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Lately we've seen a bunch of question about Windows, english usage, general programming questions, and when we should take the dog to a walk... so, I was thinking that instead of writing up a "custom" reason each time... some should be prewritten, no? Any ideas of what this text should say?

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Proposed text:

This question is not about Unix or Linux. Questions about other operating systems can be asked on Super User and questions about general programming on Stack Overflow. See the help page for a description of what kinds of questions are on topic here.

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I actually prefer that people are encouraged to think of a constructive reason for closing (for off-topic) and articulate it prior to clicking the button.

It may only be a small cognitive hurdle, but it does encourage thoughtful votes to close, at least from the first voter, rather than just the cost of a click.

I think this contributes to the overall high quality nature of the content management on the site and I don't think it is worth trading away for a very small gain in perceived convenience.

We aren't at the size yet—from my perspective visiting daily—where the volume of posts would make this a more compelling argument. Until we are, I think we should try and preserve the thoughtful, measured environment that has been cultivated to date.

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  • 3
    You make a good point. Still, some questions are simply plain off topic, what if someone asks about the best way for stringing a guitar? It would be nice to have a ready-made, polite and clear reason. I have often found myself voting to close as off topic and would have liked to include a link to the help center or on-topic pages, explaining the scope of the site. Having that option in the close menu would be a help.
    – terdon Mod
    Oct 1 '13 at 14:13
  • Don't we already have a boilerplate about it not being within the site's scope? The top option on the second screen (it includes those links).
    – jasonwryan
    Oct 1 '13 at 17:08
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    Not unless it's a >10k rep feature. The top option on the second screen after choosing off topic for me is what became of too localized: "Questions describing a problem that can't be reproduced and seemingly went away on its own (or went away when a typo was fixed) are off-topic as they are unlikely to help future readers. "
    – terdon Mod
    Oct 1 '13 at 17:14
  • Nevermind: I only looked on Meta :( It's still very early here...
    – jasonwryan
    Oct 1 '13 at 17:17
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    Ah, perfect, that's the one I'd like to see on the main site.
    – terdon Mod
    Oct 1 '13 at 17:18
  • So, are we getting a new "Off-topic" reason?
    – Braiam
    Oct 4 '13 at 22:50
  • @Braiam Tag it as a feature request and the site admins can decide based on their experience with other sites and our discussion here.
    – jasonwryan
    Oct 4 '13 at 23:21
  • @jasonwryan And, over three years later, we still don't have a [status] or even a comment from an admin. (If I recall correctly, terdon wasn't a moderator yet in 2013.)
    – Scott
    Jan 25 '17 at 22:04

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