3

I'm aware of this question:

Over there it's suggested that blatantly off-topic questions are closed by entering a custom close reason. I can see the benefits of that as new users will get a bit more guidance why their question isn't a good fit for the site.

Nevertheless, it would be useful to have a built-in 'blatantly off-topic' reason as well. One use case would be when there are already enough comments explaining why a question is off-topic. In such cases, adding an extra comment when voting to close might be repetitive (or even unfriendly if well-meaning users are forced to repeat criticisms that were already mentioned).

As an example, I came across this question in the close vote queue. One user already left a comment explaining why the question probably isn't a good fit for the site. When casting my close vote, I could either add a custom reason or go with the existing close reason (which was 'needs details or clarity'). In this case, I think a blatantly off-topic close reason would be useful to have.

For example, on Travel there's a simple reason:

Blatantly off-topic This question has nothing to do with traveling.

On Politics, the reason is a more circular catch all ('it's off-topic because it doesn't fit our scope'):

This question does not appear to be about governments, policies and political processes within the scope defined in the help center.

So what do you think? Should we have a broader catch-all close reason? And if so, how should it be phrased?

5

I think you are right - we currently haven't developed our Close reasons, mostly because it hasn't really been a big issue up till now. Normally by this age of a site it would have already been done, but I think the exodus shrunk us down and set us back enough that we are only just seeing it.

It is something Mods can do, and we would probably go with the more usual wording, similar to that on Politics - it refers people to the help center so they can read the full site scope.

We have implemented this today (9 Aug 2021) - using the default wording sites get if they have no other close reasons - which is I think where Politics got theirs from.

1
  • Thanks for making this work.
    – Willeke Mod
    Aug 15 at 8:43
2

I absolutely would not use the word "blatantly". It is too off-putting to new users who usually need guidance, not exasperation.

Rory aptly referred to The Exodus, which is all the more reason to focus on education rather than put-downs.

I am really not a bleeding heart, but I remember well the useful coaching I received from several old hands early in my career here, which encouraged me and turned me into a fairly good contributor. Patience and effort often work, and thus I am opposed to this new close reason until it becomes blatantly obvious it is needed, which it is not, yet.

3
  • Use of the word blatantly is common in most other SE sites, so we would be following the norm. Although, I take your point that maybe we shouldn't.
    – Chenmunka
    Aug 4 at 20:24
  • @Chenmunka Different sites have different problems and different norms. The other site that I know well is ELU, and they have a lot of blatantly off topic Qs. We are not that successful yet.
    – ab2
    Aug 4 at 20:30
  • Yea, I agree the word blatantly may be unnecessarily confrontational. If it's really off-topic and there's no intention to migrate it to another site then citing the scope of this site seems like the best option. If it would be a good fit elsewhere then we can use a custom message with the suggestion that it be moved to another site (e.g. Travel.SE).
    – JJJ
    Aug 8 at 18:08

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