I have less than 3000 rep on StackOverflow. Now that the new closing changes are live, I cannot supply a custom off topic message:

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I can enter a custom off topic flag message without issue here on meta, though it only has three canned off topic reasons, rather than five.

I'm not sure if this is the same for users with enough rep to vote to close directly, but the lack of a custom message eliminates the ability to use the correct flag reason in some cases.

For example, I wanted to flag this question, which is simply off topic on SO. However, I can't use a custom message, and none of the canned ones are appropriate.

This question appears to be the most up to date official information on custom reasons, and indicates that they are remaining in play for now. This feature request supports that.

If this is by design, how should I flag such questions? This is not a case worth bothering the mods over, so I don't want to use a custom diamond attention flag.

  • You are also missing the migrate option. (I have 7 options total)
    – FDinoff
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 21:33
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    @FDinoff: He's in the flagging dialog, not the closing dialog. Probably a messup with that particular one somewhere.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 21:34
  • @animuson Ok nevermind then. I just remembered when I was below 3000 (before the close changes) I had the ability to flag and say it should be migrated. Am I remembering things wrong?
    – FDinoff
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 21:36
  • 2
    I don't think the custom reason was supposed to be available for flags. That would be... dangerous. We can trust 3K+ users to not write crap there, but can we really trust every 15 rep user?
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 21:37
  • @yannis I have it on meta though, with considerably less rep. So if what you say is correct, it's still a bug, just on a different site. Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 21:41
  • @animuson I can see the migrate dialog fine; the example question is simply too old to migrate. Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


I share OP's concerns about that option that got removed.

While I do understand that low rep user might not address those case properly, I do not understand why users who acquired the Marshal badge (but have less than 3000 Rep) wouldn't be able to handle them.

Users with less than 3K rep, but have Marshal badges

I think the condition whereas it shows or not is wrong, since Flagging is not related to reputation anyway (it's one of the action that won't give you any rep).

My suggestions:

  • It should be based on a minimum accepted flag count. (e.g. 100 or 150)

I also thougth about rewarding users when they flag correctly a post, but I think that would add useless management and logic to determines whether it is a good flag or not.

If they are like me, I think most of the person that flag right now are doing it because they want SE sites to be clean and tidy.


After review, there is clearly a use-case for putting an "other" option here: blatantly off-topic questions, those that have no connection to a site's topic at all. Forcing flaggers to put these in the laps of moderators when a site does have people able to close and delete them isn't productive - therefore, we've added an option for them:

Blatantly off-topic: This question has nothing to do with $SiteTopic

There's no good reason to allow entering a custom message here though; they'll still require a person with close vote privileges to close them, and the reason should be obvious to anyone reviewing the flag. Anyone reviewing these will see only the default off-topic reason listed, and will need to select or enter a specific reason when closing.

  • 18
    This removes a useful workflow for identifying questions to close or migrate. Now <3k rep users have no way of helping identify questions that don't belong on a site, whether there's a possible migration target or not (unless specifically named in the custom reasons). OT questions aren't a "generally agreed on" problem? All the flags do is draw attention from users with the ability to close, yes, but more eyes on closeable questions is surely a good thing. OT is also not an unusual close reason, so why bug diamonds about it? That's a workflow which can and should be handled by the community. Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:35
  • 2
    Surely you're exaggerating a bit. You can still choose from 5 other sites, 5 predefined off-topic reasons, and 4 other reasons to close (including duplicate, which now works better than it did before for flaggers). What you can't do is send something into review for unusual reasons - that requires 3k.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:48
  • 2
    You're right, I was exaggerating some (I had mistakenly thought the migration dialog was no longer present when flagging), but a lost workflow is a lost workflow. Are you really saying that a generically off topic question (e.g., asking a question on SO which belongs on Programmers, is about licensing legalities rather than coding, requests Facebook end user support, etc.) is "unusual"? If so, should I use a custom diamond flag for it (based on your answer)? Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:59
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    Somewhat surprisingly, yes. And yes, you can flag these. BTW: "belongs on Programmers" is tricky - that's why it's not a default option for "belongs on another site".
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 18:50
  • 2
    I don't think that the assumption that the custom reason is rarely applicable holds for all sites. Remember, we don't have Too Localized or plain Off Topic anymore. (see meta.physics.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/…, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/186946/…) Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 15:21
  • 8
    Indeed Physics gets plenty of hard-to-categorize corner cases that need closing, and our low-rep flaggers definitely help sort through these things by putting them in the close queue. Also we are actively trying to avoid relying on mods for closing.
    – user206562
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 15:44
  • Shog, I just tested at Code Review.SE (the site where I am under 3K and can test flag to close) and flagging options do not include "blatant off-topic" there, is this change deployed indeed, or it is supposed to be done and announced later?
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 8:52
  • If/when this is done, this would be marked status-completed, @gnat
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 11:42
  • 1
    got it, thanks! will be marked status-completed, how could I miss that, shame on me
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 11:54
  • 1
    I'm still confused. What is the difference between "does not appear to be about" and "got nothing to do"? Is there any difference behind the scenes e.g. higher priority in the queue for the new flag type? Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 6:43
  • No, @Shadow. Behind the scenes, it's the same old default OT - we're just emphasizing it a bit for flaggers.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 13:30
  • 1
    @Shog9 per my testing at CodeReview.SE and UX.SE, "blatantly off-topic" flag option is not available at these sites, is that intentional? is this option made only for SO?
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 10:53
  • 1
    @gnat: As a mod on ux.se I can also confirm it is not present there at the moment.
    – JonW
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 11:13
  • 1
    @JonW You wouldn't see it, since this is a flag option which doesn't appear if you have the close privilege (which you do being a mod). I can see “blatantly off-topic” on The Workplace where I don't have enough reputation to vote to close. Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 11:55
  • @gnat Weird, I do see “Blatantly off-topic (this question has nothing to do with user experience)” under Flagging > Close > Off-Topic on User Experience. Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 11:57

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