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, 2010 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 Feb 4, 2010 at 6:09
  • Everything is a real question on meta
    – juan
    Feb 4, 2010 at 16:12
  • 3
    @Downvoter: No. Some things are too weird even for Meta.
    – John Rudy
    Feb 4, 2010 at 17:37
  • I don't recall...
    – juan
    Feb 4, 2010 at 17:52
  • @Jeff this is because of Evan isn't it lol
    – Earlz
    May 7, 2010 at 5:58
  • HUZZAH!! :)
    – John Rudy
    May 7, 2010 at 10:49

4 Answers 4


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, 2010 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, 2010 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, 2010 at 6:13
  • 2
    @Gnome I've gained a fondness for flagging ever since I've met Evan on meta.
    – alex
    May 7, 2010 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. May 7, 2010 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, 2010 at 6:46
  • Am I only one who think that reason naming is quite offensive? Explanation is fine though.
    – YOU
    May 7, 2010 at 8:01
  • 1
    @s.mark speaking of offensive, have you seen some of the recent meta questions that have been coming through? May 7, 2010 at 9:33
  • Wait..I don't see this on MSO or a per site meta either. Next build? May 7, 2012 at 16:17
  • @man see meta.stackexchange.com/a/107082/1 May 7, 2012 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 StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2010 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, 2010 at 7:51
  • Closed as obvious trolling. Closed as flamebait.
    – user27414
    Feb 4, 2010 at 12:28
  • 3
    +1, closed as huh? Want that one.
    – John Rudy
    Feb 4, 2010 at 17:40
  • These are great examples.
    – Ether
    Feb 4, 2010 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, 2010 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. Feb 4, 2010 at 7:43
  • 1
    @Cha, it's all about the smile Feb 4, 2010 at 16:11
  • That may be the most intelligent thing I've heard anyone say all week. Feb 5, 2010 at 5:09

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