The questions are getting closed quite often in all Stack Exchange communities, and many users (new users in particular) look for help on what it means and how to reopen them.

Current State

The Help Center page of the general Meta has this page "What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen it?" intended to help the users to improve the question, understand the potential reasons of closure, and offer ways to proceed further. This page is sometimes linked from the community help centers, as well (see the page on closed questions of Stack Overflow's help center).

One of the items that the page suggests is posting on the community's meta site:

If you're simply unsure about the validity of the closure, the best place to ask is on the community's meta site. Asking in the meta site allows those who took the action to comment, and will help others to learn about the issues being discussed. You can find a link to a site's meta in the two place in every site's top bar: under the "help" menu in the upper right, and in the Stack Exchange site switcher in the upper left.


However, for users that are not aware of the community's meta, all Metas can look the same. Therefore, they might try following the aforementioned instructions, see the first item that has the keyword meta in it and post the question there. Unfortunately, this will be this meta.

This creates a problem for several reasons:

  • such posts get heavily downvoted quickly
  • this often places the question into the Close questions review queue and requires reviewers' attention
  • the user might not actually get an answer to their concerns while feeling frustrated

Can we improve the writing of this paragraph to make it more clear? Can we add some emphasis on the difference between general Meta and community's Metas? Can we add a sentence of what not to do?


2 Answers 2


As noted in Sonic's answer, the /help/closed-questions page of the help center (titled "What does it mean if a question is "closed"?") has this line at the end of the article:

For more about reopening questions, see "What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen a closed question?"

This text links to the /help/reopen-questions page of the help center, which is fine. However, the problem is that this link was specifically pointing to the Meta Stack Exchange version of that help center article (https://meta.stackexchange.com/help/reopen-questions), meaning that users from all over the Stack Exchange network would be taken from the site they were viewing to MSE instead.

I've fixed this help center article to use a relative link (/help/reopen-questions) instead. That way, no matter what site the user is on, this link will take the user to the corresponding help center article on their own site. (I also made some other minor fixes to the article while I was at it.)

  • 1
    There are a couple things that need to be updated in that page to account for system changes: both the site switcher and the help menu are in the top right now, and it still uses the old lowercase name of the "Reopen" button. Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 3:01
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog: Do you mean on the /help/reopen-questions page? I haven't touched that one at the moment.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 17:14
  • @SonictheAnti-NewVariant-hog: I've fixed those 2 issues with the /help/reopen-questions article now, along with some other changes.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 2:17

As you noted, the help center page on closing questions contains a link at the bottom to a related help center page on reopening questions. The real issue here is that this link always links to Meta Stack Exchange's copy of that page, rather than to the local site copy of that page.

(Each site has their own copy of the help center with all the same pages, but the link in this particular page on all sites is an absolute link to Meta Stack Exchange's copy of the correct page, rather than a relative link to the local site's copy. To demonstrate, the above link is to Travel's copy: notice how the link at the bottom links to Meta's help center, not to Travel's article.)

I happened to participate in that "soon-to-be-closed" question you linked, and per the comments there, the author ended up asking their site-specific, off-topic question here because:

  • The close notice linked them to Stack Overflow's copy of the help center page on closing questions.
  • They then followed the link at the bottom of that page, clearly labeled as an instruction page on how to have questions reopened, and were linked to Meta Stack Exchange's copy of the help page on reopening questions.
  • After that, they followed the directions in the part of the page you quoted: they clicked on the site switcher, and as they've been linked to this site, the only meta site in that list was this one (and not any per-site meta).

That our help center doesn't indicate that site-specific questions aren't accepted here is a deficiency I've pointed out, but the main thing that should be done to resolve this case is to change the link in the "closed questions" help center page to be a relative link to the local copy of the "reopening questions" help center page, rather than linking to Meta Stack Exchange's copy. If that link had been pointing to the local copy, they would have found the correct per-site meta in the site switcher in the first place.

Adding additional guidance as to what meta to use is a great idea, but first and foremost, this link should be corrected.

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