Question 515115, "What does this light shaped like a cylinder mean?", was closed by a moderator as off-topic on the grounds that it is a visual identification question.

However, I have several concerns about this closure:

  • The item to be identified is not a piece of hardware or a port, but an icon for an indicator light.
  • The indicator light in question is commonly found on many PCs, and the cylinder symbol has a nonobvious meaning.
  • There's a pretty substantial number of people coming from Google with this question, which may justify action other than closing it. As of this writing, it has more than 50,000 views.
  • The close reason seems very misleading to me. The question is clearly about computer hardware but is closed as off-topic, with only a comment from a moderator which does not cite the relevant Meta post. Indeed, another Meta post from a different moderator suggests that certain types of identification questions, such as those involving connectors, should not be closed.

As such, this question looks quite different from a typical "guessing game" question. Should this question be reopened, closed with a different reason, and/or historically locked, and what other options are available?

  • 3
    You cannot tell from the 50,000 views how many of them are "No, this isn't close to what I thought the question was about" from searches
    – random Mod
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 14:54
  • Taking my mod hat off for a moment here... I still think we need "I couldn't be bothered to do even a cursory search on the Internet or to find my computer manual because it would have answered my question instantly" as a close reason. I suspect that the main reason why it got a misleading close reason is because we lost the "too localised" and "not a real question" close reasons sometime beforehand. For me this is in the same bucket as show me the drivers! in that it shows a complete lack of effort.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 14:54
  • Perhaps we should just leave the question closed, with a note that the question lacks adequate research effort? Despite the community thinking that it's a bad question, I think it's valuable enough for readers at large to justify a historical lock.
    – bwDraco
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 14:56
  • 1
    @Mokubai do you have any source to back up your claim? I've just checked the manual for my case (Antec) and I couldn't find any information on the meaning of leds, so I think I have a counterexample. As for that laptop, one needs to download a 200 MB ZIP file and browse no less than 50 pages to find a 3-lines explanation which is not even entirely correct or understandable for the target audience.
    – Nemo
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


Indeed, another Meta post from a different moderator suggests that certain types of identification questions, such as those involving connectors, should not be closed.

Said moderator wrote a community FAQ to close those against.

In any case we can use the same tests

  • Is there a minimum amount of effort put in?

Every manual in the past 40 years or so probably mentions what it is. So no

  • Is it searchable?

Ok, maybe

  • is it a practical, answerable question trying to solve a real practical problem other than curiosity?


The only reason its not a guessing game question is it attempts to identify a common, standard and ubiquitous symbol.

I'd be disclined to reopen the question personally, and looks like other mods agree

  • If we were to do anything then I'd reopen and close it as a duplicate of your Community FAQ and then slap a historical lock on it. Seems to be the cleanest and most solid way to say "we don't want these questions".
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 15:44
  • 1
    hmm.Not totally sure that's what I had in mind at the time when I created it - but it might work?
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 15:51
  • @Mokubai: Not a perfect solution (because we lack better close reasons), but I'd say that's a good idea nonetheless.
    – bwDraco
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 8:16
  • 2
    Or just leave it as is
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 23:53

You must log in to answer this question.

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