Please reprimand me if it's against etiquette that I'm using a particular question as a peg: This question was asked in good faith, but when I see the present state of it, then it seems that the OP might have lost interest in it. Martin Scharrer has asked him to post an answer, which is good, and it's also good to wait a bit so that the OP can do that.

My question: Would it be good to vote to close such questions as "not a real question"? As I said, it shouldn't be closed immediately, but from time to time we have questions of a similar type that stay open without answers, and I think "not a real question" is a close reason that makes kind of sense here. What do you think?

(A close reason I'm somewhat missing in this connection is "OP failed to provide details". But I won't make that a feature-request; I expect the answer would be 'chose "not a real question" instead'.)

UPDATE: If we follow the time frame "~ month" from Joseph's comment to Martin's answer, then another question pops up: What could be the means to really do close some questions after more than a month? The "Unanswered Questions" list helps, but how could we gather 5 close votes then?

  • @lockstep: Thanks for catching the typo! Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 22:16
  • It was even after the grace period. ;-)
    – lockstep
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 22:21
  • 1
    I'd been wondering the same thing, after looking through the list of 'unanswered' questions and finding several that fit into the 'need more detail: none given' category. (On something like Mozilla's Bugzilla, ones that I'd close INCOMPLETE.)
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 15:49
  • related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/81887/…
    – Caramdir
    Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 23:06
  • @Caramdir: Thanks for reminding me of this auto-deletion. However, I don't see it taking effect here since the criteria are rather strict. Commented Mar 14, 2011 at 8:35

3 Answers 3


It's been only 14 hours since the question has been asked, and the OP might have a legitimate reason not to come back to check the progress -- it's weekend after all, and people have all sorts of crazy things to do instead of earning rep on TeX-SE :-)

Generally speaking, I agree that there should be a reasonable period after which questions without sufficient information are closed, provided they don't have a useful answer yet (even if it's anybody's guess whether this solves the OP problem). I'd suggest something like at least a week or so, and the questions can be merely closed. If the OP comes back around and complains on meta (hopefully they will, instead of simply leaving with frustration, never to come back again), these can be reopened, edited and answered.

Then again -- being too vigilant is definitely to be avoided. I'd hate it if TeX-SE ends up having a "close police" like the SO guys.

  • 4
    I'd say a week is actually a rather short time: I would think more on the ~ month time scale.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 15:52
  • I agree with Joseph on the time frame. I've had a couple of my answers accepted after at least a few weeks passed by, if not a month.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Mar 14, 2011 at 0:00

What could be the means to really do close some questions after more than a month? The "Unanswered Questions" list helps, but how could we gather 5 close votes then?

Say what you're doing on chat or meta. If this situation keeps cropping up, then we could have a "Closing RfC" thread here on meta to group them together.


Posting this as an answer so that it can be voted on separately.

Personally, I think if a user posts a question, then it's their duty to check on it in due time, which in my feeling is ~1 day, maybe even less. If the user fails to provide requested details after 1 day, then I'd find it reasonable to close the question immediately, given that a polite comment is left, explaining what the OP will have to do in order to have the question reopened. I just realize that we have no proper Building Block for such a case yet.

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