As noted in this question, we sometimes get a message in the close vote review queue that:

This question has been flagged as notification

However, there is no "Vote to Close" system option stating:

This question does not appear to be about home improvement within the scope defined in the help center.

As noted in the comments on BMitch's answer to that question, we can change our close options to suit our needs.

Since we already have a "Needs details or clarity" close reason on the main "Why should this question be closed" page:

Close reasons

I would suggest that we replace the "Not enough information" on the "community specific" selection:

Community specific close reasons

With the "not in scope" message noted above.

Piggy-backing off of Machavity's answer, we may want to change the verbiage in the "Why should this question be closed?" box by taking the text from the close option I suggested removing, so that it reads:

Needs details or clarity

Not enough information was provided to answer this question accurately. Please include the make and model of all devices and equipment, photos, diagrams, drawings, and any other information that might help people provide an accurate answer.

Then change that option to contain the fairly boilerplate "not within scope" close option found on many other sites within SE:

Not suitable for this site: This question does not appear to be about home improvement within the scope defined in the help center.

As an update, other sites have a "not about as defined in the help center" close reason. For example, here's the message on [woodworking.se]:

screen grab of Woodworking's "off topic" close reason screen

It seems perfectly reasonable to have a similar close reason here.

Dredging this up again

This question was closed for precisely the reason listed in the first image at the top of this question. I never see this as a VtC reason. How did people vote for this reason?

  • Dang, not even a way to add a bounty to get people to look at it? @mods, we've got at least two people who think this is a good idea, and there don't seem to be any who don't think it's good, can we move based on that?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 15:41
  • 1
    Given only 20 views and only 1 up-vote, this feels really light on any community support for the idea. Ideally we'd have an answer posted with several up-votes saying "yes, please do this" and without a dissenting answer. Right now this unfortunately feels ignored.
    – BMitch Mod
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 16:20
  • Sigh. You're right, @BMitch. However, given an average of 94 and a median of only 41 views across the 47 questions I see on the Top Questions page, and 2 significant outliers (422 & 887 views). It's not bad! :) Removing the outliers drops the average view rate to only 69. Meta doesn't seem to be well attended in general - I know I've spent more time here in the last 60 days or so than, well, probably ever.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 16:38
  • 2
    Meta is always lower traffic than the main site. Remember if it doesn't work out, just revert.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 18:29
  • 4
    FWIW the "not in scope" is the generic, catch-all reason used when there is no one close reason with a majority of votes. It is not intended particularly to be a specific reason that can be chosen, because it is not, well, particularly useful in terms of educating users.
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 14:35
  • That's very true, @TylerH, but we don't have that generic "not in scope" option to select. However, we do sometimes get the "not suitable for this site" flag that shows up in the blue box. I'm not even sure where that comes from since "not suitable for this site" is NOT a flag option, and the text is far too consistent for it to be people typing in a comment in the "other" box on the flag screen.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 14:39
  • 3
    @FreeMan Sorry, I may not have been clear. Both of those occur when the system is presented with no majority reason for closure... even if only prescribed reasons where chosen. If two users pick reason X, two users pick reason Y, and one user picks reason Z, the system doesn't have a majority reason, and so it defaults to this generic one (the "not suitable for this site: it's not in scope per the help center"). In the past, it used to list each reason chosen and show who picked each reason. The Close Vote redesign a year or so ago was a big regression in that regard, IMHO.
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 15:06
  • @FreeMan However, to your point, I see there appears to be one vote (and it's a flag, rather than an actual vote, too) that put the question in the queue, and it's giving that reasoning... I'm not at all sure how the system decided to show that reasoning. We'd have to ask Lisa Park or another staff member involved with that redesign to explain why (or maybe just a CM would know).
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 15:08
  • When I see these come up and I VtC, I don't see any VtC reason actually selected. I end up copying the text & pasting it into the "Other" reason, as noted in the original question. Maybe I need to take a moment to look at the question history before I do that.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 18:46
  • That close reason obviously needs more detail or clarity. +1 @BMitch - only saw this because I was in chat. Pin to main site?
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 22:31
  • It's up to 104 views and 5 up votes, plus a supportive "answer" with 5 up votes. Does that get us anywhere @BMitch? he asks hopefully...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:49
  • @FreeMan Unfortunately Machavity's answer isn't as supportive as you're hoping because we only have access to change the 3 community specific close reasons. We can't modify the first page. So I feel like we have a tie between two competing options. :/
    – BMitch Mod
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 13:21
  • Criggie's answer is in support!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 13:25
  • 1
    Votes on the question and the downvotes on the answers don't count. Someone can ask a perfectly good vote worthy question where the answer is "no".
    – BMitch Mod
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 13:38
  • @FreeMan The catch on the "help center" closure reason is it's also a stock reason. It only appears if you don't have any community-based reasons. It simply links to this help center page. We could possibly roll our own, but the default maximum is 3 custom. So we'd need a CM to adjust the number of reasons we have.
    – Machavity
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 13:30

4 Answers 4


I disagree, but for a different reason.

"Needs Clarity" is the old "Unclear" reason. It's a stock closure across all sites. Our "Not enough information" one is indeed too similar as-is. I think, however, it merely needs a verbiage update.

Images or other details needed. This question needs more details to offer an answer. A picture or diagram of the subject may suffice, as it can add details that might not otherwise seem important.

I would say maybe 60-75% of all the questions that get closed could benefit greatly from an image. A closure reason that explicitly spells that out would be helpful.

  • TBH, the verbiage from the "Not enough information" reason in the last image should be moved to the "Needs details or clarity" in the penultimate image, then the "Not enough info" could be changed to the "not within scope" message I suggested. A combination of my suggestion & yours...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:51
  • Unfortunately we can't change the close reasons on the first page, only the 3 community specific reasons on the second page and the text when multiple close reasons are encountered.
    – BMitch Mod
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 13:24
  • I have been making the extra click to select this reason. I'd hope others will follow suit. I think it does help a newbie understand what kind of info would be needed to reopen the question.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 12:37

This seems like a good idea. I support your suggestion.

  • (answering because its not a comment)
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 23:30

Questions that are "not in scope" should be closed with the "other" reason, by design, because that allows (and in fact, requires!) the user to specify why they think it's not in scope in a comment that is then added to the post - allowing OP to see why they think it's not in scope.

This is important, because otherwise you have the problem of questions closed as "not in scope" but with no explanation of why - which is extremely frustrating for users, particularly new users, who might not understand why their particular question isn't in scope.

On "obvious" questions - where it's something you just want to get closed quickly because, maybe, someone's asking a sports question or something totally spammy - you can just add the text "it's not a question about Home Improvement" yourself to the "other" answer (and many people who are mods or otherwise frequently do this have this set up to work automatically, I believe).

  • 2
    None of the major sites I post on has a close reason that matches what you describe, and I think that's how it should be. FWIW, I think machavity's answer makes a lot of sense - needing pictures is a very good reason to close most questions here!
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 21:00

No. I don't want to change the close reasons this way.

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