When a closed question is viewed by the OP display a message below the closed box giving them some pointers on why it might have been closed and how they could edit it to make it more acceptable so that it could be reopened.

The message need only be displayed for the following reasons, and could be tailored to each:

  • not programming related
  • subjective and argumentative
  • not a real question
  • no longer relevant
  • too localized

Although some message for the following explaining why it was closed may help mitigate any confusion (particularly with meta, as many will not have heard of it.):

  • exact duplicate
  • belongs on meta.stackoverflow.com
  • belongs on serverfault.com

2 Answers 2


I guess your first step would be to actually sit and define what those close reasons mean. I know we've had in the past a lot of confusion concerning the "not programming related" and the "subjective and argumentative" options, where people will bicker back and forth incessantly over whether something is or isn't what it is said to be.

  • The bickering already serves this function from the OP's point of view, though. Jul 13, 2009 at 15:03
  • It's a good idea, regardless. Also, we argue endlessly about whether tabs or spaces should be used, so just because we bicker back and forth doesn't mean much.
    – Eric
    Jul 13, 2009 at 15:04

Typically it's fairly clear why a post has been closed. Some people do put information on why they close questions in the comments already. I tend to do so when it's debatable.

Are you suggesting that the system force people who close to vote to provide reasons? I'm not in favor of this. We already provide a general reason that's apparent in most cases. Further, most newbie cases can be resolved by directing them to the FAQ. I've got better things to do than post "Please see the FAQ" every time I vote to close.

  • 1
    that is not what this is suggesting. I'm suggesting that when the user who posted a question that has been closed viewes their own question, where it currently just has the box that gives the reason for the close they should also see a standard message tailored to the close reason that describes how they might edit the question so that it might be reopened.
    – Sam Hasler
    Jul 13, 2009 at 15:18
  • That's fine, then. Carry on. Jul 13, 2009 at 15:20

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