Can a reason for closing be added which is "Insufficient Effort", for when the asker has just not made any effort at all to formulate a 1/2 way decent question?

My case in point would be https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2367359/problem-with-my-array where the asker hasn't even provided a question title that relates to what he might be asking (we can't really be sure if it does or not).

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    I'd like to submit this question for 'Insufficient Effort' : stackoverflow.com/questions/2368657/… Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 4:25
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    @Chacha102: whoa, close one! That almost got sent to SuperUser - Ivo would have killed us all!
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 4:38
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    Im still considering it ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 6:20
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    If this has been mothballed or squelched entirely (and judging by the 2.5+ years since this has been touched, it has) it desperately needs resurrection. The ratio of zero-effort on the OP's part to answer their own question before asking on SO, and demonstrating those steps taken is getting pretty sad. Please, please please reconsider adding this enum to you reasons-or-closure allowances.
    – WhozCraig
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 18:34
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    Just for the record, this is not status-completed; there is not, and never has been such a reason for closing - it should be marked status-declined since SO declined to implement it. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 18:38

3 Answers 3


I'd like to say yes, but “not a real question -- It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.” does fit this situation.

Such questions usually garner a lot of "what?", "post some code!" and "what part are you having difficulty with, exactly? what have you tried?" comments as well, and either the OP gets the message and edits his post, or he doesn't and wanders off.

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    maybe we should add "ambiguous, incomplete, vague, or rhetorical" Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 3:49
  • I am agree with Jeff for wording. I feels like saying Insufficient Effort straightly to OP is a little bit un-polite.
    – YOU
    Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 4:10
  • Yeah. The OP in that particular example seemed more clueless than lazy. Which makes sense if it's their first post. Besides being more charitable/polite, it covers both cases.
    – user141160
    Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 4:23
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    Maybe "Not a real question" should be "Not an adequate question". Despite the explanatory text, not being a real question seems wrong to me when it is a properly formed question with a completely inadequate amount of information and context. Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 5:57
  • @Software Monkey: My personal definition of "real question" is "question I can recognize an answer to if I have sufficient knowledge in the field". Commented Mar 15, 2010 at 14:17

Based on this feedback I modified the description text for "not a real question" to

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.

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    Except that a question like the one linked sometimes can be answered. I'm not willing to put in the work to do so, and it seems I'm hardly alone in this, but it's very possible somebody could. I've seen questions this bad with good answers, because somebody spotted something right off. Commented Mar 15, 2010 at 14:19
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    "Not a real question" itself is sometimes confusing. Maybe "Not answerable" is slightly better, less judgmental sounding, and happens also to cover this case?
    – tenfour
    Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 16:20

I agree with Jeff's wording, however this can be too convenient a reason to close such posts rather than encouraging the OPs to improve their question quality.

The number of votes typically shoot from zero to five very quickly in SO. There's usually not enough of a 'warning' period for the OP to edit the post between the 1st vote-to-close to the 5th. Although the closed post can be re-opened, but chances are, unlikely.

Not that I have a better alternative, just tossing my 2 cents.

  • Meh... The question linked above has been open for 6 hours, with two close votes (now...) and no clarification. I think that's more than a fair warning...
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 4:35
  • @Shog9, yea I noticed that. Technicality aside, this is one of those questions which I would neither close nor answer :P
    – o.k.w
    Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 4:42
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    Personally, I would like to encourage people to put more effort into a question to start with. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to formulate a question - and then I typically actively monitor it for the next 3 or 4 hours to improve it as answers and comments come in. Commented Mar 3, 2010 at 5:51

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