Ask Ubuntu mod here. We've exhausted our custom close reason slots and we need a few more.

We are a very broad site. We cater to development, application support, installation support, hardware support and various integrations with other software. Being so majestically helpful also means we have to limit our scopes in some areas so that we keep things relevant to Ubuntu. We also adhere to Ubuntu's support cycle which makes new questions about very old releases off-topic. And bug reports and questions about the in-development version of Ubuntu need to be handled on the bug tracker, not SE site for the good of the user and the project.

You might not agree with it but we've grown into this process with support from the community. The most recent changes to the closure system should have made things much more obvious but now that we don't have enough custom slots, some things are specific while others are extremely vague.

Can somebody please boost us up to five or six close reasons?

  • 19
    I thought there wasn't a set count. I don't see why there should be.
    – Jan Dvorak
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 16:55
  • @jan Too avoid overuse and a clutter of reasons
    – American Luke
    Commented Jul 6, 2013 at 19:16
  • 1
    No cherry on top, no deal.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jul 6, 2013 at 23:43
  • 1
    @Jan - there could be a hard limit on number of reasons if the database record only has so many fields. That's why there could be. Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 20:59

3 Answers 3


We can enable more close reasons, but we are trying to hold off on doing that unless there's a demonstrated need because long lists have historically proven to be, at best, confusing.

At the same time, we certainly recognize that some sites have different needs. For example, Stack Overflow already has 5 off-topic reasons instead of 3.

What other close reasons would you enable if you had more than three slots available? Are they applicable frequently enough that just leaving a custom comment when closing just isn't practical?

Update: I activated one more close reason slot and filled it with "this problem cannot be reproduced" close reason.

I may be misunderstanding its purpose, I would advise against reactivating the "this question has been abandoned" close reason. We regularly clean out really abandoned questions anyway, and you can't always predict when a question might pick up a response. Closing questions just because the asker might not be around is an unusual practice, or at least something that hopefully is not so frequently necessary that you'd need to spend a close reason slot on it.

  • hi, we have been discusing this on the AU meta, meta.askubuntu.com/questions/6918/… , we are missing two of our often used from the "not the right place for" list on the help site askubuntu.com/help/on-topic, one major one being End of life releases, the other issues with the in development relase.
    – Mateo
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 0:57
  • also note that both these reasons have helpful links, and wording that is often truncated in a custom close or comment, for example the use of "eol" here is confusing askubuntu.com/questions/316125/… , multiple comments - varried wording - also users looking to flag off-topic for reasons not avaible to flagging meta.askubuntu.com/questions/6988/…
    – Mateo
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 1:18
  • Hey Anna, thanks for stopping by. Ideally, we would like at least two more reasons to cover - End of Release Ubuntu version questions and yet to be released Alpha/Beta release version questions. A 6th slot can be utilized to accommodate non-Linux questions as well.
    – jokerdino Mod
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 4:49
  • 3
    I think we could probably combine non-linux and non-Ubuntu into one reason but yeah, There are Ubuntu+1 issues and bug reports where we need to push people to Launchpad and EOL issues where we need the user to be on a minimum version of Ubuntu to be covered. These are things that happen all the time and we need a standard what-to-do next piece of text to push the user in the right direction (the point of the custom close messages).
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 16:53
  • Thank you for stopping by. We appreciate it. Not directly useful for the situation at hand, but I think sometimes we just need to say thank you. Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 18:19
  • I have also seen a strange behavior, that some are closing as an available reason(even when the reason does not fit) - instead of using a custom one, like in this question askubuntu.com/questions/313021/… the default ones show as the close reason, and makes it incredibly confusing.
    – Mateo
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 16:16
  • 2
    What was the outcome of this conversation, Anna? We are in the process of rewriting a couple of existing reasons but we still absolutely require one more reason for end-of-life questions.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 15:17
  • @Oli Sorry about the delay. Please see my edit.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 21:14
  • @AdamLear (Per your second paragraph in the update) I think you misunderstand what we mean by "EOL" (end-of-life). A new version of Ubuntu is released every 6 months. Because of how fast new things come out and old things become outdated we, as a site, decided that when Canonical (the main supporter of Ubuntu and copyright holder) stopped providing support for a version we would as well. Asking the OP to upgrade and closing the question. That is what the EOL close reason is/does.
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 2:02

I upvoted your question because it is indeed a good one. So I'll try to give a good answer in return.

I'm not a mod but to my experience and by making use of data maintainer common sense (if there's such a thing) I'd say it is a measure of data maintenance control, a small number of custom reason slots should be ok, only if there is someone checking to spot a custom reason that seems rather frequent, then merging the similar reasons into one single criteria and make it a regular slot. In that way you maintain a healthy database and at the same time free up one of the custom slots to be reused. The data grows in a comprehensive way and the users are encouraged to use their slots in a non conflicting way (to the data).

I hope this answer was helpful. :-)

  • In light of Anna Lears answer then this suggestion would only really be needed if the community moderation team found that requests for additional close reasons became an excessive burden.

  • Note to the downvoters: Please bear in mind that this was an answer to the question when it was on meta stack overflow and was intended as a suggested solution for the problem Stack Exchange network wide. It was in no way intended as a slight on the Ubuntu moderators.

If more than three off-topic close reasons are ever allowed then one idea to keep this in check would be to allow unlimited off-topic close reasons, but require every close reason after three to bump up the number of moderator approvals to get reasons approved.

Thus the first three reasons would have to be proposed by one moderator and approved by a second. The fourth reason would require two other moderators to approve it and require the other three reasons to be approved by a third moderator before it would go live. The fifth reason would require three moderators to approve and all four other reasons to be re-approved, and so on.

This system would make it increasingly difficult to add an arbitrarily long list of off-topic close reasons. It would require every new reason to be considered in light of the existing close reasons, and it would require greater community involvement and support to convince enough moderators to approve new close reasons.

It would also mean that sites which only have 3 moderators would require community moderator support to add a fifth close reason.

  • 1
    Why? You don't trust the moderators? They're supposed to talk this stuff over anyway..
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 7, 2013 at 20:06
  • @Seth - It's not a matter of trust, it's a matter making sure that everyone thinks all of the reasons are important enough to go beyond the norm and ensuring buy-in. On robotics we ended up combining two very similar close reasons into a single multi-part close reason and discarding the suggested shopping question close reason because it is now effectively covered by the standard primarily opinion-based close reason. This is something which needs to be hashed out on a sites meta, which I see you are already doing.
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Jul 8, 2013 at 10:27

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