I flagged this question as off-topic. But since I didn't - and still don't - think it falls within the possibilities given as default off-topic reasons, I flagged it for moderator attention.

If we go through the OT-reasons:

  • It's not about general hardware and software.
  • It's not about code he's written.
  • He doesn't have minimal understanding of what SO is about, but that doesn't really apply here.
  • It's not about professional server stuff.
  • He doesn't solicit for tools or libraries.

That the last one doesn't apply is in my opinion, because that was later the close on-hold reason. As I read the question, the OP comes to SE and asks whether there are anybody on this site willing to help him.

We tell him "No, you can't come here fishing for off-site resources." That doesn't add up to me, I simply don't see how the OP get any wiser from that.

In my opinion, this question doesn't belong anywhere on the SE-sites, so it is off-topic.

I flagged it for moderator attention and wrote "off-topic". I'll refer to Shog9's (downvoted) answer to a question here on Meta regarding what to do when the provided off-topic reasons are not sufficient. I have a feature request to the same effect (that has not received any replies).

If you see a post that should be closed for an unusual reason, you have the option of flagging for moderator attention, selecting "other" and describing that reason in detail.

After Shog9 wrote the above, he marked the question status-by-design.

While I agree that I didn't add much detail in the flag, I think I wrote enough as this is a slam-dunk as an off-topic question.

As mentioned above the question was subsequently put on hold, but my flag was declined with the reason:

flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

I'm guessing that a mod got annoyed by being bothered by a trivial flag, and I fully understand that. But how should I have flagged this? Is the question really fishing for off-site resources? "Too broad" and "Unclear what you're asking" are just as accurate and no more helpful.

I think this part of the system is broken, because I really don't believe that mods should be bothered with trivial off-topic stuff, but I have dutifully followed Shog9s decree above. And just off-topic is - apparently - an unusual reason, since it's not common enough to be in the dialog.

Could you please reconsider your status-by-design and update the dialog so that it includes a sensible It's just off-topic and doesn't belong here at all option that doesn't bother the mods?

  • The post is now deleted; the post was closed as OT 4 hours ago, then 3 community members voted to delete it with the last vote having been added 5 minutes ago. Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 22:17
  • @MartijnPieters Wow, yeah, it must have been deleted while I wrote my question.
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 22:18
  • 2
    Exactly, moderator attention was never required to have that question removed. The community is perfectly capable of handling it by themselves. Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 22:19
  • @MartijnPieters But I still think that the OT-reason provided to the OP was wrong.
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 22:20
  • 2
    You could have flagged as “too broad” or “unclear”. This question isn't off-topic in the sense of not being related to programming. But it is definitely inappropriate for Stack Exchange. Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 22:52
  • @Gilles I considered that. But too broad and unclear indicate to the OP that if he fixes some wording, the question will be good to go. The question would not be helped by either, because it lacked a fundamental understanding of the site - and telling the OP to clarify a "can somebody here help me" will most likely yield a "can somebody here help me with iOs|C#|SQL code" The change from closing to on-hold was largely a semantic one, according to meta.stackoverflow.com/q/184154/213634, so lets be sure the semantics are right
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


I declined this flag. The post was blatantly off-topic that much I agree with. My reasons for declining however is largely around the use of the "other flag".

With the new close votes system in place moderators no longer see regular close votes. There's no need to in > 90% of cases where it's a "slam-dunk" case that can be handled by the community.

Using a custom flag to alert moderators sidesteps this new system, which is something we've been trying to figure out how to address. When the content in question isn't particularly abusive (just misguided), and where the community driven system is working custom flags don't help much - it's just noise.

There are cases where you might want to escalate things still, using custom flags:

  • if it's a persistent pattern
  • something outright abusive
  • there's some astroturfing tag-team activity going
  • something isn't right about the community close handling and the process has had a chance to run

In cases like that detailed custom flag messages are exceedingly helpful, but in general we don't need to see every single off-topic post.

In this specific instance I saw this question and your flag as part of a group:

  1. I did not infer from your flag message that you were asking for a more detailed reason to be used. (I assumed it to be another "hurry up please" flag)
  2. By the time I got to the flag it was already closed. (I'm not going to reopen and then close it just to change the message without a really good reason)
  • 3
    This all sounds reasonable, but y'all really need to get together on this. This is not the first person to come here who has had a serious problem getting bad content removed from the site efficiently. Either fix the inadequacies in the close reasons, or start actually processing flags instead of declining them for meta-reasons. Commented Aug 11, 2013 at 9:39
  • Thanks for the reply. First, I don't think mods should really look at 99% of the OTs I see, and I think you can easily resolve it by fixing the broken system. Look at meta.stackexchange.com/q/171732, one of Jaydles central points is that all of the changes are to make it clearer for the (unexperienced) asker what is going on. Then look again at the wording of the now-deleted question and tell me whether the OP will find any of the possible OT reasons relevant. There should still be a "Blatantaly off topic, read the FAQ and get a fundamental understanding of how questions should be."
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 8:33

In my humble opinion, the question does fit the "recommend or find a tool, library or favorite off-site resource" closure reason: a co-worker or teacher who regularly assists you with your code is an off-site resource.

As you can see, all of the users who voted to close (myself included) have indeed chosen this very reason.

  • I can't read the original text of the question anymore. But as I recall it, the OP specifically called for people to help him on this site. Not a teacher or a co-worker, people here.
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 8:35
  • @AndersUP Picky but true. Still, however you call that person, "do me my work" is off topic on SO.
    – H2CO3
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 9:55
  • Exactly. Off-topic, but not because he is fishing for off-site material. Just off topic. My point is, as I've also written in my answer to @Flexo, that the reason for changing to 'On hold' was semantics, helping the OPs get a better understanding of what is going on. I'm arguing that closing/deleting this question as fishing off-site is not helping the OP understand anything as that was not what he was doing. The same would go for saying the question was too broad or unclear. The question is totally OT, so we should come out and say so.
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 10:04
  • So, why the downvote, after all?
    – H2CO3
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 18:08
  • Because I disagree with what you write, and as I can be inferred from my original comment to your answer, I believe it is inaccurate. Essentially, I still believe that the closure reason given to the OP was neither accurate nor helpful and your answer does not even accept the premise in my question that is As I read the question, the OP comes to SE and asks whether there are anybody on this site willing to help him.
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 18:46
  • I hope that is an acceptable explanation, if not (or regardless) feel free to downvote one or two of my questions if you haven't already. ;)
    – user213634
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 18:50
  • @AndersUP It is an acceptable explanation.
    – H2CO3
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 18:50

You must log in to answer this question.