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The Help Center currently lists five reasons that questions might be closed, and these five reasons agree with the reasons given in the close vote dialog. But many questions are still out there with reasons no longer used, such as "too localized", or "not a real question". While these should recede over time, it's probably reasonable to give newbies a little general help by adding a paragraph about the historical reasons. Sample follows:

In addition to the above five reasons, there are other reasons that were formerly given for closing questions. These other reasons were judged to be not as helpful as the above five, and are no longer used. You may run into a question that was closed for one of these historical reasons.

[This question was rewritten in the light of the comments made on the original question.]

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    We no longer have those two.
    – Kevin
    Jul 3, 2013 at 17:46
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    You should really check the close vote dialog.... See also "Closing changes: on hold, unclear, too broad, opinion-based, off-topic reasons, bye-bye to Too Localized"
    – Bart
    Jul 3, 2013 at 17:47
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    He may have a point, though - these are historical reasons that many questions WERE closed based on, right? Perhaps those reasons should also be explained there, with a note that they're no longer current?
    – Joe
    Jul 3, 2013 at 17:49
  • @Kevin when did that happen? Jul 3, 2013 at 17:50
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    @WalterMitty about two weeks ago
    – Joe
    Jul 3, 2013 at 17:50
  • OK, this question needs major rework based on the changes that happened recently. I had thought that the 5 reasons given were older than the reasons I had been looking at. In reality, the reverse is true. Don't know what to do, but I'm leaning towards delete it, and start over (after mulling) Jul 3, 2013 at 17:58
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    @WalterMitty Let me help you there: you can't delete this question. It has an upvoted answer. ;)
    – Bart
    Jul 3, 2013 at 17:58
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    I agree that we need to at least mention previous close reasons, even if they are no longer available. This provides greater continuity for the site. As-is, there are many questions out there closed as "too localized", but you have to know what you are looking for to find the definition for those close reasons.
    – JDB
    Jul 3, 2013 at 18:02

1 Answer 1

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My suggestion: include in the Help Center article at the end of the bullet-pointed list, an additional note:

  • There are also two reasons that have been used in the past, too localized and not a real question. These are no longer available as close reasons, but may appear on older questions. Too localized was intended to indicate a question was too specific to a user's needs or to a particular area (and not helpful to programmers generally), while not a real question was similar to unclear what you're asking.

Perhaps keep that note around for a year or so and then remove it once it's no longer likely to be useful.

I think it's useful to include this because not only is it clear that some people are confused about this - the OP at least - but newer users are less likely to have read about the closing changes, and that will end up leading to more confusion here.

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  • Meh, let's keep the help center current. If there is any confusion, Meta provides all the answers. In the long run there will hardly be any confusion.
    – Bart
    Jul 3, 2013 at 17:58
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    I think it's important to have a reference to things that still show up (ie, closed questions) even if it's not totally cuurent...
    – Joe
    Jul 3, 2013 at 17:59
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    @Bart, that'd be fine if the site only changed once in a while. But changes seem to happen fast and furious and trying to follow the trail can be difficult. For example, is "What have you tried?" banned or not? There are answers posted within days of each other with conflicting information. Having a single authoritative source can relieve a lot of confusion.
    – JDB
    Jul 3, 2013 at 18:16
  • @Cyborgx37 That was blocked since march 20th of this year. <-- single authoritative source
    – Bart
    Jul 3, 2013 at 18:17
  • Do you really expect random new user to know where to find that page? That's my point - this is unneeded for us here but for a random new user, it would be very helpful even if it is seemingly duplicating information.
    – Joe
    Jul 3, 2013 at 18:22
  • @Bart - And yet the very first words are "This is an unofficial list of new features..." (emphasis mine). Just sayin' - it's easier on new users to have this sort of information grouped and curated in a logical, intuitive way rather than scattered about in a multitude of posts. (WalterMitty is a pretty high rep user - even he had trouble finding this information)
    – JDB
    Jul 3, 2013 at 18:26
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    My rep could be misleading as far as how well I know my way around SE or SO. Because I've learned a dozen forums in the past, I kind of breezed my way through the mechanics of using SO and later SE. THat often doesn't bite me, but sometimes it does. Jul 3, 2013 at 19:16
  • This answer appeared while I was rewriting the question. Your sample para is as good as mine. Jul 3, 2013 at 19:18
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    In the long run, we are all dead. -- JM Keynes. Jul 3, 2013 at 19:20

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