In case you're unfamiliar, I asked the question that lead to us updating our site-specific close reason to use the modernized close fields. The benefit of doing this is that the right information is relayed to the right people in the post notice, and close-voters/flaggers will see more detailed usage guidance for when and when not to use the related close reason.

This close reason is very important as we use it far more than any other close reason here on Meta SE. According to the 10k tools, of the 2,017 questions asked over the last 90 days, 1,256 of them were closed (or 62.27% of them). Of those closed questions, 832 (or 66.24%) of them were closed with the "Not about the software that powers Stack Exchange" close reason. Let's do our best to ensure we're delivering the right information to the right people when filling these close fields out!

For clarity, here are the close fields we can utilize. Keep in mind that, with the exception of the brief description, we have a limit of 500 characters for each field.

  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 (which requires this post to be tagged with ).
  • 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.

I'm going to post an answer that fills these in with respect to this close reason. Please either edit the answer directly or post a comment beneath the answer for minor changes. If your changes are more comprehensive, post an entirely new answer. After some time, I will accept the answer that has the highest amount of community support and we'll set that as our update proposal. From that point, further updates should be made to that proposal only, and when we're happy with how it looks, we can flag for (unless we decide to retire the close reason and replace it - that just requires two moderators).


Here's my proposal. Again, feel free to make minor corrections directly, or suggest that I do so in a comment. For larger changes across the board, post a new answer.

Brief description:

Not about the Stack Exchange network

Usage guidance:

Use this close reason if a question has nothing to do with the software that powers Stack Exchange, within the scope defined in the help center. Consider leaving a comment pointing the asker to the right site for their question, as well as relevant help center pages for updating their question such that it will be well-received if reposted on the correct site.

Pretty much encapsulates what some of the users here do for blatantly off-topic questions already. If you happen to know what site it'd be a good fit on, it's not a bad idea to mention that. We also try to point post authors to relevant articles in the help center so that they get some generic advice on how to ask, which I feel is worth mentioning in the usage guidance.

Post notice close description:

This question is not about the Stack Exchange network. It is not currently accepting answers.

"about the Stack Exchange network" seems to encapsulate the topicality of Meta SE, but I'm open to improvement here. I'm trying to be fairly succinct, but we do have 500 characters available here; don't be afraid to be more explanatory.

Post owner guidance:

Your question does not appear to be about Stack Exchange, or the software that powers it, within the scope defined in the help center. Consider browsing our collection of sites to find one more fitting for your question. If you believe your question is on-topic for this site, please edit it to explain how it relates to Stack Exchange.

While I do feel that linking to our network site list is helpful here, I'm aware that others might feel otherwise, and am open to removing that or changing the wording of that bit entirely. The rest is generic "Your question was closed, you can edit it to show that it shouldn't have been" guidance.

Privileged user guidance:

If you believe this question is about the Stack Exchange network, help by editing the question to make that clear or leave a comment explaining to the post author how to improve their question. If you believe this question would make a high-quality fit for another site on the network, please leave a comment to explain where the post-author should repost this question or flag for moderator attention and ask for this question to be migrated there.

Pretty generic advice, mostly stolen borrowed verbiage from Catija's answer here, but it all applies, and is all generally helpful advice for privileged users who see the post notice.

However I do recognize that migration to main sites (not per-site metas) is very rare here on Meta SE. The last time it happened was 3 months ago when a moderator on both this site and the target site migrated a question to Stack Apps (so, basically, a subject matter expert for both sites). It may not be worthwhile to mention flagging for migration here for that reason, so I'm open for discussion on that bit.

  • 1
    Note that “blatantly off-topic” questions aren’t the only type of question that this close reason applies to. It’s also used for bug reports that are caused by a browser extension or some other bug that isn’t caused by Stack Exchange, for example. But I’m not sure if and how this edge case should be included in the descriptions. Nov 3 at 14:45

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