I noticed today that the pop-up screens for voting to close a question have acquired a new layer. Clicking "close" used to produce a pop-up with checkboxes indicating various reasons for closing. Now it produces a pop-up with only some of those reasons plus a new "community-specific" option. Clicking that option produces another pop-up with the rest of the reasons. Apart from decreasing efficiency and perhaps dissuading me from voting to close, what's the purpose of this change?

Here is a screenshot showing the current look:


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    $\begingroup$ For benefit of other people reading this, here is a screenshot. If I compare it with an screenshot from an older post here on meta, it seems that "community-specific reason" was called "off-topic" before. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak So only the terminology has changed? In that case I should probably delete the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ I think it is perfectly ok to leave the question. I did not know about this change - I do not know what were the reasons for it. Other people might be interested to know about this, too. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ I couldn't find a discussion of this new close dialogue with a casual search on the meta.SE site, either: meta.stackexchange.com/search?q=close . $\endgroup$
    – LSpice
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 3:58
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    $\begingroup$ Some related posts: Goodbye “off-topic”, hello “community-specific reasons”? (on Stack Overflow Meta) and Please reinstate the words “off-topic” into the closing dialog (on Meta Stack Exchange). Both of them posted after this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 6:18
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    $\begingroup$ SE loves to sugar-coat their close reasons, recently. It's not unclear, it needs details. It's not too broad, it needs more focus. This just looks like the next step. It's not your question that is off-topic, it's our community that is too picky. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ @FedericoPoloni, are you suggesting the apotheosis will be the single close reason "it's not you, it's us"? $\endgroup$
    – LSpice
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ I think polite ways to articulate criticism tend to depend very much on culture, habits and traditions, and may be not understood in the same way by everybody and everywhere. For close reasons this is likely not much different than e.g. for the famous question "Can I help you?" ... $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Hopefully you can get more information on this from moderators (and community managers). Anyway, here is a brief summary of some recent changes based on these posts: Question Close Updates: Phase 1 and Goodbye “off-topic”, hello “community-specific reasons”? on Meta Stack Overflow. (This answer was made community wiki, so that other users who know more about this can add more information to this answer.) Of course, you can get much more detailed information by reading the linked posts.

  • "Off topic" was renamed to "community specific reason". In the past there was some dissatisfaction with the name "off-topic", since in some cases it was related closer to the quality and the type of the question rather than to the topic of the question. (To use an example from Math Overflow, it often happens that the question is not research level, but the topic of the question - such as number theory, group theory, linear algebra, etc. - belongs on the site. So the question is made unsuitable by its level rather than by its topic.) Some related discussions: A feature requested for the purpose of avoiding unintentional newbie-biting on Mathematics Meta and Can we rename the off-topic close reason label on the primary screen? on Meta Stack Exchange. (I do not recall this issue being discussed on MathOverflow Meta.)
  • Moderators can now edit close reasons listed under the community-specific header. For example, they were recently changed on Mathematics Stack Exchange: New changes to close reasons. Change of a close reasons requires two moderators as mentioned here: New UI for modifying community-specific close reasons (for moderators) – bugs, feature requests, etc.
  • The way closed question are displayed to the OP (list of tips shown to the OP in the modal window and while editing). This is live on Stack Overflow, with plans to roll out later on other sites.
  • Email and Inbox notifications for closed questions are currently being A/B tested on Stack Overflow.
  • $\begingroup$ I have listed here what I was able to gather from the linked posts. This answer was made community wiki feel free to edit it further to add more information or to correct what I wrote. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, Martin; what does "A/B tested" mean? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson The feature is switched on for some users (and the effect of the change is measured in some way). Wikipedia> A/B testing. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 13:19

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