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Current Proposal:

The currently accepted answer by Catija reflects the currently preferred proposal.


Journeyman Geek, seemingly speaking for the Meta Stack Exchange mod team at the time, brought concerns about Meta SE's site-specific close reason forward, mainly focusing upon how the help center does not support what the close reason indicates. I wholeheartedly agree with what he says in that post.

Catija, a Community Manager, also agrees, but mentions that the whole process should be modernized. Each site-specific close reason now has five fields that can be used to ensure that information regarding the close reason is properly relayed to all users involved in the closure process (post author, close voters, and visiting readers).

For reference, the current version of the close reason only uses the following guidance:

This question's topic is only applicable to one specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should relate to features or policies that commonly apply to the network or the software that drives it, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated.

While it's served us well, I feel like we should take advantage of all five fields available to us.

Catija says that we're free to do this for all of the custom close reasons for Meta SE, and each one should have its own meta discussion to allow the community to come to an agreement about how the fields should look. This post is to serve as discussion for modernizing this close reason so that it uses all of the fields available to a site's custom close reasons.

I'm going to be rehashing, in less words, the format for close reasons that Catija explained in her aforementioned answer. The fields available to us are limited to 500 characters with the exception of the first field, so keep that in mind when proposing/making changes!

The format is as follows:

  1. Brief description (100 characters) - Visible in the close/flag dialog in bold. Should be very succinct, only spanning a couple of words.
  2. Usage guidance - Tells close voters when to use the close reason. Ideally, this is descriptive enough to cover edge cases, and that detail should inspire confidence in close voters that this reason is the right choice under specified circumstances.
  3. Post notice close description - Visible to all users, the post notice description should follow the format "This question was closed because it is ... It is not currently accepting answers."
  4. Post owner guidance - Visible only to the post author, this should explain to the OP why their question was closed, and give detailed information on how to improve their post to get it reopened. Helpful links to the help center would be nice to include.
  5. Privileged user guidance - Visible to users with the cast close votes privilege in the post notice on a post closed with this close reason. This should inform close voters on how best to guide the asker in improving their question or inform them when the question should be reopened.

Important Notes

  • If accepted, the changes made to the close reason will be applied retroactively to all questions currently closed with this close reason. Post notices will be updated across the board. This requires a CM editing the existing close reason.
    • If the changes are major enough, we can choose to retire the current close reason and have two diamond moderators or staff with moderator privileges create a new close reason for our proposal. This should only be done if the changes are too major or we in general feel that the changes should not apply retroactively.
  • For clarity, these changes only affect Meta SE's "site-specific" close reason. This does not apply across the network.

I'm going to provide an answer that fills these fields in, hopefully ensuring enough detail is provided. Others can vote on it, provide their own answers to discuss the proposed changes, or propose their own versions. If the changes you'd like to make only deal with minute wording/grammar tweaks, please just edit the post directly.

Once community consensus is reached, I'll accept the answer that best fits what the community wanted, and a moderator can add to the post so a CM can edit the close reason's fields for us, unless we chose to retire the current close reason and replace it.

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UPDATE

The versions of the text in the answer below have been implemented.


I've got an alternative version of this I'd be interested in getting your feedback on. Most of this is the same as what's in Sonic's version, the biggest change being the Usage guidance, which was rewritten to be a bit more direct and to link to the newly-rewritten help center page. This page specifically explains the caveat for the non-English sites now.

Feel free to comment or edit if y'all think some changes should be made. I'll try to get this changed on Friday October 8th if it looks good to y'all.

Brief description:

Relates to only one specific network site

Usage guidance:

Use this close reason if a question relates to one specific site only. Do not use this close reason for questions that relate to multiple sites, even if they focus on a specific site. Consider leaving a comment pointing the asker to the appropriate meta site for their question or editing to make it clear this applies to multiple sites. For more detailed information about the scope of this site, see the Help Center.

It takes a bit of mentality change but this information is for the close voters only, so it can be a bit more directed at the closer with guidance on how to help the asker and how they can improve the question - the prior standard needed to be useful as instructions to close voters and to the asker but that's not necessary now.

Post notice close description:

This question is only applicable to one specific site on the Stack Exchange network. It is not currently accepting answers.

Post owner guidance:

Your question is only applicable to one specific site on the network, and should have been posted on that site's meta. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should be about policies or features that relate to multiple sites on the network or the software that drives it, within the scope in the help center. If this question does relate to multiple sites in our network, please edit it to clarify why.

While I appreciate that the linked answer would have made a good interim solution, I completely redid the /help/on-topic page about a month ago so that it covered what is on topic here in detail. The latest version until that edit was from 2017 and not particularly useful.

Privileged user guidance:

If you believe this question does relate to multiple network sites, help by editing the question to improve it or leave a comment explaining to the post author how to improve their question. If you believe this question would be a high-quality fit on the relevant per-site meta, please leave a comment to explain or flag for moderator attention and ask for this question to be migrated there.

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  • 1
    Random idea: Make the 'brief description' use the same wording as the bold/italic in other descriptions, by adding the word specific. Something like 'one specific site' or 'one specific network site' instead of 'one network site'?
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Oct 6 at 18:15
  • It's now October 9; wondering if you've pushed this for a developer to implement yet. Oct 9 at 21:00
  • 1
    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog I don't need a dev. I just need time. It's the weekend
    – Catija StaffMod
    Oct 9 at 21:01
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When deciding how best to format this proposal, Journeyman Geek mentioned that the best way would be to simply answer with a non-wiki self-answer with the currently proposed changes, then others can also answer to discuss those changes, edit this answer directly, or otherwise work out the best elements for a final draft.


Here's the current proposal for each field:

Brief description:

Relates to only one site on the network

Usage guidance:

This question should have been posted on a child meta rather than on Meta Stack Exchange because it relates only to one specific site. Questions relating to the broader network despite being focused on an issue on one site should not be closed with this reason. Consider leaving a comment pointing the asker to the appropriate meta site for their question. In cases where the question is of decent quality, it may be worth flagging for migration in addition to closing.

Post notice close description:

This question was closed because it is about an issue that pertains only to one specific site on the Stack Exchange network. It is not currently accepting answers.

Post owner guidance:

Your question is only applicable to one specific site on the network and should have been posted on that site's meta. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should regard policies or features that relate to the entire network or the software that drives it, within the scope in the help center. If you feel your question belongs here, please edit it to explain how it relates to the entire network.

Privileged user guidance:

If you believe this question relates to the entire network, help by editing the question to improve it or leave a comment explaining to the post author how to improve their question. If you believe this question is of sufficient quality and can be migrated, please flag for moderator attention and ask them to migrate it to the meta site where this question's concern originated.


Potential improvements:

  • Include more helpful links, perhaps linking to useful posts here that better explain our site-specific policy (this one comes to mind).
  • Include an explanation of how to reach a site's meta. I ran out out characters when trying to work in the same explanation Catija gave in the "Post owner guidance" in her answer, so I opted for more general guidance.
  • Find and close gaps in guidance that I missed. If you spot a gap, inconsistency, or the wording is difficult to understand, say something!
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    "worth flagging for migration instead of, or in addition to, closing." < Just 'in addition to' would suffice: Shorter, more to the point, and the ideal behavior is voting to close as off-topic and then flag for migration.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 30 at 19:17
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    Also, the usage guidance consists of 4 sentences now, I'd switch those around so the order becomes 1-4-3-2: It then becomes "Why it should be closed", "When not to use this reason", "Consider a comment", "Flag for migration". That order makes more sense to me?
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 30 at 19:20
  • @Tinkeringbell That wording makes sense to me as well. I've made the changes; give it a second read through to ensure it looks alright.
    – Spevacus
    Jun 30 at 19:23
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    "pertains only to one specific site" < I like the current one better: "is only applicable to one specific site". Applicable might be a bit easier on ESL speakers than 'pertains'? (@Spevacus will do, after I finished nitpicking. Mostly writing comments instead of immediately editing because well... someone might like to disagree!)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 30 at 19:26
  • 2
    For post owner guidance: "within the scope in the help center." < Is probably missing a word, something like 'within the scope as described in the help center' seems better to me.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 30 at 19:28
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    For privileged user guidance: "migrate it to the meta site where this question's concern" > Should probably be 'migrate it to the meta of the site where this question's concern'?
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 30 at 19:29
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    re: "Pertains" - I'm not sure. If an ESL user would like to come along and support it I'd be okay with changing it, I'm not married to the term or anything. re: post owner guidance "as described": This seems like something that should've been in my draft in the first place. I think I was toying with this reason a lot and was trying to trim down on character count, but ended up stripping out a lot and didn't add the stuff I cut out back in. Good change. re: "migrate to meta site": Another good change, clears up potential weird wording.
    – Spevacus
    Jun 30 at 19:37
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    As for the changes to the usage guidance, those look great to me! There's no hurry for the rest, so let's see what others think :)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 30 at 19:37
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Yes, I think we should update this close reason. I also like your specific proposals in your self-answer. However, I think there are some ways they can be improved.

One major thing is that your current wording implies that any question that isn't about the entire network at large is to be closed with this reason. However, this is not always the case. Questions that have to do with a subset of multiple sites in the network can be on-topic here: examples are questions about MathJax, a feature only enabled on some sites, as well as questions that have to do with multiple sites' scopes. In fact, the close reason was reworded a couple years ago to make this clearer.

In my opinion, the wording "should be about the broader network at large" would prompt incorrect uses of this close reason, especially those pointed out in the link above. To quote from there:

After mulling on this for a bit, I've realized that perhaps the close reason itself is to blame; the emphasis starts on "pertains" when it should be on "only". There's some ambiguity in the rest of it as well; is MathJax part of the software that drives the network as a whole?

[...]

Goals: [...]

  1. Explicit requirement that the topic be applicable to one specific site vs. the implication that anything that doesn't apply to every site is off-topic.

The simplest way to fix this is to change references to "entire network" to "multiple sites", which I've done.

I've started with your proposals, and edited them to address the concerns above. I've also made some other wording changes to make things a little less ambiguous. Here's my proposal:


Brief description:

Relates to only one network site

Usage guidance:

This question should have been posted on a per-site meta rather than on Meta Stack Exchange because it relates only to one specific site. Questions relating to multiple sites despite focusing on one site should not be closed with this reason. Consider leaving a comment pointing the asker to the appropriate meta site for their question.

(I've removed the sentence about flagging for migration - in my opinion, it's redundant to have it both here and in the privileged user guidance. Additionally, it's better for the question to be closed first before it's migrated - this way, if the author cross-posts on the site meta, you won't have two open copies of the same question, or a duplicate question on the site meta.)

Post notice close description:

This question is only applicable to one specific site on the Stack Exchange network. It is not currently accepting answers.

(Edited to fit in the format of reasons - Stack Overflow has been using the new reason framework for a while.)

Post owner guidance:

Your question is only applicable to one specific site on the network, and should have been posted on that site's meta. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should be about policies or features that relate to multiple sites on the network or the software that drives it, within the scope in the help center. If this question does relate to multiple sites in our network, please edit it to clarify why.

(Put in a relevant help link. I've also reworded the last sentence about editing to make it in scope. Most questions closed with this reason fundamentally can't be edited to become on-topic due to their nature - e.g. they're about why a specific post was closed/deleted/etc. I've refocused it to be for the case where it was incorrectly closed as it was indeed about multiple sites.)

Privileged user guidance:

If you believe this question does relate to multiple network sites, help by editing the question to improve it or leave a comment explaining to the post author how to improve their question. If you believe this question would be a high-quality fit on the relevant per-site meta, please flag for moderator attention and ask for this to be migrated there.


There's also one other issue: questions that are about international sites asked in the English language have been indicated by the team as being on-topic here, even if they'd otherwise merit closure under this reason (e.g. a bug in a Spanish translation technically only affects the Spanish SO site, but is on-topic here). Some per-site metas for international sites only accept questions in their site's language, so such reports can only be posted here, and the team has accepted such questions here. Such questions are rather rare, however, so I don't think it's necessary to explicitly point this out in the close reason guidance.

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