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We see lots of questions posted on MSE that aren't anything to do with the running of the network and I habitually have to click a few times to get to the correct reason for flagging.

Would it be possible to add a new option to the uppermost list with "This question has nothing to do with running the Stack Exchange network" (or words to that effect).

I know I'm just whining about one or two extra mouse clicks here.

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    Using keyboard shortcuts: M C 2 1. I initially thought your proposal was about e.g. lowering the close vote threshold needed or similar. Sep 21, 2021 at 11:32
  • @SebastianSimon when you have the CV privilege, yes. Otherwise you need to flag, which is another extra click.
    – Luuklag
    Sep 21, 2021 at 11:34
  • @SebastianSimon and for people without the close vote privilege, the flagging keyboard shortcut sequence is M F 3 2 1
    – VLAZ
    Sep 21, 2021 at 11:34
  • Fun fact. We do the same thing, only that its super effective....
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Sep 21, 2021 at 11:49
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    And for people who don't have a keyboard, the shortcut is.. nonexistent.
    – Nij
    Sep 21, 2021 at 11:50
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    I don't use keyboard shortcuts. I'm a mouse and scroll-wheel twiddler. I just use the keyboard when I want to type something. I'm not sure if my behaviour is shared by the majority of users or not.
    – user960635
    Sep 21, 2021 at 11:56
  • @Snow just to be clear, I do support the FR. I like keyboard shortcuts but even then it's not that convenient because you also need to wait before each keypress for the site to load the next page in the moderation menu. So, it keyboards are somewhat of a convenience but I don't think a replacement. And have their own slight annoyances, too.
    – VLAZ
    Sep 21, 2021 at 12:28
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    Similar question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/351279/…. Cross-site related question on MSO: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/396592/…
    – Marijn
    Sep 21, 2021 at 12:35
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    A very suitable workaround for now, if you use userscripts, is to use this one.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Sep 21, 2021 at 12:36
  • the most natural option for blatantly off-topic stuff is VLQ flag - and it conveniently sits in the top list of flags in recent non-positive score questions. The only reason why its use for this purpose isn't widespread is that it would cause harm at SO where moderators wouldn't be able to handle workflow associated with this flag
    – gnat
    Sep 21, 2021 at 13:58
  • @gnat also, close vote flags/votes push the question into the 'right' queue. Access to the close-vote queue requires more reputation than the low quality posts queue, so flagging it into the low quality posts queue doesn't guarantee it gets in front of the 'right' people.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Sep 21, 2021 at 14:17
  • @Tinkeringbell notion of "right" queue is important only at Stack Overflow (over there, dispatching the wrong way would be really harmful). At smaller sites it doesn't matter much
    – gnat
    Sep 21, 2021 at 14:35

1 Answer 1

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I'd go one step further: Off-topic should be a top-level close reason on all sites. The scope of every site on the network is limited, there is no universal site to ask about the life, the universe and everything. This means that there can be off-topic posts on all sites.

Users shouldn't have to rely on their mods to manually configure this. There needs to be a guarantee that this is available on all sites. Without this, users run into strange dilemmas where low rep users can flag as off-topic, but high rep users can't vote to close as off-topic, see e.g. this example Why isn't there the possibility of closing a question for being off-topic?

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    The problem with a general "off topic" message is that it often gets overused on posts that can be easily made in scope or deserve better (hand-written) close explanations. If people had access to a top-level reason, they'd likely stop using the better, more descriptive close reasons that are available on the community-specific tab. For example, if M&TV had a top-level off topic reason, I have little doubt that the bulk of flaggers and voters would save a couple of clicks by using that instead of their custom close reason that links to explanations of why ID questions are off topic.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Sep 21, 2021 at 13:08
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    That's why when sites ask for help with close reasons, I generally recommend against a generic "off-topic" reason. It's also why the canned version of it is removed automatically when sites create their first community-specific reason. It's there as a placeholder for a period of time where the site is more likely to attract off topic content - early beta, before there's mods. And, in my experience, it's very uncommon for sites to attract as much generally off topic stuff (e.g. questions about French on Cooking). MSE is an outlier in this regard.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Sep 21, 2021 at 13:11
  • The problem with using a hand-written reason as substitute for a missing off-topic reason is that this will publish a comment with ones name and risk backslash from the OP. Would be nice if a mechanism similar to the review queues could be added which will publish the comments under the community user. Sep 21, 2021 at 13:40
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    If users have the ability to write custom content, it needs to be attributed to the person. This is exactly how the review system works now. You choose a canned reason or your comment is attributed to you. And, to be honest, from what I read, most people aren't overly concerned with backlash from these comments - having them be anonymous was a complaint that we addressed by giving people the choice of posting the canned comments as Community or themselves.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Sep 21, 2021 at 13:47
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    I'm really just asking about MSE here - I see a larger percentage of people asking completely random questions or confusing MSE with SO.
    – user960635
    Sep 21, 2021 at 15:50
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    @Catija Do we know a well-worded "This post is not about any of the topics that can be asked about here" reason at the top of the dialog diverts people from more descriptive reasons, or do we just suspect that's what will happen? Why wouldn't all those people just pick "needs more focus" if they don't care about choosing the correct reason?
    – ColleenV
    Sep 21, 2021 at 16:05
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    “The scope of every site on the network is limited, there is no universal site to ask about the life, the universe and everything.” Good point, heading over to Area 51 to suggest that right now… Sep 21, 2021 at 21:46

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