A while back I posted my opinion that "typo" related questions should be closed and removed, which had a lot of support so I'm going on the assumption that it's still generally correct.

For example this question: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/18179485/link-to-css-not-working

Solved by changing boostrap.css to bootstrap.css. "Boostrap" of course being a mere typo. Useful to no one but the OP.

I miss "too localized" because it was perfect for typos, but I accept that it is gone.

Under the current system, which close reason (if any) apply to this and other such questions? Am I supposed to type in a custom reason?

I tried a custom message, does this seem reasonable, or confusing?

This question appears to be off-topic because it is... A typo.

Is there something else that would make more sense?

  • 1
    boostrap.css. Sounds like a possible Boost library: Boost.Rap.Css
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 7:13
  • 2
    @cole It's a library to wrap the Boost library so you can use it via css :P
    – Doorknob
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 10:12
  • Related older question regarding a specific case: meta.stackexchange.com/q/186366/238706
    – Palec
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 0:57

3 Answers 3


Off topic is the right choice because while programming is on topic, typos are not part of that topic and so is the correct topical solution to apply here.

But it doesn't just appear to be off-topic, it is. So assert some charm into that close reason.

This question is only about a typo and serves no use beyond this single situation.

Any variation on the message which drives home the narrow use case should suffice.

  • 5
    The awkward part is that: a) I have to type all this stuff whereas before it was straight-forward, and b) it posts this comment for me where I would usually say nothing. Whatever, no biggie. Thanks, I'll use "off topic" as confusing as it may sound.
    – user159834
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 21:18

Bear in mind that there can be some intrinsic usefulness in some of these questions. You can, for instance, be searching for a compiler warning or error, cryptic exception or something else that might not make its cause immediately obvious to a novice programmer. Finding a question where you realize that you had a typo in a preprocessor statement can lead someone to realize that they need a preprocessor statement for something to work.

In other words, your missing } resulted in your compiler saying you were making a foo out of a foo, yet you clearly knew you weren't doing that. Someone else might say Oh, okay, so I can't make a foo out of a foo, didn't know that.

That said, it's a bit of a judgement call. If you honestly see no potential value ever coming of the question, then a polite comment should be sufficient when closing. Just use your best judgement.

  • 4
    The error messages for stray characters between the #includes are even more fun.
    – asheeshr
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 6:59
  • 4
    I get what you're saying, but pretty much every time the noise outweighs the usefulness. There's "potential value" in many posts that are way off topic (shopping suggestions, shark vs gorilla, etc.).
    – user159834
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 21:21

As of January 2014, we have a norepro/typo close reason on SO. From https://meta.stackexchange.com/q/216585/238706:

Typos and "the problem went away" questions

These questions are often resolved by correcting a simple syntax error or by the asker himself after realizing he was looking at the wrong code, forgot to restart the server, etc. They tend to be an embarrassment to the asker and a source of unhelpful noise for others with superficially-similar problems:

This question was caused by a problem that can no longer be reproduced or a simple typographical error. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers. This can often be avoided by identifying and closely inspecting the shortest program necessary to reproduce the problem before posting.

Note that the original wording proposed for this reason has been tweaked several times in response to confusion observed here on Meta and on Stack Overflow itself. The target remains the same though: "face-palm" problems that no longer affect the asker and whose solutions will never benefit anyone else.