There's a typo in one of our custom Off Topic reasons and I need to edit it, but I don't see an edit button:

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How do I edit an already active close reason? Do I have to deactivate the existing one then add a new, corrected custom reason, or can I edit it after deactivating it and reactivate it or what?

1 Answer 1


You can't.

Custom off-topic reasons are editable only until they are approved - after that, they're frozen. This is to prevent a reason from being changed into a completely different reason after it has already been reviewed or especially after it has been used on the site.

Reasons can always be deactivated however, so you can create a new reason, edit it until you're happy with it, and then get another moderator to deactivate the old one and approve your new one.

  • 1
    You guys just had to miss an i in "pictorially" so we'd have to do all this, didn't you
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 27, 2013 at 16:33
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    Wouldn't making them editable be a workable solution? It should be possible to teach mods not to completely change the reasons, and you can always poke them with a sharp stick if they do it anyway. Deactivating doesn't work retroactively, but in cases of small mistakes or a bit clearer language, changing all old instances would be desired behaviour. Jun 27, 2013 at 16:33
  • If you can't trust a mod not to screw that, how do you trust us with all the other shiny buttons?
    – Luke_0
    Jun 27, 2013 at 16:35
  • Since that was my fault, I just went ahead and fixed it, @Ben. Sorry!
    – Shog9
    Jun 27, 2013 at 16:35
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    The intent is to encourage you to write and edit these in public, @Mad, and then adding them / updating them as a team. It's less about trust than it is about recognizing that doing this right is hard and time-consuming - so it's worth making shortcuts a bit harder too.
    – Shog9
    Jun 27, 2013 at 16:40
  • @Luke, almost everything that a mod can do is reversible if challeged (or regretted). I suspect that there's no revision-tracking here (why would there be if it wasn't intended to be edited?), so rolling back to a prior state would depend on people remembering what it was. (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that close reasons are built on the same infrastructure as comments, which also don't track history.) Jun 27, 2013 at 17:37
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    Tracking changes is fairly trivial, @Monica - but to prevent rewriting history, we would have to tie each closed question to a specific revision of the OT reason... Which then starts to look an awful lot like what we ended up implementing except a lot more complicated.
    – Shog9
    Jun 27, 2013 at 20:21
  • The problem I've run into is we have a This is a bug, report it in our tracker which is now a broken URL, is there really no way this can be fixed?
    – ideasman42
    Mar 18, 2014 at 1:54
  • Report it to me (or someone else on the team) and we'll fix it, @ideasman42. This is fairly rare (and a good reason to only point these at links the site's community can control) but there is a mechanism for changing them if need-be.
    – Shog9
    Mar 18, 2014 at 3:55
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    A note for posterity: CMs/staff can edit active custom close reasons (without necessarily having to deactivate one and create a new one). In the case of typos, this is a pretty straightforward and uncontroversial fix – so just make a post on your site's Meta reporting the issue, then have a mod add the [status-review] tag to it to escalate it for staff attention. For more substantial changes, though, what Shog9 said is correct – we don't want an existing close reason to be changed into something very different.
    – V2Blast
    Mar 22, 2023 at 18:55

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