We are currently running with a default set of reasons to VTC a question, or for flagging.

Should we also have some custom reasons? If so what might be suitable?

  • 5
    It's far too early for that. Custom close reasons exist because of common cases of off-topic questions. A site doesn't have to have them if it doesn't need them. The feature exists to handle common cases that have been observed. The right time to start asking this question will be in a few months. Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 23:43
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    Even if you can reasonably predict some?
    – kdopen
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 23:45
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    “Reasonably predict” is not good enough. The procedure to add custom close reasons requires two moderators to concur, and the wording cannot be edited once the reason is active. It's clearly not something to be done lightly. It should only be done if you either have actual experience of a close reason that would have been useful many times, or if you can accurately predict that the close reason, with the chosen wording, will be useful many times, in which case please share your crystal ball. Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 23:52
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    While I agree with @Gilles, as long as you have active mods who work well as a team, it isn't that hard to change the close reasons later on. Once we get mods then we should get a list of all the closed questions so far, look for some patterns (software recs will be one of them I'm sure) and then make some initial close reasons. Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 1:44

4 Answers 4


Here is one concerning License Recommendations:

Questions asking for the recommendation of a license must include sufficient information on the desired effects, the context regarding the current details of the project itself. Questions that do not include relevant information, or are unclear, will make it difficult to make a well-informed answer, and will be less likely to assist any future readers. Questions that specifically look for proprietary licenses are off-topic. See: How do I write a license recommendation question?

I used the SO minimal information close reason to help me with this:

Questions seeking debugging help ("why isn't this code working?") must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers. See: How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example.

Any thoughts?


One which immediately comes to mind concerns maintaining the neutrality of this site. There are numerous groups in the open/free movement (FSF, OSI, CC, Apache, etc) which often differ on ideological grounds.

Whilst the organizations themselves appear to work together without too much friction, sometimes their members/followers can be a little overzealous in promoting or defending their own group's point of view.

I would suggest a close reason along the lines of:

As currently worded, this post appears provocative and is likely to start arguments. While many good questions generate some degree of debate based on opinion, this question may require an answer that affects the neutrality of the site.

Feel free to wordsmith the text.

  • 2
    For me, this was exactly what came to mind as well (I think i suggested it somewhere in chat a few days ago). This might be technically covered by opinion based or off-topic, but we really need to be able to send the message that we don't want holy wars on our site.
    – overactor
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 16:43
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    How's that for a wordsmithing?
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 16:44
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    Yeah, I like it. I tend to be a little too direct at times ;)
    – kdopen
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 16:44
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    @kdopen Perhaps make it comm wiki?
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 21:36
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    This close reason already exists: “primarily opinion-based — Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.” No need to reinvent the wheel. Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 23:41
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    "This question may require an answer that affects the neutrality of the site" has extremely fluffy implications. We should value strong, evidence-based arguments regardless of their neutrality toward particular ideologies or practices. There is a world of difference between "my favorite sandwich is ham and cheese" and "excessive consumption of processed meat and dairy products was associated with adverse effects on the health of study participants."
    – Air
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 16:24

In my draft on-topic description I thought of two things which may be common enough to warrant custom close reasons:

  • if you want to know how to use some software, or how its code works
  • if you would like recommendations for Free/Open software or media

Unless we come up with a bunch of others I'd suggest we add these at the beginning (possibly combined). If they end up not being very common we can replace it with another if needed.


I also want to add one for discussions:

Questions that are not constructive in nature when asking about a particular viewpoint may be seen as provocative, and can spark heated, unattractive debates between members of the community. As such, the question may potentially damage the neutral, community welcoming reputation of the site. See: [Why do we not allow these sort of questions meta post]

Any thoughts on either of them?

  • 1
    This uses a lot of adjectives and makes several value judgements. I think kdopen's is better. Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 13:18

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