I recently ran across what to me is clearly an off-topic question on SO:

Is there a Template Engine like Velocity or Freemarker for Delphi?

This question is clearly asking that someone recommend or locate a library or tool, which is a shopping-list or recommendation question. However, it can't be closed, as it has an open bounty.

The typical process for these types of situations is to flag the question with an "other" flag, and explain that it's off-topic but protected from normal closure by the bounty. This has been previously discussed here, for instance in this question - it happens to be opinion-based, but the concept is the same; it's an off-topic question that was unable to be closed as usual because of the bounty. (As can be seen in that question's answer, the flag works, and I posted an answer there that mentions that as well.)

I flagged the question, with the specific reason I mention, and the flag was declined:

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As the question can't be closed by the usual process because of the bounty, and is clearly off topic according to the guidelines here (there's even a standard site-specific off-topic close reason for these types of questions), there's clearly moderator intervention required.

Are off-topic questions now immune to closure because a bounty is added?

  • 6
    Animuson just refunded the bounty and closed the question. I concur.
    – user102937
    Sep 14, 2013 at 19:24
  • 3
    Thanks, Robert and @animuson. I thought I was missing something; it seemed pretty clear-cut to me. I appreciate the quick response.
    – Ken White
    Sep 14, 2013 at 19:26
  • 2
    @KenWhite maybe the mod who declined it would chime in and let us know why they declined it, but the best guess is maybe the mention of the bounty is lost in the middle of your description. Your flag description seemed to focus on the fact it was off-topic and not that it had a bounty. Maybe making the bounty more visible for future comments, like.... "Bounty on off-topic question (library recommendation). Cannot close without mod assistance" Sep 14, 2013 at 19:45
  • @psubsee2003: Good point, now that you point it out. I'll definitely keep that in mind in the future. I can see where it might be overlooked when reviewing a bunch of flags. Thanks.
    – Ken White
    Sep 14, 2013 at 19:53
  • 7
    In situations like this where a custom flag is needed, always state what the problem is, and what you want the mod to do about it. "This question is off-topic because it is a library recommendation question, but it cannot be closed because it has a bounty on it. Please refund the bounty and close the question."
    – user102937
    Sep 14, 2013 at 20:09
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey: That's a great tip! It certainly would make things more clear. Thanks. (I do understand that bounties prevent closure for a reason; it's the reason I used a custom flag, because it shouldn't prevent closure of questions that shouldn't be here in the first place. It was the reason for the declined flag that bothered me; I have a pretty low amount of declined flags - 51 including this one, and nearly 1400 accepted as of right now - so I'm usually pretty sure I should flag when I do. :-)
    – Ken White
    Sep 14, 2013 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


I'm recorded as the moderator who declined that flag early yesterday morning, but I honestly have no recollection of why I declined it or of even reading your flag reason yesterday. The only thing that I can think of that might have happened is that I meant to decline a flag on an adjacent question in the flag queue and clicked on yours by mistake. You were right to flag that question, as it did require moderator attention, and the reason you gave was descriptive enough that I should have marked it as helpful. I apologize for the confusion.

  • 2
    Bill, thanks for the info. No apology necessary. :-) As I said, I don't get a lot of flags declined, and while I occasionally disagree (and once in a while strongly disagree), I never take it personally. :-) I just couldn't understand why this one was, and wanted to make sure I didn't miss a guideline change. I appreciate your candor. :-)
    – Ken White
    Sep 15, 2013 at 15:46
  • 8
    You're not Will. Stop moderating under the influence. Sep 15, 2013 at 17:21
  • 1
    I did that a few times myself, and this is why Jarrod is giving the mod UI the love it never got as a kid, and finally making it feel like a real goat.
    – Tim Post
    Sep 16, 2013 at 4:02

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