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I just voted to close a Stack Overflow question with a custom "off topic" reason. I was surprised to see an auto-posted comment appear beneath the question.

comment image

Why is a custom close reason treated differently to other close reasons?

  • Have you been through this? – Aaron Bertrand Jun 27 '13 at 12:57
  • @AaronBertrand Yes, I had read that. I realise now that I had interpreted "Free-form reasons will be presented as comments, but the close dialogue will refer the reader to the comments for more info" as an action that would occur after the question was closed. I didn't appreciate it would be immediate. – Duncan Jones Jun 27 '13 at 12:58
  • showing it as a comment helps relay to other users in the meantime why the question is being considered to be closed. Why not make that information directly available to the OP so that, perhaps, they can improve the question before it gets closed? – Aaron Bertrand Jun 27 '13 at 13:00
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    @AaronBertrand I completely agree. If anything, I would prefer for all close votes to trigger a comment. But except for duplication, no other close reasons do this. My question is mostly about that discrepancy. – Duncan Jones Jun 27 '13 at 13:01
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    I agree with Duncan; I've been copying & pasting from the close vote dialog into comments all day. – Danny Beckett Jun 27 '13 at 13:06
  • @DannyBeckett which close reasons are you copying and pasting into comments? And are you saying you just started doing this since the new change reasons were rolled out? Did you not leave a comment before when you closed a question as too localized etc.? – Aaron Bertrand Jun 27 '13 at 13:09
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    @AaronBertrand All of the off-topic reasons. They're worded very well already, so I think it's useful for the OPs to know what's going on/why they're being downvoted. Previously I used AutoReviewComments - Pro-forma comments for SE with some custom canned responses. – Danny Beckett Jun 27 '13 at 13:11
  • @AaronBertrand Looks like I'm not the only one. – Danny Beckett Jun 27 '13 at 13:52
  • @Danny I'm still not sure I understand your point. Because a couple of people are manually doing this, it should be what every single close vote does? – Aaron Bertrand Jun 27 '13 at 13:55
  • @DannyBeckett I have just created a separate question as a feature request (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/186307/…). I'm going to roll back your changes otherwise this is a duplicate, no? – Duncan Jones Jun 27 '13 at 13:56
  • @DuncanJones Yes, go for it. I saw you were really looking for a feature request, so I retagged this. Now I know you were writing a long post ;) – Danny Beckett Jun 27 '13 at 13:56
  • @AaronBertrand At least the off-topic close reasons anyway. – Danny Beckett Jun 27 '13 at 13:57
  • I've written a script to do this. Details at the feature request: Add automatic comments for every closure reason – Danny Beckett Jun 30 '13 at 5:42
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Showing it as a comment helps relay to other users in the meantime why the question is being considered to be closed. Why not make that information directly available to the OP so that, perhaps, they can improve the question before it gets closed? Adding a comment to the post immediately notifies the user, while a single close vote does not (unless they are sitting on the question and hitting refresh).

Now, you might say, well why not do that in all cases? Because for a lot of the typical close reasons, that don't require a custom piece of text, there is already a well-established boundary of what those problems are, and I think they would just add a lot of noise to questions. If the problem with the question is an edge case that isn't already in the stock set of reasons, and you have to write something in to explain it, I see no benefit in holding off and hiding that custom text from the user until four others agree (it's also extra work - if you call clicks work - for other potential closers to find your reasoning and see if they agree with you).

Also the reason a duplicate does this is because it allows the OP to go look at the duplicate immediately and potentially solve their problem before 4 other people agree and the user is notified that there is a potential duplicate. If a question is being closed as "too broad" or "it's not clear what you're asking" they're not going to be able to solve the problem any quicker without two sets of interactions - they need to improve the question and then they still need to wait for answers.

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    Most of the time I close a question, the user is sub-200 reputation. They can't even see the close vote and I doubt they are familiar with the standard closure reasons. I may leave this question open as a debate and open a feature request to auto-comment for all closures. – Duncan Jones Jun 27 '13 at 13:20
  • I've opened a separate feature request as discussed above. – Duncan Jones Jun 27 '13 at 13:55

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