SO removed this close reason:
As of now, the "minimal understanding" off-topic reason is gone. Instead, the top-level "Unclear what you're asking" reason links to a new, Stack Overflow-specific Help Center page that focuses on guiding readers toward including the sorts of information that make for a good Stack Overflow question. This page is moderator-editable, and in addition I've started a discussion to solicit suggestions for improvement.
I agree with its removal and wouldn't want to see it added here.
The original version of this reason on SO was to basically tell the asker, "Even if I gave an answer, you wouldn't understand how to implement it". The example I gave in the discussion there was a question like this:
Putting on Toesy Socks
I am trying to put on my socks to keep my feet warm, but it isn't working. I can get them on my feet, but they don't stay well, and they
don't fit properly despite being large enough to fit my feet. I know
they are properly sized, and I definitely don't have them inside out.
How can I fit this sock Insert Image of Glove on to my feet? I am new
to Toesy Socks.
This question would definitely be eligible for a great big:
Questions asking for code must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Include attempted solutions, why they
didn't work, and the expected results. See also: Stack Overflow
But here I am, no closer to getting the glove on my foot, and
wondering where the heck I went wrong. I definitely explained my
problem, my attempted solution, what my expected results are, and even
included a fancy picture of my sock! Why is this question getting
closed? SO users are mean! Why is everyone a fascist?!
I think the fundamental issue is that this is being used to say, "You
are clueless beyond anyone's ability to help you", and there is no
way to explain that nicely, especially to people who can't distinguish
between a glove and a sock despite being a sentient being.
How does this help us get better content?
Let's say I am a new user who asked the question you refer to. I think it seems like a reasonable question, but now suddenly it's been closed with that message:
Questions looking for strategies to tackle a specific situation need to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the situation and detail attempts to solve the issue including how they didn't work.
So I edit my question to add the following information:
"I have sent e-mails to the senior management asking for their RSVP and attendance, as well as a proposed seating arrangement that would have them mingle more, but I did not get a response"
Does this make it a good question now?
There are two goals to closing questions:
- Closing content that will never fit (polls, 'what should I do?', legal questions, questions not related to the workplace, etc.)
- Explaining how the question can be improved and giving the asker a chance to improve the question for content that could fit
From where I stand, this reason would accomplish neither.
What's wrong with the existing reasons?
You may say that just adding the example of what has been tried and why it doesn't work doesn't meet the first half of your reason:
Questions ... need to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the situation
But what does this really mean? If this person explained that they have been in charge of social event planning for several companies for over a decade, they likely have a detailed understanding of the situation. But that doesn't make the question good.
What we really want to say is that the question is unclear what you're asking -- if there are details missing, then we should ask for those details, not close with a reason that will only serve to confuse. For instance, this is a great comment by thursdaysgeek:
How are you related? Are you putting on the parties, another member of managment, just an attender? In other words, what is your responsibility for solving this?
The goal should be to guide the person asking to an edit that can make it a good question. The close reason doesn't do that. Alternatively we need to be very clear about why the question will never be a good fit. Neither of the messages that we are delivering with this close reason provide that because they are just asking for effort -- no amount of effort will save a question unless that effort is properly directed.
Asking for Strategies
Many questions that ask for strategies either:
- Are unclear (they don't explain what they want to do, what their role is, and what limitations they are under making this hard to solve)
- Are primarily opinion-based (they are an open-ended request for suggestions rather than looking for a summary of how to deal with the situation to allow people to think up their own ways to solve it)
- Are too broad (effectively asking how to get people to trust you, or give you more responsibility, etc.)
Our job is to figure out which of these categories the question falls in to. If it doesn't, we need to think hard about what is rubbing us the wrong way about the question, and why we think it should be closed, rather than giving a one-size-fits-all close reason that allows us to close it without a thought.