In my experience I have seen several questions like this closed as "too localized".

I was getting the same error than the OP, but for a rather cryptic reason (some TOAD internal error), I couldn't find any post about my specific issue, but I found that question. It wasn't helpful because the error clear states there is a duplicate column, and he has a duplicate column. For me this is too localized because it only helps him. Is very unlikely someone else is going to have the same list of columns.

I tried to flag the question as "too localized", but I couldn't find the option for it, so I thought the correct way was to flag it for moderation attention.

My flag got declined and I got this answer:

Please use standard close votes or close flags for this instead of flagging for moderator

That made me realize I probably missed the option for too localized, so I continued searching and I found this.

According to that post I should flag the question as "Off-Topic" and give a reason. But this question is not off-topic, is not either lacking information, because he provided enough information to solve it.

Is that question too localized or is it valid?

  • The question seems fair enough.
    – Bart
    Jan 7, 2015 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


"Too localized" is no longer a valid reason to flag or close a post. We do not close questions because "it is very unlikely someone else is going to have the same [problem]." It's a historical artifact we ejected quite some time ago, thank goodness. A bit of a historical background might help explain why:

Way back in our earliest days, we envisioned a problem that, as it turned out, rarely occurred in actual practice — users asking about problems that were sooo obscure that they couldn't possibly be of interest to anyone else ever. E.g.

Why is there a green Honda Civic parked out in front of my house?

Who cares; right? "Too localized" was used to describe questions involving "…very tiny geographic regions or vanishingly small periods of time." But soon folks were using it to close questions with comments like: "This only pertains the people living in India, so it is 'too localized'" (← Yes, people actually said that). Overuse of this close reason was out of control, so we dropped it entirely, good riddance.

So if you can answer the question, answer it. You will have helped one person today; and we're okay with that.

  • 1
    But there still is a close reason for questions that can only possibly help the one person asking them (at least on Stack Overflow); it's just been reworded from "too localized" to avoid the confusion you described here.
    – Servy
    Jan 7, 2015 at 15:50
  • @Servy Reworded to what? All I see is 'duplicate', 'off topic', 'unclear', 'too broad', and 'opinion-based'. There's nothing even vaguely like "too localized" under 'off topic' either. Jan 7, 2015 at 15:54
  • 2
    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.
    – Servy
    Jan 7, 2015 at 16:02
  • @Servy what about the question I am referring to? If the OP would have quickly gone over his columns, he would have notice the duplicate column. The error message wasn't obscure either, it was straight forward.
    – Dzyann
    Jan 7, 2015 at 17:54
  • @Servy That's not really "too localized". It's "no longer relevant" (another close reason I've been pushing for, particularly in meta). But if that works for the original author, cool. Jan 7, 2015 at 17:56
  • @RobertCartaino My point is simply that most of the question that were intended to be closed by "Too Localized" meet the criteria for the close reason I listed. The reasons are quite different, but the new one is much more specific and unambiguous, leaving much less room for interpretation and, as a result, abuse. Questions that can be closed for that reason though are largely the same questions that were intended to be "Too Localized"
    – Servy
    Jan 7, 2015 at 17:58
  • @Servy Yes, agreed. The reason you listed is a much more specific use case for something that might have been previously closed as "too localized." Jan 7, 2015 at 18:06
  • So we don't mind anymore if the person posts questions they could have solved by simply reading his code? I am asking seriously and for future reference.
    – Dzyann
    Jan 7, 2015 at 18:24
  • Dzyann, If the question itself was essentially rendered invalid by a simple misunderstanding (e.g. a typo in code, something the original author can no longer reproduce, or just an "oops, I didn't see that, thanks"), then I would close it for the reasons stated in 'Servy's quote above. Jan 7, 2015 at 18:31

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