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Lack of minimal understanding of the problem being solved is no longer an off-the peg reason for flagging a question off-topic, and according to this answer

As of now, the "minimal understanding" off-topic reason is gone.

However, if we want to flag a question off-topic, the menu advises us:

This question does not appear to be about programming within the scope defined in the help center.

And if we click through to the help center, the 3rd off the listed criteria for off-topic questions is:

Questions asking for code must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Include attempted solutions, why they didn't work, and the expected results. See also: Stack Overflow question checklist.

Is the help center out of date on this point?

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    The close reason was never wrong; the policy wasn't changed, it's simply that people were closing questions using that reason that didn't actually meet the criteria it described. The close reason wasn't wrong, it was just being abused, so having it in the help center isn't necessarily wrong. – Servy Jan 29 '14 at 15:06
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    The close reason was removed. Someone forgot to update the help center accordingly. – Gilles Jan 29 '14 at 15:29
  • @Gilles: The close reason was abused, but the policy is still sound. Note that the Help Center article does not have a one-to-one correspondence with the custom close reasons (see "questions asking for homework help" in the same article). – Robert Harvey Jan 29 '14 at 17:40
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It isn't on the list, because it was misused. It was used to close questions that was asked by inexperienced programmers, even if the question itself was properly asked. It real intention was always to close:

  1. Simple typographical error questions
  2. Questions that does not include attempted solutions, why they didn't work, and the expected results

Currently first one is covered under the brand new error, and second one can be closed with "unclear what you're asking", "too broad" or custom off-topic reason, whatever fits the specific case best.

Basically, policy never really changed. Available close reasons changed to make reality meet intended policy more closely.

  • The weight of opinion seems to be that you are right. Lack of minimal undertstanding is still off-topic per SO policy, but we just can no longer flag such off-topics with the unaided mouse. – Mike Kinghan Jan 30 '14 at 12:28
  • @MikeKinghan and we shouldn't do it carelessly. Just telling "you don't understand" is not OK. After all if someone understands everything, he never asks. "It's just a typo" or "if you don't have a clue where to start, you should see documentation and examples first, and ask when you'll have something to show us" are OK. – Mołot Jan 30 '14 at 13:03

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