In Closing changes: on hold, unclear, too broad, opinion-based, off-topic reasons, bye-bye to Too Localized the staffs says this:

Today, TL is used helpfully on code dump questions on SO, but the new OT reasons are where this is now correctly addressed. SO can use "Large blocks of code with requests for debugging without meaningful supporting info" as a specific OT reason.

But there is no such Off-Topic reason (maybe it has changed since?), so the next best candidate is:

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.

Is this the reason I should use when closing any and all "what's wrong with my code" + code-dump questions?

  • There is an ongoing debate on whether or not to close "debug-my-code" questions. Here a diamond mod says some such questions should not be closed. Here are arguments for closing.
    – chue x
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 17:11
  • 1
    I don't think anyone argues against "What is wrong with my code" + code-dump type of questions, but I agree that there is a gradient. On one side is questions about specific runtime errors that happen to many programmers, with 2-3 lines describing what code causes them, and those are great questions. On the other side are questions dumping every line of code (possibly from several files), and not even hinting what is the problem ("My code is not working, please help. Thanks in advance, etc.").
    – sashoalm
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 17:20
  • 4
    @chuex: The deciding factor is whether or not you have to paste his code into a project and fire up a debugger to answer it. The OP can (and should) do that themselves.
    – user102937
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 17:23
  • Just to be clear I'm not in this post trying to push which way is correct (close or not), but am trying to point out both views. What you are saying makes sense, @RobertHarvey, but that is not how I am reading Tim's post. He seems to suggest that we leave open all debug-my-code questions (I would assume this excludes dups though).
    – chue x
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 18:00
  • @chuex: Well, he specifically calls out the cited question as answerable. That's a far cry from "leave all debug-my-code questions open."
    – user102937
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 18:01
  • @RobertHarvey - Ok, fair enough - he is saying to leave open all answerable questions. But there is overlap between what is "answerable" and what is "self-debuggable". I guess I'll just have to use my judgment. Clearly there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and that's why there is such a heated debate.
    – chue x
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 18:20
  • @chuex: It's only a heated debate because some people think that Stack Overflow is a vending machine, and can't be bothered to lift a finger to do some of their own work, but "Too lazy" was never a valid close reason. Tim Post's point was that answering answerable questions is not "enabling," it's facilitating, and that you can ignore answerable questions if you like, you just can't close them.
    – user102937
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 18:22
  • See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/215406/…
    – Raedwald
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 23:57

1 Answer 1


As implied by the section you quoted from the linked post and the note at the end that says Questions closed prior to these changes will not be mapped to the new reasons, as it's not a 1:1 mapping, code dump questions are addressed by more than one of the newer close vote reasons, on a case-by-case basis. I think these are the main candidates:

  • If the question is asking readers to find any and all problems with the code, optimize the code, suggest alternate approaches or improvements, etc., without identifying a specific problem or issue that needs to be addressed:

    Too broad, which advises the asker to "add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs"

  • If the question identifies a specific problem or issue that needs to be addressed, or provides an error message, but then dumps the entire program into the question without indicating what section is relevant to the question or explaining what the code is intended to accomplish and how that relates to the question:

    lacks sufficient information to diagnose the problem, which provides a link to a page explaining the concept of a Minimal, Complete, Valid Example

  • If the question doesn't even tell you in specific terms what kind of help the OP is looking for, or just says "This doesn't work, does anyone know why?":

    unclear what you're asking, which provides a link to the How do I ask a good question help topic

And, of course, if you don't think any of the pre-defined close reasons apply, you can always provide a custom reason. However, I believe the three options above should be sufficient cover all or nearly all code dump questions.

  • I would suggest that the new close reason be used for questions that are incomplete in some way, not questions that clearly provide all the information, but not in a digestible way. Those are "unclear" or "too broad."
    – user102937
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 17:18
  • @RobertHarvey Agreed. What I'm referring to in the middle bullet point are questions that clearly state a problem (e.g. "I want such-and-such to happen, but this-and-that happens instead"), but then just dump the whole program, and expect readers to figure out which part of the code is trying to accomplish the said "such-and-such"--a question like that is "incomplete" in that there's no indication of where and how the OP is trying to accomplish whatever isn't working, so in effect it doesn't identify information that's relevant to diagnosing the problem.
    – Adi Inbar
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 17:45

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