Hello all,

I'd like more information as to why a question deemed Localized is grounds for closing.

An example:

I find the notion somewhat disturbing since the target of the question is irrelevant as long it is on topic. On many programming forums (or user forums if we drive a parallel to Super User where this question was also closed for the same reason) I must say, in near 20 years, I cannot remember a question ever being closed by its moderators on grounds of being "too localized".

Another thought: On both cases, before the question was closed, apparent valid or useful answers were given, which does show the ability of the forum users to provide valuable information on this type of questions. This displaces the notion this type of question may not find any interest, or may not be answerable.

Finally, I cannot see any information on the FAQ with "Localized" as a type of question to avoid.

  • Ok, Folks. Thanks. I don't mean to discuss it. Just understand the motivation behind it. And I do now. Cheers.
    – A Dwarf
    Sep 22, 2009 at 15:21
  • 2
    That's probably why those forums are full of junk. Sep 22, 2009 at 15:22
  • 1
    You tagged this question as discussion, why wouldn't a discussion ensue?
    – random
    Sep 22, 2009 at 15:25

4 Answers 4


I think the reason given by Jeff of "too localized":

too localized

This question would only be relevant to a very small geographic minority, and is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

contradicts the general principle described in the SO FAQ ( by him self )

...of interest to at least one other programmer somewhere

I think

assert: "1 programmer" < "a very small geographic minority";

Evaluates to true.

So one of them is wrong.

I have not however mark to close a question as "too localized" nor vote to re-open it though.

  • 2
    AFAIK, this is "somewhere" in the sense of "anywhere", not somewhere specific. I have plenty of questions that are only of interest to my co-workers, pertaining as they do to in-house tools used only by us - i probably shouldn't use SO as a replacement for our email system.
    – Shog9
    Sep 22, 2009 at 18:01
  • The question is: where do you draw the line between somewhere and somewhere specific? The world? Continents? Populous countries? Countries? Populous regions?
    – Eric
    Sep 22, 2009 at 20:18
  • @Eric: Those are all specific places. This isn't Craigslist - why should questions on SO be limited by geography? If a skilled programmer can get Internet access then they should be able to use SO without being discriminated against based on where they happen to be physically located. A question qualified with "everywhere in the Universe except for Lost Springs, WY" would still be too localized - a real programming question should depend only on the reader's knowledge of the asker's language, platform, and purpose, not the region in which he happens to sleep at night.
    – Shog9
    Sep 22, 2009 at 21:01
  • @Eric: Ironically that's subjective and argumentative :-/
    – OscarRyz
    Sep 22, 2009 at 21:02
  • 3
    This is my main issue with the rule. Living in a country with 10 million inhabitants the size of Minnesota doesn't really make me feel "too localized". If 100 users of my country come to this forum everyday, doesn't make me feel "too localized" either. However, I have an hard time believing a New Jersey user with 10x less area and 2 million less population will not have their "too localized" question closed. This rule simply doesn't promote the forum main objectives and it is highly subjective and prone to very unfair situations.
    – A Dwarf
    Sep 23, 2009 at 1:23
  • errata: will -not have their "too localized" question closed,
    – A Dwarf
    Sep 23, 2009 at 1:25
  • @Shog9: If that's the case, then the reason for closing should simply be "localized" rather than "too localized", which implies that there is an acceptable level of locality.
    – Eric
    Sep 23, 2009 at 7:30
  • @A Dwarf: I would certainly vote to close any question attempting to limit responses to programmers from New Jersey. What's special about New Jersey, that SO should favor it? @Eric: well, there's a suggestion idea for ya...
    – Shog9
    Sep 23, 2009 at 21:58

When a question is specific to a country or region, it is considered localised. The option has been there for some time, and has been used, albeit rarely. In this particular case the question was related to exams in a country, and unless someone lives in the country, even with the information online, there is not a big chance of it getting a valid or correct answer.

From a discussion about the various close reasons:

too localized

This question would only be relevant to a very small geographic minority, and is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

The same applies to a product that may be very specific, for example an in-house application that no-one has heard about, however these are rare.

These questions also tend to be drive-by questions, with the posters rarely, if ever, coming back. However, in this specific scenario, it was not the case.

I have in the past deleted similar questions off forums, since none of the others I have been involved in ever had the option to close questions the way it is done on SOFU.

The SuperUser question was closed after it was flagged for moderator attention by various users.

On Meta this has been discussed a few times as can be seen here and it is mentioned in the Official FAQ here

  • Very well. I'm still not convinced the option should exist. But that's my problem and I'm certainly free to not use it :) Your third paragraph is indeed a strong argument though, as I can certainly relate to it.
    – A Dwarf
    Sep 22, 2009 at 14:48
  • Please note that this option was not added as at a whim. It had become a legatimate problem on SO long before SF and SU even existed and therefore it was added, again as I said not often used, but there was enough use cases for Jeff and company to add it. SO itself has been around for more then a year, and if I recall that option was added not to long after coming out of beta. Sep 22, 2009 at 14:52
  • Just added the bit after see the little bar up top say, "Please stop now, you're spending way too much time on Meta".
    – random
    Sep 22, 2009 at 14:55
  • 1
    @random - I tweeted about 30 minutes ago I should stay of the Trilogy today before I do something seriously nasty.... I am still here. Sep 22, 2009 at 14:58
  • Take a break Diago!
    – random
    Sep 22, 2009 at 15:18

Just for your information: I voted to close and have it moved to SO.

I commented that his question might be too localized and that it could be hard to find the answer. Turned out, my first Google hit was the answer.

Good for him, but a better question would have been where to find something like that in general. That would make it useful to a broader audience as well, not just people in Bangladesh.


The reason is that some users (myself included, can't know how much concensus there is) believe that that question doesn't belong on (isn't withing the scope of) stackoverflow.

  • Might want to close this one too then: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/18454/…
    – Eric
    Sep 22, 2009 at 14:50
  • I thought this was meta? That question is about SO stickers :P
    – perbert
    Sep 22, 2009 at 15:15
  • @voyager: Then you should've close as "not a real question" or "not programming related" ... mmhh or ... "belongs to super user?" :P Or... .... :-(
    – OscarRyz
    Sep 22, 2009 at 18:12
  • 2
    I'm still waiting for Jeff to implement belongs on http://thedailywtf.com
    – perbert
    Sep 22, 2009 at 18:30

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