slugster
    Jun 24, 2013 at 6:28
  • Wiped the close votes, as I've changed this to a moderator-only feature.
    – casperOne
    Jun 24, 2013 at 11:54
  • 2
    s/moderators/trusted users/ maybe ;)
    – Felix
    Jun 24, 2013 at 11:58
  • @Felix We'll start from the top and work down =P
    – casperOne
    Jun 24, 2013 at 12:01
  • Sounds reasonable :D
    – Felix
    Jun 24, 2013 at 12:20

2 Answers 2


There are cases where a straight offtopic reason is needed. Take this question for instance

Upon deciding to close as offtopic, I get

Questions about general computing hardware and software are off-topic for Stack Overflow unless they directly involve tools used primarily for programming. You may be able to get help on Super User.

It would nearly fit, except for the last line. No, such questions do not fit Super User. We get enough crap already, thank you very much.

Questions concerning problems with code you've written must

Not a question with code.

Questions must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved.

Hm, there is no problem to be solved.

Questions on professional server, networking, or related infrastructure administration

Not question on either of these.

Questions asking for tool or library recommendations are off-topic

Not a library recommendation

This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network

No it doesn't .

Other (add a comment explaining what is wrong)

having to mention a comment for every single closure is annoying & creates a lot of friction. Someone's more likely to just close the tab rather than think of a comment, write a comment explaining why it's offtopic while being terse enough to not drive the person away.

  • 2
    Actually, this is what I would have used "too localized" for. It's not off topic, it's a question about a programming tool, but I don't have a reason for "this only applies to a very specific point in time".
    – casperOne
    Jun 26, 2013 at 12:11
  • 2
    @casperOne Yep, Too localized would fit right for this. Jun 26, 2013 at 12:13

I feel like allowing this would go against the whole point of implementing the separate off-topic close reasons. This was implemented to encourage people to explain why something is off-topic, and allowing users to just select off-topic because they don't know what to type or don't want to type anything isn't going to achieve that goal.

I understand your concern with the edge-cases here, but just allowing users to select off-topic alone and skip the process is not a solution. It would only encourage users to do that for other cases that need legitimate reasoning for why it's off-topic. The proper solution to a concern over a common situation not being covered by off-topic reasons should be to re-evaluate the existing reasons to include that situation or adding another reason to cover it.

Allowing this would be kind of like selecting "duplicate" and when you don't see anything related in the default list, just being able to vote to close because you know it's a duplicate but don't feel like searching for it.

For the example you provided, I feel like the second close reason applies perfectly:

This question does not appear to seek input and discussion from the community. If you have encountered a problem on one of our sites, please describe it in detail.

  • 5
    "I feel like allowing this would go against the whole point of implementing the separate off-topic close reasons" - I'm okay with this, because the whole Extreme Hand-Holding™ thing seems a bit silly to begin with. :P
    – Tim Stone
    Jun 24, 2013 at 3:58
  • It does appear to seek input and discussion from the community, albeit about something entirely unrelated to SE.
    – user200500
    Jun 24, 2013 at 4:38
  • Honestly, there are times where obvious is obvious. Don't make me use too many clicks and clacking on my keyboard for that.
    – casperOne
    Jun 24, 2013 at 11:51
  • 3
    And I've changed this to request it be a moderator-only function. The rest of you can get all descriptive if you want =)
    – casperOne
    Jun 24, 2013 at 11:55

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