On the Russian Stack Overflow site we've had some discussions about changing the wording of close reasons. There was one point brought up that I feel warrants some consensus from the wider Stack Exchange community:

Причины на первой странице — это причины, единые для всей Сети. Они — результат долгих лет развития десятков сайтов Q&A. В них каждое слово высечено потом и кровью.

Ни одному сайту не давалось права изобретать на их месте что-то своё. Каждый сайт в Сети использует эти причины. Что у локализованных сайтов появилась техническая возможность полностью изменить текст — это не значит, что появилось право. Наша обязанность — перевести оригинальный текст с учётом всяких там культурных особенностей, но — перевести, сохранить идею и дух оригинального текста. (source)


The reasons on the first page [of the close dialog] are the same across the whole network. They are the result of years of development in dozens of Q&A sites. Sweat and blood have been poured into the calculation of each word.

Not a single site has been given the right to replace them with something of their own. Every site in the network uses these reasons. The fact that localized sites have been given the technical ability to completely change the text does not mean that they have been given the right to do so. Our responsibility is to translate the original text, keeping in mind whatever cultural particularities there are, but all the while preserving the meaning and spirit of the original text.

By "first page", this is referring specifically to the standard reasons that are common across all sites: "duplicate", "off-topic", "unclear", "too broad", and "primarily opinion based"; not the custom close reasons that are on the second page (which can already be edited by every site).

The gist of the issue is that since localized communities have the power to edit the translation, they also have the ability to completely change the textual description of those standard close reasons. In particular, there's been some dissatisfaction with the close reasons and consideration of changing some of them altogether, beyond simple adjustments in the wording. There are arguments for and against this:

  • On the one hand, localized sites have a user base with a different culture than English-speaking sites and should be able to cater to their own needs instead of blindly copying from the English version. In general, communities should change whatever they have control over to match their own consensus.
  • On the other hand, the link between having a different language and needing to have completely different close reasons seems tenuous. As far as culture is concerned, different English-speaking communities on Stack Exchange have different cultures, but none of them are given the privilege of changing the first page of close reasons.

This leads me to two questions:

  1. Should localized communities be allowed to go beyond translation and completely change the meaning of text if they want to?
  2. Should any community, English-speaking or otherwise, be allowed to adjust the text of the close reasons based on their own consensus?
  • 4
    One factor to consider is that regardless of what text the UI presents, the standard close reasons are represented in the database as "too broad", "unclear", etc. It could be really confusing to people using SEDE or the data dumps if you completely change what those "slots" mean. Dec 4, 2015 at 15:22
  • 1
    Is there a reason to drift from those standards? Even though they are on every SE the are enforced very differently by each community.
    – Dom
    Dec 5, 2015 at 7:14
  • There's always custom off-topic close reason. If they want to custom it, then by all means use that, but don't change the first page. I don't know what will happen to the close vote queue if the reasons are changed. Dec 5, 2015 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


1. No. In it's Core, it's a duplicate .SE, and as such, it should follow the same guidelines. Barring obviously illegal content for the specified regions (eg: If there were a Seasoned Advice (cooking.SE) exclusive for Saudi Arabia, questions regarding Alcohol would obviously be offtopic due to being illegal to consume alcohol in Saudi Arabia - However, that wouldn't happen in American/European countries), they should not change a single word, other than idiosyncrasies. It's merely the same .SE, except in Russian. It's a flatout No.

2. Yes, if by that you mean having Custom Reasons tailored for their .SE ;

Not all .SEs have the same notion of time. Physics, Cooking and Worldbuilding are fairly constant. Information used in these .SEs don't really change often, and even if it does change, it will still be relevant, but just replaced by a better / more popular method. However, in Arqade (Gaming.SE), there's been a few issues with Obsolete questions. Due to the nature of some games being constantly updated, and unplayable on previous states, questions regarding older patches that have been changed, are now obsolete and potentially induce new users in error. However, there's no way to close them, as they were relevant at one point or another.

Due to that, in my opinion, when defining a .SE's scope, certain particularities should be noted on, and have the close reasons tailored to them

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