As per this meta.SO post, an overhaul of the close system is under way. Of the numerous changes that will take place, the following will no longer be reasons for closing:

  • not a real question,
  • not constructive, and
  • too localized

They will be replaced instead by:

  • unclear what you’re asking,
  • too broad, and
  • primarily opinion-based.

Furthermore, off-topic will now include sub-reasons for closing. This can include site-specific reasons, though any close-voter can write in their own wording for that particular question (which will be subsequently turned into a comment).

What will our list of default off-topic reasons be?

In general, what is not covered by the three new reasons (plus duplicate, which is still in place)?

Thanks to Chris White over on meta.physics.SE for an earlier version of this question, that I've copied here and then amended.

  • More detailed info about all changes can be found here
    – THelper
    Jun 19, 2013 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


I think the most common reason for closing a question is that it is not primarily about sustainability. Some of these questions can be migrated to other SE sites, but for the ones that can't be migrated we could use something like

  • not (primarily) about sustainability

Furthermore I would like to add this reason

  • no fact-based answers possible

for closing questions that are unanswerable because the answers would be highly speculative (e.g. this question) but at the same time I think we should be careful not to misuse this one for closing questions that ask about other people's experiences (e.g. this question).


I did some research, right now we have 27 closed questions:

  • 13 off topic (of which 6 are about gardening, 2 about finances and the rest about various other topics)
  • 7 not constructive (of which 2 are just too broad, 2 with no fact-based answers possible, 1 asks for opinions, 1 is a shopping recommendation and 1 question was just very vague).
  • 3 migrated (2 to gardening SE, 1 to home improvement SE)
  • 2 duplicate
  • 1 not a real question
  • 1 too localized

I just read this post on meta stackoverflow about all changes that are coming up and I've read that people closing a question can also type a reason themselves. It seems the majority of all closed questions can be captured with my first suggestion (not primarily about sustainability). My second suggestion (no fact-based answers possible) might not be necessary, at least not until a lot of invalid questions start to pop-up that cannot be closed as "too broad" or "primarily opinion-based"

EDIT2 I've just read the explanation about the default "primarily opinion based" reason.

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

I wrongly assumed that it was for closing questions where the question itself was opinion-based, but I now see that it is for questions where the answers would be opinion-based, so there is no need for my 2nd suggestion.

  • I think "no fact-based answers possible" amounts to pretty much the same thing as "primarily opinion-based", doesn't it?
    – 410 gone
    Jun 18, 2013 at 8:39
  • @EnergyNumbers I have been thinking the same and perhaps many questions can be closed for both reasons. But I think it's a bit strange to close a question like "What will happen if we run out of oil?" as opinion-based and would rather see it closed as 'no fact-based answers possible'.
    – THelper
    Jun 18, 2013 at 9:00
  • I think your first suggestion is good - some questions are more environmental by nature, just spun in a way that sort of works here. That's not to say that they can't work, and 'on hold' gives them a definite plan of action to change the question around. I'm also not sure the second is needed - close reasons are as suggestive as they are applicable, and it might see a bit of improper use.
    – Tim Post
    Jun 20, 2013 at 16:24
  • What happened to that "not (primarily) about sustainability" flag? I can't find it, there's only migrate to meta or migrate to gardening, whereas the question I flagged was off-topic for another reason.
    – drat
    Apr 1, 2014 at 8:59

You must log in to answer this question.

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