Many people seem to think that question closure means that the question has come the end of its lifecycle here, while it's clearly not so. As part of making things more clear to the folks asking why it's closed, "Vote to Close" will undergo several changes.

To summarize the changes, these are already live:

  1. Questions closed as duplicate show as [duplicate], not [closed] and a Duplicate question must link to a question with an answer

  2. Questions edited by the OP within five days of closure go into the re-open queue (live since Feb)

In the upcoming week or so, following changes are due to come:

  1. Questions will display as [on hold], rather than [closed] for the first five days after closure.

    • Questions put [on hold] will still not accept answers, and will behave identically to [closed] questions. The language will change to [closed] if the question is not re-opened within five days, to continue to serve as a clear long-term signpost
  2. "Not a real question" and "not constructive" are being replaced with "unclear what you’re asking", "too broad", "primarily opinion-based".

  3. Off-topic closures will include feedback as to why they are closed.

    • The feedback can be a boilerplate reason, or a free-form text field which will be shown as a comment.

Now that you've been briefed about the changes - what should Super User have as its pre-defined list of off-topic reasons?

  • Can I just say what a good idea all of these changes are? Thanks @Sathya.
    – MGOwen
    Jul 10, 2013 at 2:15

3 Answers 3


General outline / category list of things we could / should have:

  • Shopping questions
  • Localized troubleshooting questions (by contrast, canonical troubleshooting questions should not be closed)
  • Questions about imminent future/speculative product releases that are not yet officially released (this does not include official public releases of beta or release candidate software) - should be closed because they're too localized to that point in time before the release, and the answers prior to release would only be speculative until the product itself is out. Note that this doesn't really apply to open source software, since someone can look in the VCS and see exactly what it's doing right now, but for closed source or hardware products, only an employee could confidently answer if the product is still "under wraps".
  • Questions asking for someone to design a solution to a problem (we're not McSoftware's, as Tanner loves to say)

I am not good at making friendly, politically-neutral statements that can be understood by a 4th grader, so I will refrain from authoring actual quotes to put in our list that appear in a little box displayed to the user.

  • In regards to the third bullet point: I would definitely agree with that, but also want to add that I don't want to see it like Ask Ubuntu, where they immediately close old versions as Off Topic after a threshold, even if it's a public release Jun 14, 2013 at 16:15
  • 2
    @Luke I see no reason to ever close a question for being about software that's too old - if I understand correctly, that entry is referring to things that are too new.
    – nhinkle
    Jun 14, 2013 at 16:29
  • Even if it's open source, if it's not released, things can still change. Maybe the software is currently broken, and won't be when released. Questions specifically on unreleased software are usually about stuff that doesn't work right. We get enough "I'm running the nightly build (e.g. Chrome Canary build) and stuff is broken, please help!" on MSU. Recommending it in answers OTOH is completely different ("The feature solving your problem is in the nightly build and will be available soon" is perfectly OK).
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Jun 14, 2013 at 16:44
  • 5
    I think we all agree and are misunderstanding each other...
    – nhinkle
    Jun 14, 2013 at 17:35
  • "Questions asking for someone to design a solution to a problem" - I really love to see this option!
    – nixda
    Jun 27, 2013 at 21:32

From some of the examples linked to in the original post, and with some ideas from the Help Center article on on-topic questions, I tried to cover all the bullet points that Super User is not about. Note that some of the following reasons might overlap with migrating some questions, but my train of thought is that these reasons can be used for questions that could technically get moved, but would likely be closed as off-topic after doing so anyways (since we try to not migrate crap to other sites :).

So, starting with the bullet point(s) the reason was derived from, followed by the reason (+description), some examples, and any other notes if applicable:

  • asking for a shopping or product recommendation

Shopping Recommendation (or Software/Hardware Request?)

Questions about specific product recommendations - hardware or software - are off-topic. A general guideline is to ask a question about or regarding a specific issue/problem you face.

suggestions to upgrade my intel celeron laptop

Tool for periodic wifi checks and reconnecting (Windows)

Gaming: Xeon E3-1245 V2 versus i7-3770

I emphasize general since there are interesting/theoretical questions that don't fall under this category and can still be phrased as on-topic for Super User.

  • video games or consoles
  • electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones, except insofar as they interface with your computer

Not About Computer Hardware/Software

Questions should relate to computer hardware/software and not to electronic devices (such as smartphones, game consoles, or media players) unless dealing with the interfacing of such a device with a computer.

This one is pretty self explanatory, but I don't think we need to have two seperate categories for hardware and software - whichever is in question should be apparent already from the question itself.

  • programming and software development

Programming/Scripting Request

Questions asking/requesting other users to write code are off-topic, and are generally off topic for Stack Overflow as well. Programming-specific questions can be asked on Stack Overflow, however questions regarding the use of development tools are on-topic for Super User.

AHK script to toggle hidden folders in Windows 8?

script to scroll page by cursor movement - add the option to pause and change speed with keystrokes

spreadsheet to calculate weekly increase

I think this one will generally only get used for the coding questions that will end up getting closed on Stack Overflow anyways, but would be good to have (as coding questions to pop up on Super User rather frequently).

  • issues specific to corporate IT support and networks

Commercial/Industrial Applications

Questions on Super User should deal with consumer-level hardware/software, not those used by large corporations. While some specific questions may be on-topic, questions should (in general) relate to software and hardware available for purchase and use in the residential domain. While these questions are off-topic for Super User, they may be on-topic for Server Fault.

Issue with creating an Windows 2008 Virtualized image with qEmu

Again, this one might get used more like the previous one (questions that might get migrated to Server Fault but don't because they'd get closed there anyways).

And last but not least:

  • websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress

Relating To Web Application/Service (SAAS?)

Questions on Super User should deal directly with hardware/software, and not web-based applications or services. While some specific questions may be on-topic, questions should (in general) relate to software and hardware used to host or run the executing environments and not the applications/scripts themselves. While these questions are off-topic for Super User, they may be on-topic for WebApps.SE, or if they are related to programming, Stack Overflow.

Are there any blog posting systems more aesthetically appealing than Wordpress?

JS fiddle (as well as other websites) with tiny text

Largely because we can migrate these questions to WebApps.SE now, this might not be used a lot - but as I mentioned before, I think it may be worth having another off-topic label for those questions which could be migrated (like some of the ones above), but shouldn't be, since they would be closed anyways.


Note: as of today (June 25th), the new close reasons are live. Moderators can edit the close reasons, although we will only do so with community input*.

The current custom off-topic reasons are:

  • Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve.
  • Questions about software development are off-topic here, but can be asked on Stack Overflow.
  • Questions about the use of web-based applications are off-topic here, but can be asked on Web Apps Stack Exchange.
  • This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network
  • Other (add a comment explaining what is wrong)

If you think we should change the wording on any of these, or think that these do not adequately cover the cases discussed in the other answers here, please leave a comment or update your existing answer to propose different reasons. We can also add new reasons as necessary.

*Unless it's April Fools Day. No promises there.

  • Please add a bullet for Android-related queries as well, since we see a lot of those here. Edit: The fourth point you've listed seems to be missing.
    – Karan
    Jun 26, 2013 at 1:18
  • @Karan are you sure you weren't looking at a question that's more than 60 days old? Somebody in the mod chatroom who only has 4k on SU confirmed for me that he's seeing the migration options.
    – nhinkle
    Jun 26, 2013 at 4:17
  • I just flagged question 612218 as off topic and saw the first four options you listed, but not Other which would have been most appropriate. It seems like that didn't make the new live list, but would be helpful.
    – dav
    Jun 26, 2013 at 11:54
  • @nhinkle: Perhaps it was an old question; I don't remember which one I checked. All the options you've mentioned show up fine on a new question.
    – Karan
    Jun 26, 2013 at 17:09
  • 1
    For what it's worth I don't think the "Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve" really works for plain shopping recommendation questions. I saw a lot of posts today where the votes went towards primarily opinion based instead, and I'm wondering if that's semantically "correct" (so to speak) when we actually have a shopping close reason.
    – slhck
    Jun 26, 2013 at 19:17

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