Recently I have noticed, both as a user and a moderator, a good number of questions either being closed as end-of-life or as a development release when they probably don’t need to be.
Just a few examples:
ERROR: 32-bit Linux Android emulator binaries are DEPRECATED when attemping to run the Android emulator The OP is running an End of Life Ubuntu release, but the question itself has nothing to do with that fact, any Ubuntu release could experience this problem, it simply stems from the fact that they are running a 32bit operating system. To this end I added an answer detailing a solution and added a comment explaining why I didn’t close the post.
Why did my highlights turn pink in Xubuntu 14.10? This question is about a development release (at the time of this writing), but it isn’t a problem or feature that will be fixed or changed before the actual release happens, nor is it a bug (although someone did file one). It was also asked within a few weeks of Utopic’s official release, but still got 4 close votes and was almost closed.
After pondering over this a bit I realized one problem that contributes to this issue is the close reasons themselves. In my opinion the wording of both the EoL and Bug/Development release close reasons is overly broad. We understood them at the time they were written, but time hasn’t been too generous to them and they’ve widened out substantially since first introduced.
To this end I suggest we edit both of the aforementioned reasons to be more specific, in line with the actual site policies, something around this:
This question is specific to an end of life Ubuntu release . These are no longer supported and therefore off-topic here. To upgrade, see How to install software or upgrade from and old, unsupported, release
Bug reports and problems specific to development versions of Ubuntu should be reported on Launchpad so that developers can see, track, and fix these issues.
Note the “specific to” part.
Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion about what questions genuinely need these close reasons and which ones could probably just use an edit (or sometimes just being left alone completely).
Why is this even an issue?
For several reasons. Not only is this costing us precious review time (Oli goes over review time math in another post), but in the end I don’t believe it helps the site any. Many of these questions are good and useful posts and by closing them we’re sending them towards the dustbin, which doesn’t further the goals of the site: to help people with their problems while generating a collection of useful content for later generations.
What do you think? If you have even better wording for the reasons I’d especially like to hear it!