Can we have the "not a real question" close reason on Meta?

OK, I understand that on Meta, we have many discussions (such as feature requests) which aren't really questions. So maybe "not a real question" isn't quite the verbiage we want. But we should have something that isn't "blatantly offensive" nor "spam" to address questions such as this one.

"Question asks to predict the future" has come up in the past, but that was for Stack Overflow proper, and it was also addressed (in the Stack Overflow world) cleanly by "not a real question." We don't have that option here, and "Not Stack Overflow related" doesn't quite match, either.

The question which inspired this feature request isn't really offensive, nor is it spam, an exact duplicate nor even too localized. Sadly, it is Stack Overflow related. But at the end of the day, it's a completely unanswerable question, and really doesn't belong -- even on Meta -- at least, not until 2020, when a definitive answer will be available.

Finally, if you don't like "not a real question" on Meta, do you have better alternatives?


Since 'noise or pointless' has disappeared, can we re-ask for this? I see questions on meta that just don't make sense. There's some missing critical sentence, or cerebral hemisphere. There's just no question there. I currently vote to close these as 'not constructive', but why isn't 'NARQ' available as it is on the other sites?

  • "Not a Meta related question?" – o.k.w Feb 4 '10 at 5:58
  • 3
    +1 because I believe that close reasons should be accurate, otherwise the OP won't learn anything from the close reason – Lance Roberts Feb 4 '10 at 6:09
  • Everything is a real question on meta – juan Feb 4 '10 at 16:12
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    @Downvoter: No. Some things are too weird even for Meta. – John Rudy Feb 4 '10 at 17:37
  • I don't recall... – juan Feb 4 '10 at 17:52
  • @Jeff this is because of Evan isn't it lol – Earlz May 7 '10 at 5:58
  • HUZZAH!! :) – John Rudy May 7 '10 at 10:49

This is a tough one.

Maybe "Absurd"? I guess "Not a real question" fits the bill but we need new text to describe it, as it will have a different definition on meta.

edit: completed.

noise or pointless

This question does not add anything useful; having it present on the site is actively harmful because it distracts from other more useful questions.

edit: replaced with the more general

not constructive

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

  • 9
    Thank you! Now we can properly close Evan's questions. – alex May 7 '10 at 5:27
  • @alex but I liked closing his questions as too localized because it just made the game even more fun – Earlz May 7 '10 at 6:05
  • Closing as noise because "having it present on the site is actively harmful" still leaves it on the site. Flagging as spam not only removes the "actively harmful" content, but seems to cover every intended use of "noise or pointless". – Gnome May 7 '10 at 6:13
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    @Gnome I've gained a fondness for flagging ever since I've met Evan on meta. – alex May 7 '10 at 6:28
  • @gnome no, they are slightly different. Spam is actively evil, and placed by evildoers. Noise/Pointless is just .. ineptitude, or a moment of weakness. It's a question of intent. – Jeff Atwood May 7 '10 at 6:40
  • @Jeff: If intent is the only difference, that's even more reason to call them the same: not only is intent often hard to discern, but you're saying it doesn't change the result (e.g. the content actually posted). – Gnome May 7 '10 at 6:46
  • Am I only one who think that reason naming is quite offensive? Explanation is fine though. – YOU May 7 '10 at 8:01
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    @s.mark speaking of offensive, have you seen some of the recent meta questions that have been coming through? – Jeff Atwood May 7 '10 at 9:33
  • Wait..I don't see this on MSO or a per site meta either. Next build? – Manishearth May 7 '12 at 16:17
  • @man see meta.stackexchange.com/a/107082/1 – Jeff Atwood May 7 '12 at 17:44

A few ideas that should be implemented ASAP:

  • closed as not yet relevant (for questions like the one you refer to)
  • closed as too nosy (for this)
  • closed as whining (you know the kind)
  • closed as wanting to turn Stack Overflow into a social networking site (you probably don't need me to search for examples)
  • closed as Facebook Overflow (as a shorter alternative to the previous one)
  • closed as unhelpful rant (for this); automatically changed to "closed as TL;DR" if the markdown source exceeds two kilobytes
  • closed as kindergarten (here)
  • closed as too sophisticated for the simple minds of Meta (there)
  • closed as would require a seven pound user manual for Stack Overflow (ex.)
  • closed as huh? (as a shorter alternative to one of the previous two [or both?])
  • captcha: man wining [sic] – balpha Feb 4 '10 at 7:29
  • 1
    Meta needs a list of close reasons as long as the comments shown by default under each post. – random Feb 4 '10 at 7:51
  • Closed as obvious trolling. Closed as flamebait. – user27414 Feb 4 '10 at 12:28
  • 3
    +1, closed as huh? Want that one. – John Rudy Feb 4 '10 at 17:40
  • These are great examples. – Ether Feb 4 '10 at 18:12

Meta is to support the sites of the trilogy. It's more light-hearted, but that doesn't mean that every other hour needs to include a spit-balling question.

Meta is also not another dumping ground for any riff-raff.

So how about:

Unwanted noise

This question has been deemed as ill-fitting with the spirit and/or support of Meta.

And you know what? Some questions are about support, other questions are supported by users. Which then brings you to point out that some noise is allowed.

  • This really is the most generic, probably best-applicable answer. So Jeff, how about it? "Unwanted Noise" as a Meta close reason? – John Rudy Feb 9 '10 at 22:43

How about

Totally Useless Question

  • Makes me smile, but I think this close reason is too ambiguous, and quite easy to abuse, so I have to downvote. Sorry. – Super Long Names are Hilarious Feb 4 '10 at 7:43
  • 1
    @Cha, it's all about the smile – Lance Roberts Feb 4 '10 at 16:11
  • That may be the most intelligent thing I've heard anyone say all week. – Super Long Names are Hilarious Feb 5 '10 at 5:09

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