If a question describes a problem that the OP once had, but which then goes away, and the OP has no idea how and didn't do anything to precipitate a solution, should the question be closed?

It seems to me that such question should at least be closed when there are no answers (as for this question), or no answers good enough that the OP is (or should be) willing to accept.

Is this kind of situation what's being referred to by the phrase "a specific moment in time" in the description of the "too localized" close reason?

too localized

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ. [italics mine]

2 Answers 2


Yes. If a question is not ever going to be useful to anyone else, there's no point it continuing to exist.

  • Are you saying they should be closed, then, or that they should be deleted? Jun 5, 2012 at 0:47
  • 1
    Probably deleted. But closing a question is the first step towards it being deleted.
    – 8128
    Jun 5, 2012 at 6:50
  • I think that problems that mysteriously happen and then stop are very useful to have documented publicly, as this can help the process of reporting and fixing bugs enormously, if someone has a similar situation or notices a pattern. For this reason, it seems to me that such questions should not be deleted. I do agree that these questions should be closed, though, since they cannot meaningfully be answered. Jun 5, 2012 at 7:41
  • @EliahKagan what you just explained is why intermittent problems that may be bugs should be filed as bugs. According to the FAQ, bug reports are offtopic on Ask Ubuntu, and should be filed as bugs on Launchpad.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jun 5, 2012 at 18:24
  • @LordofTime If no one has a similar situation, or nobody notices a pattern, often no one would have reason to think the behavior is due to a bug. Questions like these would become useful to investigating and fixing bugs well after they're closed. Jun 5, 2012 at 18:46
  • 1
    Indeed. I dont have a problem with them being closed, but alongside this we may want to recommend filing a bug though. Also, post your thoughts here as an answer :)
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jun 5, 2012 at 19:06

As fluteflute has said, it seems to me that questions about problems that mysteriously appear and then disappear and don't come back should be closed. These questions cannot be answered, and even if someone else had the problem, they would typically not know it was the same problem (and should post a separate question anyway).

However, I do not think these questions should be deleted (not unless there is some other reason to delete them, anyway). Problems that mysteriously happen and then stop are very useful to have documented publicly, as this can help the process of reporting and fixing bugs enormously, if someone has a similar situation or notices a pattern.

If a user asks a question about something that appears to be a bug when the question is asked, we tell them to file a bug report. But a problem that mysteriously appears and then goes away for good is not always due to a bug, so there's often no bug report. Furthermore, even if the OP did report the bug, the bug report would likely be closed if neither they nor anybody else can reproduce the bug or provide any detailed technical information about it. Later on, the problem might occur for many more users, or become more prominent and reproducible for some. At that point, having the closed question still present on AskUbuntu would provide an important resource to those people, and to the bug reporting process.

I'm not saying that sufficiently mysterious or difficult-to-reproduce bugs should ever be posted about on AskUbuntu instead of filed as bug reports. Anything someone thinks is a bug when they experience it should be filed as a bug report, and not posted here as a question (though questions about whether or not something is a bug, or how to report something as a bug, are on-topic for AskUbuntu).

This answer is adapted from a discussion in comments. Thanks to Lord of Time for pointing out that I should post my thoughts on this matter as a separate answer.

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