How we close or don’t close questions is a long-standing problem:

  • The close queue is comparably full, which means that questions that should be closed may get closed too late or not at all.

  • There is a lot of disagreement on what questions should be closed for several reasons.

  • Handling the close queue has been found extremely frustrating not only due to its size but also because a lot of questions are not considered to belong there (remember that a leave open decision costs far more time than a close decision as you have to exclude all possible problems instead of just finding or agreeing with one) and close voters are unsure about how to deal with certain questions.

  • Some users flag or vote to close certain questions only because they feel obliged to do this and not because they think that there is an actual problem with the question.

  • Few close voters leave guidance when voting to close (remember that most askers only see the close reason after the question has been closed; and they are not informed about that either), but how we handle closure is a crucial to how welcoming this site is to new users.

The Project

Obviously, these issues are far too broad and diverse to be tackled in a single Meta discussion. Therefore, over the next months, I will organise Meta discussions on specific close reasons and other issues – roughly one per week. I will try my best to initiate these discussions with a focussed question such that they yield a constructive result. I hope that at the end we have:

  • Better or new close reasons.
  • A better defined scope, avoiding quarrel, helping reviewers to make quicker decisions.
  • A FAQ for reviewers.
  • Better guidance for askers.
  • A less painful close queue.
  • Fewer unnecessarily closed or voted-to-close questions.

This will likely mean that we will revisit some issues that have already been discussed and even may end with the same conclusions. However, if we should revisit a topic, this will usually be because there is disagreement about it and therefore it is valuable to re-assess the community’s stance on it.

Finally, for all of this to work, your participation is needed. So please take part in the discussions. Even if you do not want to post an answer, you can still comment and most importantly vote.

This question

To keep this project organised, productive, and concise, I first want to assess what shall be discussed before starting individual discussions. Therefore I am asking: What aspects of closure should be discussed? Please adhere to the following:

  • One topic per answer.

  • List individual questions that you desire to be addressed under that answer.

  • Feel free to add new sub-topics to existing answers (answers are made community wikis to facilitate this).

  • Upvote answers if you think that a topic needs discussion or revisiting. Downvote answers if you think that everything is going well in this respect.

  • Do not discuss the actual topics yet. Also, to avoid priming or proviking premature discussions, please do not make suggestions, but phrase your proposal as a question instead, e.g. write:

    Are we closing too few or too many questions as tech support?

    instead of:

    I propose that we close fewer questions as tech support.

8 Answers 8


Tech support

  • Are we closing too few or too many questions as tech support?
  • How can we define tech support in a better and clearer way?
  • How can we re-phrase the custom close reason for tech support?
  • 2
    As a fairly new user, I am definitely confused about why many questions are closed as tech support. Of course, there are many questions where I read the question and wonder whether or not the questioner has ever heard of Google. But if a questioner asks how to do something in a piece of software that is used for graphic design work--it seems to me that people who frequent this site are much more likely to know how to accomplish something specific to Illustrator or InDesign than would the typical person on SE:Super User (for example).
    – magerber
    Jun 27, 2017 at 17:12
  • @magerber Keep in mind that it's not necessarily which community can answer a question better as to where a question should go. It is more so determined by the scope of the sites themselves, not their userbase Jun 27, 2017 at 17:48
  • 1
    @ZachSaucier: … and aligning the latter two is one of the things that I hope to be the result of this project.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jun 28, 2017 at 5:30
  • @Wrzlprmft I agree - it seems obvious that the point of specialized sites is to draw the expert userbase to them so that the best place to ask a question is the site created just for it, because that's where the experts are.
    – TylerH
    Jun 28, 2017 at 14:40
  • @magerber sometimes questions get asked that are essentially bug reports or internal implementation issues. These are clearly tech support. Ask the vendor since only they can answer.
    – joojaa
    Jul 2, 2017 at 7:42
  • What exactly does "tech support" consist of? It seems to be that essentially every question "How do I do X with program Y" could be called tech support by some definition....
    – Wildcard
    Jul 4, 2017 at 23:30

Basic Paradigms

What’s our general goal when closing questions? When should individual users vote to close?

  • Do we want to close questions because they have a low quality?

  • Do we want to close questions because we do not like them?

  • Do we want to close questions because answers to them pose a problem?

  • Do we want to both close questions and still answer them to help out the asker? Is it in line with our paradigms?

  • The low quality topic needs to be discussed. The other bullets seem relatively pulled out of the air to me, at least with the way they're currently phrased :P Jun 27, 2017 at 12:33
  • 1
    @ZachSaucier: I disagree. There seem to be many conflicting attitudes towards closure in general. I would be happy to be proven wrong in this regard though.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jun 27, 2017 at 13:24
  • @ZachSaucier At least the last point, which I added, happens amazingly often.
    – Vincent
    Jun 27, 2017 at 20:13

Too Broad

  • Are we closing too few or too many questions as 'too broad'?

  • How can we better define 'too broad', if at all?

  • The second question in particular needs to be answered Jun 27, 2017 at 12:10
  • The reason people choose too broad is that its the only non overly specific close reason. And we are missing close reasons for "This is not a graphic design question" etc.
    – joojaa
    Jul 2, 2017 at 7:39

Code questions

  • What sorts of questions requiring code are on topic?
  • What requirements do these questions need to meet?

Broad Answers

  • What is wrong with broader answers?
  • If a question needs to be answered in broad terms, does that make the question bad?
  • What is a broad answer then?
  • Questions cannot be determined as broad by the answers given, they can only be broad by the nature of the question itself. As such, I don't see how this suggestion differs from "Too Broad" Jun 27, 2017 at 17:43
  • 2
    @ZachSaucier I'm not sure why you're commenting on this. It's my understanding Wrzl plans to make each of these into its own discussion over the next few days and weeks. He says in the initial post, "Do not discuss the actual topics yet. Also, to avoid priming or provoking premature discussions, please do not make suggestions"
    – Ryan
    Jun 27, 2017 at 18:06
  • I'm not discussing the topic, I'm saying this is the same thing as one already posted Jun 27, 2017 at 18:53
  • Broad Questions and Broad Answers are two different things @ZachSaucier
    – Ryan
    Jun 27, 2017 at 20:39
  • All the other responses seem to be about types of questions, so I'm not sure this answer belongs here - the meta question above is about closure. You cannot close an answer. Whether an answer is too broad is not dependably a reflection on the broadness of a question; both focused and too-broad questions can receive both short and broad answers.
    – TylerH
    Jun 27, 2017 at 21:28
  • 4
    Its relevant when people vote to close Questions because they think the only possible Answers are too broad which happens quite regularly here. @TylerH
    – Ryan
    Jun 27, 2017 at 21:49
  • @Ryan But if they feel that the answers are appropriate for the question asked, then they are voting to close the question because of how broad it is, not because of the broad answers... Jun 28, 2017 at 13:00
  • There cannot be a case where the question is too broad but the answers are not too broad where the answers are fully answering the question being asked Jun 28, 2017 at 13:02
  • @ZachSaucier as long as you refuse to consider other people's views especially ones with more insight than you, nothing I say here is going to matter. You are using circular logic to justify your preconceived notions. "There cannot be a case where the question is too broad but the answers are not too broad" is again referring to Broad Questions. Not all Broad Answers are on Broad Questions nor are people voting to close all Broad Answers as Too Broad. Which is why this is relevant based on people's ideas of the Answers NOT the Question.
    – Ryan
    Jun 28, 2017 at 13:24
  • "If Broad question than Broad answer" is not equivalent to "If Broad Answer than Broad Question." @ZachSaucier
    – Ryan
    Jun 28, 2017 at 13:25
  • 1
    @Ryan I believe your reply to me uses specious reasoning; if someone is voting to close a question because they think the only possible answers are too broad, then the question is too broad, therefore we should be focusing on broadness from the perspective of the question (because, again, this discussion is about closure, and we can't close answers [privileged users can delete them at -3, but that is much more rare]). If an answer is necessarily too broad because the question is too broad, that problem should be addressed at the question level, otherwise you are just treating the symptom
    – TylerH
    Jun 28, 2017 at 14:08
  • 2
    @TylerH - except many users, including your buddy Zach routinely vote to close things as "Primarily Opinion Based" or "Custom Off-Topic" while leaving a comment either on the question or in chat saying there's no way to answer it with any specificity. Perhaps, you should participate in the communities and understand our unique issues instead of coming in here applying generalizations from other parts of SE when we're trying to solve specifics.
    – Ryan
    Jun 28, 2017 at 14:54
  • 3
    @TylerH I have no bias against you for knowing Zach or any other reason. Perhaps you should re-read the Question Wrzl asked because it states, "What aspects of closure should be discussed?" not "What types of Questions should be discussed." As a Moderator I routinely see people closing things based on their opinions about what the possible answers could be. If you don't see that either spend time on our site, become a moderator on your site, or take me for my word instead of assuming I'm wrong.
    – Ryan
    Jun 28, 2017 at 15:06
  • 2
    @Ryan The problem is that I believe you are mistaken by analyzing what you are saying; I'm not simply assuming it. You say people close questions because they feel any answer would be too broad. If that is the case, then the question is too broad. Therefore, we should focus on the too-broad questions, and the too-broad answers will take care of themselves. Again, focusing on too-broad answers here is missing the mark; it's treating a symptom and not the cause.
    – TylerH
    Jun 28, 2017 at 15:48
  • 1
    Please move this discussion to chat
    – PieBie Mod
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:13

Style Identification



  • 1
    I don’t feel that font-identifications have been a source of disagreement or other trouble lately. Can you elaborate why you want to revisit them?
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jun 28, 2017 at 21:16
  • 1
    @Wrzlprmft I don't. I added this for completion's sake and to gauge how we think these are handled at the moment. They used to be quite the problem. As no one has voted on it, I'm happy to see that this subject has finally been regulated to contentment.
    – Vincent
    Jun 29, 2017 at 5:53
  • As no one has voted on it – Actually, this answer has +2|−2 at the moment I am writing this.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jun 29, 2017 at 7:17
  • @Wrzlprmft Ah, that's hard to check on mobile. I see now. At least that balance shows it's not a high priority.
    – Vincent
    Jun 29, 2017 at 7:55

Critique Requests

  • Are we closing too few or too many questions because they don't follow our critique guidelines?
  • Are our critique guidelines too strict or too lenient?
  • Do we want to allow critique requests or are they straying into the 'opinion-based' area too much?

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