This week we rolled out a series of changes to improve parts of the question close workflow. You can read more about the details of these changes here.

For context, the overall effort to improve the question close experience will be optimized for Stack Overflow. Given Stack Overflow’s scale, many of the pain points we hear about with question closing and reopening are unique to Stack Overflow and won’t make sense for other network sites. However some changes are general improvements that should improve usability and guidance overall. Wherever possible, we plan to roll these changes out network wide as well. Any time we roll out a change network wide, we’ll make sure to cross-post here. This first phase is being rolled out to the network and is why I’m posting today.

Let us know if you run into any issues or have questions regarding the network here.


12 Answers 12


The flagging dialog should not put all the custom close reasons under the heading of "needs improvement"

Reality is that lots of irredeemable questions get asked. There are lots of questions which can't be improved in order for them to become acceptable. The flag dialog should not have been changed to put everything under the heading of "needs improvement" when that is not true for many close reasons.

For example: in what way could this question be improved that would make it an acceptable question for MSE?!

screenshot of a terrible off-topic MSE question and the flag dialog

Please consider implementing this proposal by Machavity.


We've had this change for couple of days already, and it managed to cause some confusion. Without something official to point to, users resorted to freehand circles to guide flaggers to the right section when flagging to close. The horror.

Could you please post an announcement before (or at least as, but before is preferable) you release the next phase? I know I'm not the only one who felt a little out of the loop when I went to close an off-topic question and realized that the close reasons were behind a differently named category.

  • 9
    This is absolutely a fair ask. We try to do this as a best practice. I take responsibility for the delay here and apologize for the confusion it caused.
    – Des StaffMod
    Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 19:13
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    @Des It seems like most people managed to get a handle on things rather nicely. It wasn't an incredibly large change (though it did break a couple of userscripts). Thanks for replying, no apology necessary.
    – Spevacus
    Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 19:16
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    @Spevacus Speak for yourself. There are so many problems with the new flag/close dialogs IMO. Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 3:50
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    @curiousdannii I'm sure I speak for most, though I'm aware of the grievances people have with them. I support many of the proposed changes (Machavity's, and this one by Scratte for example.)
    – Spevacus
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 3:53

(Cross-post from Changes to the close dialogue have broken keyboard shortcuts for closing a post.)

Changes to the close dialogue have broken keyboard shortcuts for closing a post

When using the keyboard shortcuts previously, you could press m, for "moderation", and then c for "close", to open the close dialogue. This still works. However, after that, you can no longer press 1 or 3 or whatever to select a close reason; it just shows "no shortcuts available".

close dialogue, showing "no shortcuts available" on the side

Can we please fix this so that keyboard shortcuts work again for this? I tend to use this a lot, personally, and keyboard shortcuts are a big part of accessibility (as I've gone on about here on Meta.SE previously).


Needs more focus
This question currently includes multiple questions in one. It should focus on one problem only.

This wording is very problematic. I assume it was changed with this set of updates, though it could be that I just hadn't noticed until now.

This close reason is not only about posts that ask multiple questions. It is also about questions that are too broad and which it is unreasonable to expect to be answered in the SE Q&A format. For example:

  • How has the USA's foreign relations changed since independence from the UK?
  • What steps do you need to take to establish a TLS 1.3 connection?
  • What is the Catholic Church's understanding of Mary?

I remember that SE used to have the explanation that "too broad" could entail "it would take an entire book to answer". I don't remember if that explanation was in the dialogs or not, but it would be worth considering bringing back now.

  • 2
    The text in question was changed back in 2017 in response to a feature request here. Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 4:04
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    @Sonic the current text is much shorter than what it was changed to then. Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 4:22
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    @SonictheStay-HomeHedgehog It was more recently changed with the new post notices last fall (post with a screenshot).
    – Em C
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 18:52
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    What I meant was, it was in 2017 that the close reason text was refocused from "too many possible answers, or too long answers" to "multiple questions asked". The 2019 changes were just a rephrasing of the same. @curiousdannii Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 20:44

Compare the new Opinion Based close reason with the old one:

This question is likely to be answered with opinions rather than facts and citations. It should be updated so it will lead to fact-based answers.

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

enter image description here

enter image description here

The new version makes it sound like any question that has a distinct possibility of being answered with an opinion should be closed, even if the question does not actually ask for opinions. In contrast, the old version made it sound like only questions that pretty much cannot be answered without recourse to opinions should be closed.

Indeed, when closing a question, I don't think we should take into account what someone might post as an answer. If someone posts an opinion as an answer that is a problem with the answer and it should be dealt with accordingly. That doesn't mean that there is a problem with the question.

I think this is especially problematic on the non-technical sites, where certain questions can be easily answered with an opinion, even though they are not seeking opinions.

For example, on a religion site, a question such as "Why does God allow evil in the world?" might very easily lead to anyone with strong feelings on the matter posting whatever opinion they have. But the question is not asking for an opinion. Within the context of the religion there is a non-opinion answer (even if that answer may be a listing of various opinions within the religion).

Or on a media site, a question such as "Why did this character do this?" might result in people posting their favorite opinions, but that doesn't change the fact that within the story under discussion there is a non-opinion reason why the character did what it did.

Is there a reason why this close reason text was changed in this way? Can it be changed back, or at least be further revised?

  • 6
    Yes! So much this. I've frequently written meta posts on more subjective sites arguing (from the principles of Good Subjective) that there is a threshold of opinion-basedness, above which a question counts as primarily opinion-based and should be closed, below which questions can still be fine even while inviting some, supported, opinion. Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 18:52
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    Oh my, this is just terrible "It should be updated so it will lead to fact-based answers" Dafuq wut?! The entire idea of "good subjective" is emphasising that answers should be properly reasoned. Not that they have to quote Wikipedia in order to be "correct". Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 23:49

I can no longer see the close reason I chose:

In the past, we used to know the exact close reason we chose when voting to close a question.

However, in the new close dialog, it's no longer possible:

close dialog without own reason

In the above, I chose "A community-specific reason --> This question does not appear to be about the software that powers the Stack Exchange network". I have no way to confirm this after the vote was cast because one can not click on top entries (first page) on the dialog to visit the subentries (subsequent pages).

Can this ability be added back please?


Something seems inconsistent in the label for what used to be called "off-topic". When I click on the close button, the option that comes up is called "A community-specific reason":

Screenshot of close-vote options

When I click into that option I get sub-options under the heading "Why isn't this question suitable for [name of site]?"

Screenshot showing close-vote sub-options

If I check the revision history of a question after it is closed, the reason listed there is "Not suitable for this site":

Screenshot of close reason in revision history

In all three of these locations the terminology of "off-topic" has been abandoned. Yet the actual close reason that displays on the post itself (both to users with close-vote privileges and those without) is "Off-topic":

Screenshot of close reason displayed to users with close-vote privileges

Screenshot of close reason displayed to users without close-vote privileges

Shouldn't the terminology be consistent across the site? If we're no longer calling it "off-topic" then that shouldn't be what displays on the post. If we are still calling it "off-topic" then why did the terminology change everywhere else?

  • 1
    This text is configurable now for every community-specific site reason. The mods can request it be edited. I can check to see if we can change the default everywhere that doesn't have an override to something more like **Closed.** This question does not meet [$SiteName guidelines](/help/closed-questions). It is not currently accepting answers. :) Some (many?) of these close reasons are actually still "off topic". So, in your example, it's perfectly correct. That close reason is off topic.
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 21:50
  • @Catija Which text? The one that displays as the final close reason? And does that apply to the heading as well, or just to the subtext?
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 21:52
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    All of it. The "Closed" line in the header (that's the alternative text I suggested in my first comment). You can see all of the available fields in the answer I wrote on MSO: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/396592/… Mods can set the top line, they can create instructions in the close modal that are different than the text that ends up on the post and create different text for the OP and also for the >3k users.
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 21:54
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    @Catija Interesting, thanks. So "off-topic" is just the default for existing reasons unless a moderator changes it?
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 21:58
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    Correct-ish. I need the mods to ping a CM if they want to update that text to something else. The system doesn't allow editing by a mod once a close reason has been created, only CMs can edit. A mod could create a nearly-identical new reason with all of the new text customized but it would throw off the stats and muck with SEDE search results.
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 22:02

New close/flag dialogs have much smaller draggable title areas

The new close/flag dialogs have much smaller draggable title areas. We used to be able to click between the dialog title and the top border in order to move the dialog, now clicking in that area will select text instead. It looks to be about 20px high. If that area at the top of the dialogs could be made draggable again that would be great.

Edit: When closing as a duplicate or choosing a site-specific reason it's a full 45 pixels of non-draggable header!


Make radio buttons disappear in close dialog if I have an active close vote on a question

Earlier when I used to cast a close vote, the dialog would look like this:

old screenshot of close dialog without radio buttons after vote was cast

That is, the radio buttons used to disappear. But now since the redesign of the close vote dialog, the radio buttons don't disappear:

close dialog screenshot with radio buttons after vote was cast

Or at least make test distinguishable like that of flags:

“this is the flag you currently have raised” in red in flag dialog

Note: I originally posted this as a question on Apr 13.


Close dialog changes have now made going back hard to spot

The old tree at the top of the dialogue was large and a different colour indicating it was clickable.

enter image description here

Now it is small, low contrast and all the same colour so it is hard to even know it is clickable so you can go back.

enter image description here

It also misses the current pages title now which makes it harder again to give that colour change to note the other page headings are clickable.

For what it's worth it wasn't until I was writing this question that I even noticed that there is now a "back" link at the bottom.


Can the flag/close button be moved back to the bottom right corner?

The old dialogue had the button in the bottom right hand corner.

enter image description here

The new one now has it in the bottom left corner.

enter image description here

This breaks workflow for those of us used to clicking in the old spot. Whilst I could get used to it muscle memory has already failed me every time so far on both mobile and desktop and it's quite annoying.

To me, and I'm not a UX expert at all, bottom right made more sense. You read left to right, top to bottom. By being in the bottom right corner it is signalling it is the last thing to do/read which it is.

Can we move it back to the bottom right corner?


New dialog doesn't display radio options properly in the mobile view

The radio button is on its own line instead of being aligned with its label.

  • Yes I'm aware the developers' focus is on the responsive mode, but IMO the mobile mode is generally superior, and as yet it has not been deprecated. Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 4:26

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