Posts on StackExchange are closed for numerous reasons, and ticking of the right box for the exact reason might not always fit the question quite right, or the reason might sometimes be very vague. For new users, knowing exactly why ones question was closed is not always clear.

Now, I am not suggesting that we add a whole new bunch of close reasons, but simply to add a new field where the user flagging to close needs to write a short description of why the question is being closed.

Fo instance, sometimes the reason to close are added as a comment as in Why is my bibliography in italic style? [on hold], but not always. It would also be a lot cleaner if the reason was given in the reason-box, and not in the comment only.


As I see it at the moment, the default reasons for closing, are just categories. These could benefit from an additional mandatory field where a more fitting reason is supplied.

Edit 2:

As mentioned by David Carlisle and Alan Munn, this request should be made on the main meta site. Therefore the question has been posted there, for those who are interested in the discussion, see: Feature request: Add mandatory field for more precise reason

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    the site mechanics are network wide so you would need to raise any feature requests on the main meta not meta.tex.sx Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 0:00
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    I see you got the response network-wide I'm afraid I'd expect: lots of downvotes :-(
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 21:17
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    Note that we can set up custom 'off-topic' close reasons, but that's not been something that to-date has seemed necessary/useful (as the entire idea that things are off-topic is not ideal: the old too localized was rather handy).
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 21:18
  • yeah, crash and burn. Well, atleast got an discussion out of it.
    – Runar
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 21:18
  • And discussed it was! It didn't go over well in the lion's den: Feature request: Add mandatory field for more precise reason
    – Werner Mod
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 18:55
  • just got a Nice Question badge for this one. How ironic.
    – Runar
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 16:03
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    @runartrollet Note that I didn't upvote your post here for the feature request, I upvoted it for the discussion part of it.
    – yo'
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 8:48

3 Answers 3


Sometimes questions are closed right away, which is unfortunate.

SE policy states that closing isn't closing right away, but putting the question on hold, i.e. pressing the pause button.

If an active question is closed, i think a comment is left in 90 percent of cases.
Often the cause is off-topic. Typos, missing braces are also considered off topic, since there is an infinite amount of those question.
Another reason: the question is a duplicate and is already answered.

The other reasons to close are often (in my experience) first stated in a comment before the first flag rises.

Inactive questions get closed after a few months in case that there is no real solution to provide that answers the question. Often because the question is unclear and the OP did not react efficiently to comments. In other words, get rid of cold cases.

Except for the very first sentence, i think we are quite ok on the current way we are dealing with flagging. But this is completely unrelated to the review system, which is another topic :-/

  • If our comment rate on closed questions (other than duplicates) is 90% I'd be very pleasantly surprised. But I suspect it's not. Do we have any way to find out?
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 18:04
  • @AlanMunn Don't know. It was merely a randomly high number.
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 18:16

The feature you're requesting already exists. When closing as Off Topic, you can add a custom reason if you feel that the default ones are not appropriate.

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In this case a comment is automatically posted with the reason you wrote in that box. I don't remember at the moment if other close reasons generate auto-comments (in the case of choosing Off Topic). All close reasons generate a small text in the close box, and if the auto-comment was generated, it's used in lieu of the default text.

By the way, keep in mind that "voting to close" and "flagging to close" have two different meanings on the SE sites.

  • You are of course right that it does show op for Other Off Topic questions, but this does not make people add reasons any more. Sometimes questions fit barely within one of the default reasons, and the reviewer chooses therefore one of these. In my opinion, the site could benefit from an additional field which had to be filled out, in addition to the category-reason.
    – Runar
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 22:48
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    @runartrollet No, the site would not benefit from forcing people to fill in a field. (1) There are cases in which you simply don't need any additional comment, for instance because it's already been discussed. (2) You can't enforce the comment to make any sense, so it would be useless anyway; it wouldn't change anything for the people who already comment on VTC nor for the people who do not.
    – yo'
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 8:37
  • having just looked at a question for which i cast the first vote to close, giving a specific reason in a comment ("problem solved in latest release"), i now find that it's "on hold" simply as off-topic, which is totally bogus. is there nothing that can be done? Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 20:12
  • @barbarabeeton Well, you can leave a comment below. SE sites do have specific close reasons, appropriate for the site, but they must be set by the moderators. In any case, I'm not sure they'd be appropriate in this case, but I didn't think about it for long so I could be wrong.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 20:40

I heartily agree that close voters should give reasons, preferably in a comment so that the questioner is engaged in the process and not just informed of the result.

Unfortunately, however, this behaviour a product of the reviewing system which allows users to click through close votes without ever interacting meaningfully with the question at all. And we have quite a few of these types of reviewers, (unfortunately IMO).

See the following question for some discussion of the problem.

Personally I only close duplicates, and in that case an automatic comment is left.

Ultimately this is a social problem exacerbated by the ease with which questions can be closed.

Since we don't have control over the closing interface at the site level, as a feature request this would need to go on the main meta site. But the need for fast closing is much greater on the larger sites, and so any change to the current system is likely to be met with a lot of skepticism.


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