Here's the post-notice for an old question closed as off topic:

closed as off topic by OneUser, TwoUsers, ThreeUsers, FourUsers, FiveUsers sometime before closing overhaul

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Now, here's the new one:

closed as off-topic by OneUser, TwoUsers, ThreeUsers, FourUsers, FiveUsers sometime after closing overhaul

  • This question does not appear to be about Stack Overflow or the software that powers the Stack Exchange network within the scope defined in the help center.

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question or leave a comment.

Notice the difference? The first one has a space between "off" and "topic", while the second has a hyphen. Is this intended, or is it an oversight in typing up the new close reasons?

  • 1
    Old off topic reasons presumably can't be changed without madness ensuing – Richard Tingle Oct 17 '13 at 15:43
  • 4
    Some people choose to hyphenate after a marriage – random Oct 17 '13 at 15:44
  • 4
    Neither is wrong, so I don't see a problem here. Consistency with something that's obsolete isn't really important. – Servy Oct 17 '13 at 15:44
  • See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/184382/… – Antony Oct 17 '13 at 16:28
  • Why has this been downvoted? – user215114 Oct 17 '13 at 19:46
  • As long as we're warping the meaning, why not punctuate it funny, too? – Josh Caswell Oct 18 '13 at 4:08
  • @Antony How does that pertain to my question? – user215114 Oct 18 '13 at 4:13
  • Did you read the answer by Oded? He said "off-topic will keep it's hyphen, now that it got it (pretty much like badges, yeah?)" – Antony Oct 18 '13 at 4:47

"Off-Topic" is used more often than "Off Topic":

Meta search for "Off Topic" - 833 results.

Meta search for "Off-Topic" - 1,901 results.

'Nuff said?


As far as I can see, the hyphen is consistent.

It might not match the old message, but all the current flag option text uses a hyphen throughout, in the titles and descriptions when flagging.

Unless you are suggesting they are all changed back to the old way "off topic" which I don't think is as good.

While both are correct usage, being pedantic for the sake of it off-topic is better..
off topic are two words and could be part of a greater meaning in a sentence;
off-topic being grouped makes it clear, indicating one thing only, "off-topic";

It's all petty however, as while constancy through the site is good, I could mention 20 things which I'd prefer to be changed than this.

  • My question is not asking for change. I am just curious why there was a hyphen added in the closing overhaul. – user215114 Oct 17 '13 at 16:16
  • 3
    @gparyani Who cares. It could be as simple as a different person typing out the message with a different preference as to how to type the word. – Servy Oct 17 '13 at 16:17
  • @gparyani Well, you stated in your title that they "should be consistent", and I simply answered stating they already are. You also asked if it was an oversight, also suggesting you thought it was an issue, hence my answer approach ;) – James Oct 17 '13 at 16:19
  • @James I have edited my question. I was going to, but you answered before I could. – user215114 Oct 17 '13 at 16:20
  • @RichardTingle yes, I agree.. but there are more important changes that could be made – James Oct 17 '13 at 16:22
  • @gparyani, your question edits makes most of my answer fairly redundant, and your question is now also a fairly trivial one... – James Oct 17 '13 at 16:23
  • That's because I am now asking for a response from the team... – user215114 Oct 17 '13 at 16:24
  • 3
    Well, to be fair, you changed your question because my answer showed you were incorrect to state it was inconsistent. As I said, your question edits make my answer a bit redundant and appear like I'm answering your new question as if I know why Stack introduced the hyphen. But it's now a trivial question - ie who cares why they chose that - and the new question is one I wouldn't have answered. – James Oct 17 '13 at 16:35

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