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It is possible to define custom off-topic close reasons. The purpose of this thread is to collect proposals for such reasons (if there are any).

Please note that there is a strict upper limit on the number of such reasons we can have (three), and it seems like a bad idea to change them too often. Thus, I rather propose we exercise quite some restraint with introducing them, and do not fill up the entire list right away.

In addition, please recall that (as a beta site) we cannot (yet) have open migration paths.

Final technical remarks: the maximal length for the reason is 400 characters (the minimum is 25).


Some data (from the last 30 days, in the sense of what is shown in the relevant stats pages for this, which with autodelte slightly smears this over really 30 days):

We had 15 closed questions (8 visible and 7 deleted). Of these 5 to 6 seem like purely math questions (more or less suitable for math.SE but some not so good), 4 to 5 might be suitable for academia.SE (though rather not all); the rest a mix of genuine closures (too broad, unclear, and a like). In addition, I recall a quick selfdeletions of one question that was clearly a math question (that actually sparked that thread), and perhaps another one but this is less clear.

So depending on how one counts exactly, a third to a half are "math only" (potentially for math.SE) and a quater to a third are "not enough math related" (potentially for academia.SE).

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    $\begingroup$ I'd recommend to list a few example questions that should have been closed with a custom reason. Custom reasons only make sense for common reasons. $\endgroup$
    – user191
    Apr 30, 2014 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ Please don't deviate (too much) from MSE. I'm rather active in several sites on SE, and getting a strange page (missing, reordered options, ...) is somewhat annoying. $\endgroup$
    – vonbrand
    May 6, 2014 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @vonbrand Each site can at most define up to three costum off-topic reasons, and where they are inserted is standardized. So we will not deviate much. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    May 6, 2014 at 22:43
  • $\begingroup$ @vonbrand Let me add however that the way it is just now is not the intended one, since the default reason is now missing. I agree (if this is what you meant) that it is not good like this with no broad default reason at the start. This is eitehr an error in the system or an error in me using the system. Either way, I hope tit'd be fixed soon. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    May 6, 2014 at 23:06

2 Answers 2

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Update: this should be "live" now. We should not change it too often, but also it can be changed without problem if it should turn out to be not helpful.

Update 2: Contrary to the intention the "default" off-topic reason is now gone. I am not sure if this is expected or due to some temporary issue reported in another question. I will wait a while and then fix this (if it does not fix itself).


I could see a costum close reason for purely mathematical question, asked on this site out of a simple misunderstanding regarding its scope, as useful. This can stand in place of the migration option to math.SE that we cannot yet have. Also, this is a situation (the only one I am aware of) that comes up with significant relative frequency; roughly half of all closures seem to be for this reason.

The text could be, roughly as in the help center:

This question is off-topic because it is a mathematical question as contrasted with a question about mathematics education. For a Stack Exchange site for mathematical questions please see Mathematics.

In addition to all usual feedback, I would especially welcome corrections or improvements of the language of the proposed text.

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    $\begingroup$ I would guess a similar problem could emerge (frequently?) with questions better suited for Academia.SE. $\endgroup$ Apr 30, 2014 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ Yes this is also quite frequent. There are two reasons why I focused on this one rather then the other; on the one hand, it is still slightly more common (see updated OP), and on the other hand (more importantly), it seems more clear cut. What I mean with the later is that for maany of the math question I assume essentially everybody (even including OP) will agree that this is not for this site an was only posted since OP thought this was a math site. By contrast for questions that might be suitable for academia.SE it is harder for me to think of a formulation that would fit all cases. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Apr 30, 2014 at 22:43
  • $\begingroup$ I would be fine with this proposal. $\endgroup$
    – Jim Belk
    May 3, 2014 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ There will be several sites (statistics, physics, even computer science or SO) to which misplaced posts should be shunted. $\endgroup$
    – vonbrand
    May 6, 2014 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ @vonbrand yes I agree various things will arive, and we will need to handle them. But this one seems more frequent then everything else. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    May 6, 2014 at 22:39
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When I started that discussion is was not aware of the fact that adding an off-topic reason will make the "default" reason we had inaccessible. It read(s):

This question does not appear to be about teaching mathematics, within the scope defined in the help center.

Do we want this (or something along these lines) restored? (It could be added as another off-topic reason.)

Note however we can also get this reaosn via voting "off-topic" and "other"; it will then be displayed together with the additional info given in the box. It is thus not clear we want to give it one of the scarce slots in addition.

Please provide opinions in comments. (If there is lot of activity I will make it a question in its own right.)

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    $\begingroup$ Somehow I would like to have it as an extra close reason. I cannot say at the moment why though... $\endgroup$ May 7, 2014 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Yes this was also my initial reaction. But thinking about it, it might be that we just did not adopt the 'other' reason properly. But I am not decided myself either. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    May 7, 2014 at 23:46

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