Coming soon to a site very near us: Closing changes: on hold, unclear, too broad, opinion-based, off-topic reasons, bye-bye to Too Localized

I'm hopeful that this will help us with some of the challenges we've had on site about when/how/why to close and how to ensure that, if we do close, the OP knows exactly what they need to do and why. It won't be perfect but I think it's an improvement.

See Are we happy with our 'off-topic' subject areas? for a discussion of the up-coming changes to the off-topic closing reason specifically for this site.

1 Answer 1


This change:

"Not a real question" and "not constructive" are being replaced by the following: (new)

unclear what you’re asking — Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking.

too broad — There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.

primarily opinion-based — Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

In each case, the language is much more specific about what needs to be changed to be acceptable here

could be the key to building some real consensus around what are "good" questions (in SE speak) and "desirable" questions (in genealogy terms). This is an excellent change.

  • 1
    I agree -- it should help us (if necessary) to nudge "less-than-perfect" questions (according to the SE model) into "desirable genealogy questions" (as you put it) rather than smack the OP in the face with 'that's not a real question!' or 'you're not being constructive!', neither of which are in the least helpful. I'm not convinced we want to restrict ourselves to questions that can be answered in "a few paragraphs" though. A book would be too much, but we have interesting questions that need long answers to be useful.
    – user104
    Jun 19, 2013 at 10:52

You must log in to answer this question.