Stack Exchange has recently changed how questions get closed. Part of this change includes defining three custom messages to be used as additional information when closing as "Off Topic".

“Off-Topic” now includes site-specific close reasons

Many communities have decided that some questions that sound like they fall under the topic “headline” (“cooking”, ”photography”, etc.) should be explicitly disallowed:

  • On our cooking site, recipe requests are off-topic, (but recipe replacements questions are allowed).
  • On photography – “fix my picture” questions are off topic, (but specific technique requests are allowed).
  • Stack Overflow is about programming, but programming questions you’d solve on a whiteboard or that ask what’s wrong with a large block of code are no good.

And, as of today, they are also available to “off-topic” close-voters right in the close dialogue. Users can pick one from the site’s list, or if none apply, they can enter a free-form one which will appear as a comment and as a choice for others voting to close the same question:

  • “Your question appears to be about ferret grooming, which is off-topic for Stack Overflow”.

As a community we should decide what three custom "Off Topic" messages will be displayed by default in the close dialogue. Please post one suggestion per answer; the three highest voted answers will be used.


1 Answer 1


"Self-help" questions are off-topic because you should probably see a medical professional instead of trying to self-diagnose / self-treat. See: Why was my self-help question closed as off-topic?

  • This one was already set up when I went to check out the new feature; did Jeromy or Steven add this one? :-)
    – Josh
    Jun 28, 2013 at 15:37
  • The SE team added at least one custom reason to each site I think, at UX we had 3 before we even added any
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 28, 2013 at 16:07
  • Nice! They chose the right one if you ask me!
    – Josh
    Jun 28, 2013 at 16:30
  • 1
    The other big issue I have with self-help questions is that they are too localised. I.e., they don't ask a general question that will be relevant as a future artefact for the internet. Instead they focus on someone's specific set of circumstances. Jun 29, 2013 at 3:30
  • Excellent point @JeromyAnglim
    – Josh
    Jun 29, 2013 at 4:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .