It seems as though questions that are being marked 'primarily opinion-based' are, in fact, off-topic for one reason or another. For example, each of these are off-topic because they're asking for off-site resources.

According to this meta post one of the reasons for the changes was to:

be able to query and analyze the reasons provided via the "other" off-topic option in a fairly simple fashion

It seems that to meet that goal of being able to provide useful statistical analysis, avoidance of mis-marking these is useful. Yet, it seems like the mis-marking does occur a great deal. I'd assert that this is because the 'off topic' reasons are behind a second mouse click 1, while a catch-all option ('opinion-based') is available immediately. Further, in thinking about this, the whole 'off topic' labeling is subtly inaccurate: a fast-and-loose interpretation of asking for a library isn't 'off-topic'; it is opinion-based. (Because, really, they are asking for an opinion, and thus there is a semantic overlap between these two categories).

Is it possible to surface the 'off-topic' reasons more prominently? I recognize the UX issue here, of course. Failing that, is there a way to discourage voting everything as opinion-based in favor of more precise categorization?

1 I'd prefer not to get into an extended discussion about the fact that people should click through and are therefore doing it wrong.

  • 1
    Slightly off topic (and not trying to confuse the matter as I think you have a valid point), but since a couple of your questions have possible duplicate comments... based on Voting to close: dupe vs “off topic” / minimal understanding, it seems to suggest that closing as dup is preferred (although hardly a consensus as I originally wrote) Aug 16, 2013 at 17:58
  • I have been guilty of this as well. Vote to close, click off topic, tl;dr, whatever... close dialog, click close again, select "unclear what you're asking". I've grown fond of "Other" lately though in lieu of "Too Localized" which I dearly miss for those "find my parse error" and other such posts.
    – user159834
    Aug 16, 2013 at 18:01
  • @psubsee2003 Those were the examples I had on-hand, and I'll just say I see this a lot with questions in the 'minimal understanding' category as well, but search for closed questions is hard. Also, I'm not sure how I feel on the dupe vs. close-because-its bad divide. Aug 16, 2013 at 18:03
  • @NathanielFord Fair enough. I at least wanted to link that discussion since it is tangentially discussing selecting the wrong close reason. Aug 16, 2013 at 18:12
  • Cf. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/191773/…
    – Nemo
    May 1, 2015 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


I would like to see the following options as part of the main flag dialog.

  • Duplicate
  • Off topic
  • Other (unclear, too broad, or primarily opinion based)

As it is, those options are all behind the "It doesn't belong here..." option, but I use that for 99.6% of my flags.

  • I hate to have to click through twice to close as anything, but it does prevent preference for the "unclear", "too broad", "primary opinion based" and is more organized that moving everything to the top level Aug 16, 2013 at 19:13

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