A few months ago, the description of the second custom close reason was fixed in this question as:

Your question appears to be incomplete. More detail is needed for relevant and focused answers to be provided for these types of questions. Please review our font-identification or critique requirements and provide the missing details, so that your question can be answered.

That question makes it clear that this custom close reason was created as a direct response to font identification and critique questions; but the first part of the close reason is much broader and applicable to questions other than those two types as well: questions that show no research effort in general are equally incomplete and need more detail.

Meanwhile, the third custom close reason reads:

If you're asking for help with implementation, please include what you've tried and why it didn't work with screenshots. Please edit your post with what your desired results are, what resources you referenced and why those didn't work. See this meta post for discussion and see this post on how to ask a good question.

This fits a certain subset of questions that show no research efforts, but it is strangely limited to questions that ask about implementation.

The two close reasons overlap to some extent in that they are both based on insufficient information given in the question, but even with their combined coverage areas, they still leave out a fair few questions that suffer from insufficient information.

As an example, this question asked today. In case the question gets deleted, here is its text in its entirety:

Is agency FB font free to use?

I've made some research but haven't made the answer clear. I would like to ask whether Agency FB font is available for commercial uses?


That quite obviously suffers from a lack of information about what the asker has tried in order to solve their problem before asking here: “some research” is about as vague as you can get, and not very useful considering that a simple Google search gives the answer very easily. As such, I flagged to close the question.

But I had a hard time deciding which of the two lack-of-information-related close reasons to use:

  • The first seemed the best fit, except the latter half of it appeared to be specifically targeted at font identification and critique questions, which this isn’t.

  • The second contains the relevant phrasings about including what you’ve tried and why it didn’t work, but seemed limited to questions about implementation, which this also is not.

In the end, I chose the former, but after reading various Meta questions about them, I suppose the latter would have been a better choice. That’s not easy to tell by the texts alone, though.

Could we do something about these two close reasons to make it clearer that #2 is specifically about not following the requirements for font identification and critique questions, while #3 is a general “show us your research” reason?

  • 1
    What do you have in mind as an improvement? Keep in mind we have a minimum character restriction.
    – user9447
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 16:12
  • I'd still like for some improvements to be made too :P Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 20:05
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    In a perfect world, there should be a checkbox at the end of the question form saying "I SWEAR I'VE GOOGLED THIS AND FOUND NOTHING!" ;)
    – go-junta
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 2:36

1 Answer 1


We're certainly open to improvements for those close reasons, but keep in mind the second exists because those two categories of questions are unique in that they have those specific requirements. Just because we have research requirements for font identification questions doesn't mean the same applies to all questions. We could create a meta post for "implementation requirements" and tack it on there, but it still wouldn't be a fitting close reason for that font licensing question.

Here are the elevator pitch justifications for closing those three types of questions:

  • Font identification — Usually people just don't what tools they can use to identify fonts themselves and the questions are very often low quality and worded so that they're never going to be useful to anyone except the asker.
  • Critique — We're stretching the Stack Exchange format a bit with these, so we need to keep them as focused as possible. We get a lot of "how can I make this better?" questions that aren't suitable for a Q&A site.
  • Implementation — this is basically a "too broad" reason tailored specifically for "how to create this" questions. We're not a tutorial-on-demand site.

My initial gut feeling is that I'd be against a sweeping close reason for lack of effort. Not all questions that show a lack of effort should be closed. There are a lot of awesome questions on our site that don't show any research effort, and I think that's okay.

I'm not defending that question's place on our site, I totally agree it's a poor question, but I'm weary that painting with too broad of a brush to encompass all types of low quality questions might be too crippling. For that specific question, I think the proper course of action is to just downvote and leave a comment.

  • 1
    I agree that there are some questions where it's clear the asker hasn't exhausted all the possible venues of finding an answer, and where that's not a problem. My beef is really with the fact that implementation questions are no different from other types of questions: an unresearched, unexplained/undetailed question asking why my colours look wrong in my print is not about implementation, but it still requires more information and knowledge about what lies behind the question to be answerable at all, which makes it close-worthy (to me, at least); but there's no close reason for it. Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 16:26
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    Basically, I agree completely with JDB’s answer to the question you linked to, and just don't understand why implementation questions have been singled out as the only type of question to which it applies. Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 16:28

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