There used to be a "too localized" close reason. What should we do with question which are really unlikely to be of use to any one except the OP?

E.g. consider the following question:


I am hesitant to close it as not research level because it is about understanding a paper. On the other hand the issue was the OP missing a simple point while reading the paper.

I also don't see how to edit the question to make it a question useful for others.

What should we do in this and similar cases?


1 Answer 1


Some sites have a custom close reason to handle this kind of cases. For example, on Unix & Linux:

Questions describing a problem that can't be reproduced and seemingly went away on its own (or went away when a typo was fixed) are off-topic as they are unlikely to help future readers.

I doubt that CSTheory gets enough questions of this type to warrant a custom close reason. If a question is about understanding a point in a research paper, then

  • either the point is a subtle one that others may miss as well (or the paper omitted a step of the proof), in which case the question is potentially useful to anyone reading the paper and should be answered and remain open;
  • or the point is a basic one that the asker happened to miss but where other readers aren't likely to stumble, in which case closing as off-topic with a custom comment plus a comment to explain is fine.

Basically, I agree with what you did, except for one thing: don't use the words “too localized”, which is historical Stack Exchange jargon that most people won't understand. Write something like

This question concerns a basic point and is unlikely to be useful to future visitors, therefore I am voting to close it.


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