With the recent close vote reason overhaul, I now don't know what to do with questions like this:

I have this PHP code:


I want to make the user count sheep. How do I do that?

In the past, this was easy. NARQ* it!

But now NARQ is a thing of the past.

What close reason do we use now for these questions? Too Broad? Must demonstrate minimal understanding?

* Please give us a close reason with a great acronym again.

  • 1
    Off-topic > must demonstrate an understanding...? Jul 2 '13 at 1:10

I'm assuming that the code would be something along the lines of:

function countSheep() {
    // what do I do in here?

Or maybe it's just some piece of code from their project/assignment that does something else, and now they need to add the completely new feature.

I've been closing questions like this with the "must demonstrate minimal understanding" close reason. The question is focused enough, and it's pretty clear what they're trying to do. They just need to "tell us what you've tried to do, why it didn't work, and how it should work" to make the question complete (and to save us from doing the entire assignment for them).


I'm still adjusting to the new close reasons, but I'm siding more with the Off-Topic reason describe a specific problem; even though minimal understanding would fit, describe a specific problem fits better.

How does OT-DSP strike you? ...I think it's a bit verbose.

That sort of question has the same cookie-cutter format to it, which makes it unreasonable to answer and nonconstructive at the same time. I view it kind of like someone saying, "I have a box full of LEGOs. I want to build a 300:1 replica of my city. How do I do that?" In my mind, there's little description of an actual problem here - it's more of an abstract question than any sort of specific problem.

That's not to say that all developers don't hit some sort of roadblock like this, but given the questions that I've seen that fit that pattern, I don't exactly feel wrong about closing them for that reason above.

  • I don't entirely disagree. That close reason and "demonstrate a minimal understanding" are closely related, and I've seen a lot of questions that could be closed as either one. The only reason I'd lean away from "describe a specific problem" in this case is because it mentions providing code, which the hypothetical OP already did, even though it's not helpful. I usually use that one when the OP didn't provide any code at all. Jul 2 '13 at 1:25
  • I think I see your point. This question fits in that pattern.
    – Makoto
    Jul 2 '13 at 18:34

I think the minimal understanding reason is the best for questions like these:

Questions must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Tell us what you've tried to do, why it didn't work, and how it should work. See also: Stack Overflow question checklist.

"Tell us what you've tried to do" can be taken here to mean "show us some code".

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