Now that "too localized" is no longer a valid reason for closing a question, the following text building block should be rephrased.

[Welcome to TeX.SX!](https://tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1436) On this site, a question should typically revolve around an abstract issue (e.g. "How do I get a double horizontal line in a table?") rather than a concrete application (e.g. "How do I make this table?"). Questions that look like "Please do this complicated thing for me" tend to get closed because they are "too localized". Please try to make your question clear and simple by giving a [minimal working example (MWE)](https://tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/228): you'll stand a greater chance of getting help.

Any ideas?

  • 3
    Broadly, it seems to me we have to decide what an appropriate close reason here would be: options are 'off topic' ('We don't answer questions that are "do it for me"'), 'too broad' (too much expected of an answer) or 'unclear' (exactly which bit do you need help with).
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 14:41
  • @JosephWright That's nice and concise indeed.
    – percusse
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


I also like Joseph's idea, seems completely logical to me. Nevertheless, I would also like to point out that since "this is the better part of the Internet" we shouldn't sell ourselves like we don't answer questions that require too much effort (too much expected of an answer), even though we all know that nothing bothers more than the "do this for me" question and we all love a question that poses ourselves a good challenge.

Having said that, I would then focus on the other two options: off topic and unclear.

By the same reasoning, off topic may seem strange, because the OP would feel he is actually asking for something of TeX in the TeX site (specially for newbies) and he is not getting the help he needs. Perhaps that specifically set of words shouldn't be our response for why his question is being kicked out.

So, here is my idea: The fusion of #2 and #3:

Your question seems unclear. We need to know exactly which bit do you need help with, since we do not answer questions that are "do it for me".

Of course, we need someone who is more "political" to say this in the right manner (which also includes the requirement to provide the OP's own attempts in the form of a MWE).

  • 3
    but sometimes we do answer some of the "do it for me" questions. I think fun factor ruins every possible axiomatic rule set. It's all TikZ questions' fault :p
    – percusse
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 12:46
  • "too broad" might also be characterized as "there are too many ways of approaching this to give a practical useful answer". (too many words, but it puts a different spin on the problem.) Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 16:18
  • @barbarabeeton Yes, I see the problem with it too. However, if you say that to the OP he might reply with "OK, give them all to me, I'll choose the easiest one I like" Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 16:22
  • @MarioS.E. -- good point. i'll put my thinking hat back on. Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 16:30
  • @percusse Perhaps the difference is in the way the OP asks the question. Usually a TikZ question comes along some first attempts, which makes it a little less "do this for me". If not, at least the question seems more like a challenge rather than a request. I don't know. I'm babbling now Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 16:55

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