I've seen some proposals like "Allow custom close reasons that are off-topic" floating around on meta.

My question is, until those proposals are implemented, can I use custom close reasons for things other than "off topic"?

  • They regularly are used this way. See here for some examples.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 29, 2015 at 21:14
  • Any reason for the downvote? The question is legitimate even if you happen to disagree with the example that brought it about.
    – Rainbolt
    May 30, 2015 at 16:07
  • The edit fundamentally changes the question. The general answer is simple and basically yes; look at the first part of my answer. But the example you gave wasn't just using custom votes for something that wasn't off topic, it was using custom votes for something that was unclear or too broad (or both). And in that case I don't think the answer is a simple yes. The new form is a reasonable question, but it doesn't apply to the case that prompted you to ask.
    – Cascabel
    May 30, 2015 at 16:54
  • @Jefromi Fair enough. Now let's reserve future comments for the question as it is currently written. If your answer needs to be adjusted, then go for it.
    – Rainbolt
    May 30, 2015 at 16:57
  • (And by the way, the downvote wasn't me - I wrote that on seeing the edit, didn't mean it as a reply to your comment.)
    – Cascabel
    May 30, 2015 at 17:30
  • 3
    If you're going to fundamentally change the question, you should revert the edit and ask a new question. Forcing answers to change because you changed the question isn't really accepted behavior.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 30, 2015 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


It seems fair to use them for things like mentioned in that proposal ("cannot reproduce") - that's a reason to close that doesn't fit into any existing close reasons. If there's an automatic downvote that's unfortunate, but still, seems it's the best the system lets us do.

However, they shouldn't be used to replace already-existing close reasons. So, if you're tempted to write a custom close reason, just look at the non-custom ones first. Only use a custom reason if none of those fit.

If it's a mix of standard close reasons (say, broad and opinion-based), there's probably still a dominant one; use that one and explain in a comment. That way we can take advantage of the prominent UI treatment and standard language for the closure. In particular, be careful not to use a custom close reason simply to explain why a question is, say, too broad and opinion-based. That can be done with a standard close vote and an explanatory comment.


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