I really like the new option structure when flagging - I have in particular missed the "Minimal understanding" option.

However, I think that one option is missing. If we look at this rambling question, it has many issues. I ended up flagging it as too broad, but I would think that it is simply, well, just off-topic.

So that's where I started. Hmm:

  • It isn't about general computing hardware/software.
  • It certainly isn't about code problems.
  • It could be about not demonstrating a minimal understanding of the problem - but suggesting this guy should elaborate on what he did to try to change his birthday doesn't seem right.
  • It isn't about server and networking.
  • It isn't really asking for recommendations.
  • It certainly doesn't belong anywhere else on SE.

In this case, as mentioned, I flagged as too broad even though VLQ might also have been appropriate.

However, if we assume that the question only contained the first sentence, and was actually well-formed, but totally off-topic such as:

How can I change my birthdate in Facebook? I looked in the FAQ and tried but now it is locked and I cannot change it anymore.

Isn't that off-topic? Would “Minimal understanding” really be the proper selection here? As far as I can see, I can't just select “off-topic”, but have to select one of the above options. Or should those kind of posts go directly to mods every time?

Edit: Another example of what I believe is just off-topic, but doesn't apply to any of the options given in the off-topic dialog, and which hence has to go by the mods.

Edit 2: Yet another example - which I personally flagged not as OT, but as unclear. As official OT it is still a prime example where none of the generic options apply. The question (with the title included) says:

It is possible to play the DRM formatted song in Custom player like AVAudioPlayer and MPMoviePlayer [on hold] I have tried to play directly in the AVAudioPlayer or MPMoviePlayer, but the song isn't playing.

to which the SO official response is:

You may be able to get help on Super User.

Seriously? We really want him to ask this question at Super User?

Edit 3: And another that I ended up flagging as unclear - although I'd say it is a prime, generic off-topic question.

From Al Everetts comment below: How can I change my birth date on Facebook?

  • 1
    It's not programming related. At best, it might belong on webapps (and even that is highly questionable). Generic/custom off-topic, I'd say.
    – user98085
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 9:13
  • 10
    @FEichinger I agree. IMO it doesn't belong at all, but for off-topic it has to be one of the above options. There is no generic OT option.
    – user213634
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 9:22
  • There is a generic OT option, it's called "Other". That is restricted to close votes, rather than flags, though. ;)
    – user98085
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 11:50
  • 1
    @FEichinger I don't have access to close votes - so I wouldn't know if that is a bug or a deliberate omission.
    – user213634
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 13:07
  • 7
    "This question appears to be off-topic because it is about turtles using facebook"
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 20:32
  • 1
    @AndersUP It is a deliberate omission. Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 14:54
  • 1
    @EsotericScreenName Yeah, it appears so. I hope they'll rethink it. I think its worse not to have the option, than it not doing anything with the custom comment. (Although that would suck too)
    – user213634
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 16:01
  • 7
    I think for the time being we should downvote off-topic questions until the SE people get this right. Let's see whether their UX people will change it in favor of 'being nicer to new people'.
    – Private
    Commented Jun 29, 2013 at 9:38
  • 1
    Yeah, I was looking for this complaint as well. I'm completely baffled as to what I should flag if a question belongs on programmers, or careers, or math, or electronics, all things I've seen with some regularity on SO. It bugged me before that none of those were choices in the list of radio buttons, but now I can't even flag them at all. (I recently used the generic "for moderator attention" flag with a comment specifying that a question belonged on Programmers, and it was declined. It pretty obviously belonged on Programmers, but I'm not sure that was the right way to say so...)
    – neminem
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 21:15
  • 3
    Side-note: I've seen evidence put forth that this is intentional, to prevent people from saying it's off-topic with no other information. I'd be quite happy with that as a reason, if there could be a dropdown with a list of all StackExchange sites I could choose from at the bottom of the list of supposedly-common ones (though I've never seen a single off-topic post that belonged in Tex or Sharepoint? But that's a different issue.)
    – neminem
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 21:21
  • @neminem I heard that the migration is often more difficult than closing, because receiving mods have to approve of the migration as well. And while it is not frequent, I still have at least a couple of OTs per day that I send to mods, because they are just off topic.
    – user213634
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 22:21
  • @neminem Come to think of it, rather than having a drop down for where to migrate, they should have a 'belongs somewhere else on SE'. The mods knows more about the overall site, and might decide to migrate to some other site you hadn't even heard about. I suggested a question migrated to SuperUser or ServerFault and it got migrated to magento.SE, which I'd never heard of - and generally wouldn't be able to suggest migrations for.
    – user213634
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 22:39
  • 1
    @Anders UP I'd be alright with that, too (though it would still be nice if the common suggestions were still suggestions. Obviously they would still be just that: suggestions. I could certainly be wrong. I've never heard of magento, either.) Just right now, if something is off-topic and doesn't belong on any of the handful of available sites, I just can't flag it as off-topic at all.
    – neminem
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 21:04
  • 2
    How can I change my birth date on Facebook?
    – ale
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 12:47
  • @AlEverett I included your link even if it is a little out of scope for this question. My main objection is for the blatantly OT-questions. As the Change my age at Facebook-question apparently has a place on SO it is not blatantly OT - but as far as I can see it would still be impossible to flag a question as belonging on Webapps. (Probably unless it was duplicate - assuming it is possible to mark something as cross-site duplicate).
    – user213634
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 14:24


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