Today, we retired the what have you tried? custom off-topic close reason, as per consensus on this Meta question.

That leaves us with the following custom off-topic reasons:

  • This appears to be a tech support question about fixing technology to work as advertised. Please edit the question so that it pertains to using technology to solve a design problem. You may want to check if it hasn't already been asked in Super User. In many cases, contacting the manufacturer is the quickest option.

  • Please review our font-identification, critique requests, or style-identification requirements and provide the missing information so that your question is both answerable and useful to others.

Every Stack has access to three custom off-topic close reasons. Retiring one means we have space for a new one. Is there any need for one? If yes, what should it be?

Please also refer to old discussions about this topic:

4 Answers 4


There's so much talk these days of what's on topic, and what's off topic.

While it would be nice to tell lazy people to go away, that's what we're here for. That's what I'm here for anyways.

We ALL are human can get burned out. Take a week, take two, take a month even. But to me a lot of the talk is more an issue of people getting question fatigue.

I've learned from CAI, Vincent, Yisela, Acekin, Scott, Benteh, user568458, Cockypop, Darth and countless others on here. I've learned because they offered their time to help someone and even if that doesn't come across from the person who originally asked I sure appreciate it. What even some of us can do in a few seconds others might take minutes and others might be completely clueless on.

I really would like to implore people to not close everything.

I don't think we need a third close reason right now. I don't see anything that's not covered by an existing one that is also problematic.


I have now seen quite a debate over what close reasons should cover what and what we want to communicate to the user. But all the questions in question have one thing in common:

they are lazy

There I said it. We can't beat around the bush with "too broad" or "too tool-specific". Not even "what have you tried". We cannot explain to lazy people how not to be lazy. No other stack site allows such lazy questions as we do. And it's all for growing a user-base. But what kind of base is that growing? It shoos away the professionals and invites in the tut-plz people. Leaving the question page like this:

terrible question page screenshot

Lazy questions need to go or the users will. I'd rather answer one good one per week than look at another 100 bad ones. And if that means the close reason is just two words, so be it. "too lazy"

  • 1
    I disagree. We have the easiest, most fitting critique method for lazy questions hardwired into the system: the downvote.
    – Vincent
    Aug 1, 2016 at 11:02
  • By that definition no questions should be closed. Not sure that is great.
    – KMSTR
    Aug 1, 2016 at 12:27
  • 2
    I don't agree again. Questions that are too broad, (too) hard to understand or straight-up tech support deserve to be closed.
    – Vincent
    Aug 1, 2016 at 13:45
  • 2
    This would be a zombie of the low-effort close reason, the abolishment of which is the reason why we are having a free close-reason slot in the first place.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Aug 2, 2016 at 7:27

As mentioned in the discussion that freed this slot, I think it may be worthwhile to have a custom close reason for big-tutorial-on-demand questions. While they are covered by too broad, a custom close reason may provide better guidance to the asker without the close voters having to type custom comments each time.

Thinking about this (and looking at recent close votes), I noticed that the problem underlying these questions is somewhat similar to what-software-was-used-for-this questions (which are almost always unanswerable): The asker assumes that things are much more easy than they actually are and that there is some magic button to achieve this.

To kill these two birds with one stone, I propose:

This question cannot be reasonably answered as there are too many possible ways, programs or required steps to achieve the result in question. Please narrow down your question by focussing on a single problem or specifying constraints.

If somebody knows a good question, blog post or similar that summarises the underlying issue (lay people consider graphic design to be less difficult than it actually is), it might be a good resource to link in that close reason.

Note that I would not consider the proposed close reason to be high priority as too broad already covers it quite well and gives adequate guidance, but instead of having a free slot, we might as well have this.

  • 1
    I second "tutorial-on-demand" as the custom close. "What software" is covered by "too broad." Your potential answer is itself too broad, leaving the person to wonder Did I ask for something that took too many steps or could be done by too many programs? Those aren't equivalent. Underscoring "We are not a free tutorial service" is more important than pointing out that there are many roads leading to Rome. Jul 30, 2016 at 13:24
  • Both aspects are already covered by too broad and I did not claim that they are equivalent – they are just based on a similar misconception.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jul 30, 2016 at 13:44
  • 4
    Underscoring "We are not a free tutorial service" is more important – Let’s face it: We are a free tutorial service, if the respective questions are sufficiently narrow. A great deal of our answers, including highly upvoted ones, are essentially small tutorials. Any close reason that focusses on such an aspect would lead to the closure of questions that do not need closing in the first place (“because the close reason says so”). Fixing this is why we abolished the what have you tried? close reason in the first place. Let’s not make the same mistake again.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jul 30, 2016 at 13:54
  • so how do we differentiate between "How do I make a contact sheet in InDesign?" and "How do I make a style sheet in InDesign?" I think there's a difference between asking for help with a complex or somewhat obscure task and basic functions which are easily Googleable. Jul 30, 2016 at 16:34
  • 2
    @LaurenIpsum: A main point of this discussion is that easily googleable is not a reason for closure anymore. After all, we want to become what Google finds as a first result.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jul 30, 2016 at 16:53
  • 2
    To me, this reinforces that we don't need a third reason right now and that "too broad" works to cover these reasons Jul 31, 2016 at 19:23
  • 2
    I think this Q&A adresses the underlying issue you mention quite well.
    – PieBie Mod
    Aug 1, 2016 at 6:56

I have a problem with the "exact duplicate" response, when it's not exact. Exact implies that the user has already asked that question and is reposting it.

It should be changed to "too similar." That says that similar questions and answers can be easily found.

Another suggestion; maybe at the initial question, the phrase, "have you searched existing answers?" could be more prominent. With a highlighted search box right there. I think that would help newbies understand that they should search first.

  • 2
    We have no control over the 'duplicate' close reason, that is the one that's been handed down from the system and is fixed. I do think discussion about when it's used would be useful, but it is not in scope of this question. Feel free to make a new meta post about it!
    – Vincent
    Aug 1, 2016 at 18:41
  • Is there any place left where the word exact still appears?
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Aug 1, 2016 at 18:44

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