While working on https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/223497/lets-burn-down-the-close-queue, I came across a few questions that were "do my homework for me".

Here is one such example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/22171042/generate-all-combinations-of-the-elements-of-x-taken-m-at-a-time

So I was about to ask a question about "what is the appropriate reason", as none of the answers seemed appropriate when I found it had already been asked and answered here: How should "do my homework" questions be closed? (Missing "demonstrate minimal understanding")

However, I think that bit of it is not entirely clear under the "too broad reason". Because sometimes, extremely long answers are exactly the right thing: Why is it faster to process a sorted array than an unsorted array?

So, I'm proposing a small change of the "too broad" description, to clarify that this is the right close reason for a minimal effort question. Perhaps it should say instead (this is just one example, I'm open to suggestions about alternate wording):

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. In particular, questions that do not include an attempted solution are usually too broad. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.


Some people are saying that these questions should actually be off-topic. So now I went from being clear about what to mark these questions to being unclear. How would one tell the difference between "too broad" and "lacks sufficient information"?

  • 2
    I would consider custom close reason proposed here: "Unclear What Help You Need. Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell what problem you are trying to solve or what aspect of your code needs to be corrected or explained. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question."
    – gnat
    Mar 4, 2014 at 14:31
  • 1
    Incidentally, that question didn't require a long, detailed answer - but it certainly did benefit from one!
    – Shog9
    Mar 4, 2014 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


In particular, questions that do not include an attempted solution are usually too broad.

This is entirely incorrect.

It's true that questions on solving large problems where the asker hasn't tried anything yet are often too broad - there's simply too much ground to cover for a single question.

But many specific, answerable questions don't include attempted solutions because... There's nothing to attempt: either you know the answer or you don't. Indeed, this can be a hallmark of a properly-scoped question: have you managed to narrow it down to the one piece you don't know before asking?

If the asker identifies where they want to start, and where they want to end, but there are way too many pieces to fill in, then it is Too Broad.


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