I've been wondering about this for awhile now and it dawned on me that I should run it up the flagpole here and see how it flies.

For example How to launch this simple program on Ubuntu 16.04 was recently rightly closed as unclear. The OP has since added some detail that made it clear that they were attempting to run a Windows executable from the CLI in Linux. It's my belief that even if the question was re-opened due to the slightly better clarity it would still end up closed again either as primarily opinion based or possibly as a duplicate of an existing question outlining perhaps how to install wine or virtualbox.

There's been some related discussion regarding changing close reasons on this MEta post and clearly some feel that sometimes this is important, not only for the benefit of future users but also for the benefit of the OP to understand the process. I can see both sides of this issue and would like to determine what the consensus opinion might be.


1 Answer 1


If anything, the only target close reason that is worth a change IMHO is duplicate. This is because it adds value to the question in form of a link to another post, containing a solution. Therefore the closed question can now serve as signpost directing to somewhere useful.

All other close reasons are equal in that they don't really help future visitors in deciding what to do next. I don't get any helpful information by knowing that a question got closed because people thought it was unclear, not about Ubuntu, specific to a release that was EOL when the question was asked or whatever else. It is nice to know why it got closed as a hint for whether to ask similar questions in the future or not, but it does not change the content.

Soo... if a question got closed as anything other than duplicate and you are sure that there also exists a duplicate post that would solve the problem, I would at least leave a comment with a link. If you really think it is worth the effort (looking at the post score and view count may help in deciding that), you can also raise a custom mod flag and ask for the reason to be changed. Alternatively, ping a mod in chat or gather 4 other regular users together who have close-voting privileges and reopen/close it quickly as a group. Simply voting to reopen and waiting for it to go through the review queues will likely fail if the question is not really worth staying open.

If the question is closed as duplicate already or if you think any non-duplicate close reason would fit best, just leave it as it is. Maybe leave a comment if it bothers you that much, but a change is not worth the effort IMHO.

  • 2
    I kind of partly disagree actually (agree about the dupes but)... if a post isn't going to be deleted (which closed questions often are, automatically) it does make a small difference to visitors to see why it was closed and it would be nice if this were accurate, though I agree it's usually too much effort to get reviewers to do this (because those who vote to reopen cannot then VTC), and if it's important enough I agree with muru's suggestion that custom-flagging is probably justified. But...
    – Zanna Mod
    Aug 27, 2017 at 18:12
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    More importantly, the close reason makes a big difference to the OP. If they get the message that their post is off-topic when it's really not off-topic, but just lacks sufficient information, then we've sent them away instead of helping them to improve their post (credit to The Wanderer for pointing this out to me BTW)
    – Zanna Mod
    Aug 27, 2017 at 18:14
  • "the only target close reason that is worth a change IMHO is duplicate" and most of the time not even that, since a question that is unclear, off topic or opinion based, its duplicated is almost certainly unclear, off topic or opinion based too.
    – Braiam
    Aug 30, 2017 at 21:09

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