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I recently learned that several of the questions I've been investigating and answering apparently don't meet the SO criteria and are subject to being closed and deleted. (I recently lost 10% of my 800 rep as a result of one of these deletes, as described in Is the title considered part of the question?.)

When I see new questions come in like that, I can avoid answering them, but I'd like to help others avoid wasting their time as well. As a <3k user, my options seem to be:

  • Do nothing
  • Make a comment on the question about the way in which the criteria are not met
  • Flag the question

Are there any guidelines for how to handle this?

On a related point, one of the reasons put forward for the delete of the question I recently answered was that it was a DRY question and those belong on Code Review not SO. When I went through the "close" selections though (using one my own questions so that I could see the options), I couldn't find a category that "worked" for that. None of the off-topic details matched, nor did any of the high-level categories. Since there are hundreds of DRY question on the SO site and more coming in daily, what reason can I give when flagging one of these DRY questions as inappropriate, particularly since there's a dry tag?

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  • Note that if you choose the "off-topic" close reason, you will get a list of more specific off-topic reasons, one of which is "On topic for other SO sites".
    – KatieK
    Jun 26, 2013 at 4:11
  • Actually, there isn't such a subtopic for off-topic at this point (I'd refer you to the documentation, but I don't know where it is so I can only go by what I see on the pop-up dialog), although there is now a "Other" subtopic of "off-topic" that is available. Jun 26, 2013 at 4:21

2 Answers 2

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Here are some possible options. Note that you are free to pick and choose depending on what you feel comfortable with doing, and how much effort you feel up to.

  1. Vote it down. It doesn't cost you any rep to downvote a question.

  2. Leave a polite comment on the question offering guidance to improve the question.

  3. Flag it for moderators. If appropriate, the moderator can vote to close. Mods love flags.

  4. Try to salvage the question with editing. Perhaps the language / phrasing can be improved, or the OP just didn't know how to mark up code.

  5. Ask about it here.

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Don't do nothing.

Doing nothing is in my view the worst thing to do, because it keeps the user that asked the question in the dark, uneducated.

Flag the question and explain the moderator why it should be closed in your view.

Comment and say that this is what you think and that additional data or rephrasing is needed, be specific.

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