This was earlier requested on the meta site for LaTeX here at stackexchange, under When flagging for close: Adding a reason. The discussion lead to a suggestion to post the request here.

Posts on StackExchange are closed for numerous reasons, and ticking of the right box for the exact reason might not always fit the question quite right, or the reason might sometimes be very vague. For new users, knowing exactly why ones question was closed is not always clear.

As I see it at the moment, the default reasons for closing, are just categories. These could benefit from an additional mandatory field where a more fitting reason is supplied. The reason given doesn't need to be very long, sometimes, simply something like "Question is simply a typo", or something similar will be enough.

Now, there is, as mentioned in the answer by Alenannoin the linked question, already a input-field in the Off topic - Other-reason input. However, I think it would be better to have a mandatory field for all close-reasons, to give a more precise reason so that the user understands clearly why his/hers post was closed. Many times, these reasons are given as comments in advance, and this is great, but it doesn't always happen that way. Also, the exact reason should be provided in the text-box after the question has been closed, for ease of reading.

There have been numerous posts on problems with closing, which sometimes happens rushed, and feels harsh for new users. See Reviewers; what do you eat for breakfast? among others. Forcing reviewers to give a small, written reason could possible have a positive effect, as closing a post would involve not just steps with ticking the right box. Reviewers would also need to reflect their perspective on how the written reason would be perceived.

Now I am not saying that this community is harsh. For the most part, I see this community as very helpful, openminded, and nice. Closing of posts is mostly done in a nice way. But sometimes, it is not quite as good as it could be. This is more of a request for perfection, than something that is strictly necessary.

Edit: I get it. This was simply meant as a discussion, and it seems nobody agrees. That is perfectly okey, and I won't bring it up no that we have discussed it, and I have read other opinions on it. I agree, it would introduce more trouble that what it is worth, and possible counterproductive. Now, I do not feel that reputation should be withdrawn because it was an unpopular suggestion. I didn't think voting on questions had anything to do with agreeing on the content, but more on the quality of the question. But that is a different discussion, and I don't want to get into it.

  • For all posts, or only for posts by new users? If the former, I cannot downvote this hard enough. If the latter, I think this is probably excessive but it's not completely wrong-headed, although it could use something to make it less burdensome. Dec 29, 2015 at 1:19
  • Sure, it shouldn't be a burden for reviewers. I don't think it will be. Many times, a short reason, like "Simple typo" would suffice. As to whether it should be for new-users-only I am completely open. I am not a senior here, and cannot really talk for them, as they should post their own view on the subject. But I do feel that new users can sometimes feel that this community is bit harsh, and might leave because of their first-impressions.
    – Runar
    Dec 29, 2015 at 1:25
  • Note that on e.g. Stack Overflow, "typo" is a site-customized off-topic reason, which obviates the need for this there and anywhere else that has enough typo questions to worry about this much. Dec 29, 2015 at 1:28
  • You are assuming all - or most - off topic posts deserve the time necessary to write a precise explanation for the closure. I'm afraid that simply isn't true, even for extremely short explanations.
    – yannis
    Dec 29, 2015 at 1:47
  • I should probably have made myself a bit more clear. It's meant as a proposal to get a duscussion started, and that this feature could possible be enabled on a per-site-level, not the whole site.
    – Runar
    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:15

1 Answer 1


This feature request seems to be unnecessary, cumbersome, and counter-productive.

It's unnecessary because sites can already customize their close reasons to capture common simple reasons for closure such as "typo, irrelevant to anyone else" or "proofreading request" or "shopping request". I'm dubious that most sites get enough of a long tail of close reasons that are both short and seriously unclear when rolled into one of the existing reasons. Collecting plenty of hard data here might change my mind, though.

It's cumbersome because filling out an extra field and remembering to make it clear and polite (when you've had to do five of these already today) is non-trivial. Unfortunately, on essentially all sites that have any review queue scaling problems, Close Votes is the first and worst to stop scaling properly, so adding further friction is unwise.

It's counter-productive because, rather than taking the opportunity to be extra polite, hassled, overworked reviewers who are tired of seeing stupid questions will instead take the opportunity to be blunt and efficient … even at the expense of politeness or clarity. "I'm voting to close this question because derp/XYZ/it's terrible/you know why" will become all too common. (We see that even now with custom reasons from time to time.)


In order to handle the case of new users, I would instead suggest borrowing the downvote popup that asks for a meaningful comment and apply a similar wording to ask close-voters to post a useful comment:

Please consider adding a comment if this close reason is not immediately clear to the asker.

This could pop up when close-voting from a question page; putting it in the review queue would be more difficult, but probably not essential, since someone had to put it in the queue to begin with.

This popup is far less cumbersome, since it requires no action, is not necessarily shown to reviewers, and only recommends action in cases where default reasons are insufficient. It's also less redundant and less counter-productive, for much the same reasons.

  • I see your reasoning, and I think your counterproposal is a good idea. Is this something that can be enabled already, on a per-site-level?
    – Runar
    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:09
  • No code for this exists, so far as I know, but it would not be terribly difficult to write. I doubt it would be enabled per site, but I suppose that's possible; the gap between "useful for no sites" and "useful for all sites" is pretty small most of the time, though. Dec 29, 2015 at 6:18

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