I just came across this question on English.SE. The banner says it was closed by a moderator as "general reference", which is not one of the 5 standard close reasons (duplicate, off-topic, too broad, unclear what you're asking, and primarily opinion based). It is similar to a current ELU off-topic close reason, just displayed in a different way.

enter image description here

Of course, the question was closed before the beginning of , so the rules were probably different back then.

Were closed questions previously displayed with the off-topic close reason shown at the top of the banner (rather than just "off-topic")? If so, why? If not, why was the close reason shown as "general reference" in this case?

  • 6
    It was an old close reason introduced on two sites as a result of Introduce a "general reference" close reason. It never rolled out network-wide. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Apr 1 '19 at 4:42
  • 1
    Also, this wasn't an off-topic close reason. It was its own, separate close reason, just like "unclear what you're asking" and "primarily opinion-based". Once the closing overhaul took place in late 2013, this close reason was removed and replaced with a specific off-topic close reason. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Apr 1 '19 at 4:51
  • They were displayed just like that. The display doesn't change. – Cody Gray Apr 1 '19 at 6:02
  • @CodyGray There were some close reasons that did in fact change display. For instance, the old "not [topic] related" close reasons on the Trilogy sites was later changed to "off topic" (not to be confused with the modern "off-topic" close reason), and there was an old "noise or pointless" close reason on meta sites that was later retroactively shown as "not constructive", but started showing up again after the closing system was overhauled. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Apr 2 '19 at 5:16