We routinely get questions asking for help in writing letters, applications or resumes from scratch and without a specific answerable question. While there is a custom off-topic reason related to reviewing resumes, this is not reflected in the available options in the close menu. I'm assuming that this comment explaining that SE only allows 3 custom close-reasons still holds true.

Given that, what reason should I give for voting to close such a question? Is adding a custom reason, as I did on the question that prompted this meta post, the best practice?

To clarify, I'm only talking about questions such as "I need to write a letter to apply for a position". These will only be useful to the OP and presumably constitute a variation of an advice question. Questions about a specific problem encountered during writing ("How do I best list jobs like X?", "Can I leave position X off my application?", "Should I include an Objectives section on my resume") are perfectly on-topic.

3 Answers 3


Would the wording here fix that?

I think that suggested wording is great and would address what you are asking for:

It is not practical for us to answer a question that depends so heavily on your own abilities, preferences or circumstances. Consider instead asking a factual question that will help you make your own choices, and that can be answered without detailed knowledge of your personal situation.

If questions are the "close me" type they definitely will fall under the scope of this.

  • 2
    That seems like a more comprehensive close reason and would fit these questions well. That suggestion really needs more love as it's more concise and clear than the currently highest voted one.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Sep 16, 2015 at 15:25

I'm not so sure such questions are off-topic. Some are ("please proofread my resignation letter") and some aren't ("what salutation do I use in a cover letter when the sex of the recipient is ambiguous").

Regardless, as you noted, we get three custom close reasons, so if we use one for this we need to bump another. (What you linked to was a proposed custom reason, not one that actually made it into use.) Such discussions are best informed by data -- how many questions have we closed, or would we close, for this reason? If you can add that analysis to your question it'll be a stronger proposal.

If none of the available off-topic reasons are appropriate, the best thing to do is to choose "other" and write your own reason.

  • I'm not suggesting that we need to replace one of the custom reasons because the volume of questions that would be strictly off-topic for this specific reason doesn't seem to come close to the number closed for the three current reasons. Perhaps I should have generalised the question to "What reason do I give if none of the suggested ones work?" so I guess I was basically asking if the Custom Close reason can be used liberally or should be avoided.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Sep 16, 2015 at 7:57
  • 1
    @Lilienthal oh, ok. Yes, if you're voting to close and none of the provided reasons apply, use a custom reason (which leaves a comment with that text as well). Thanks for helping to moderate the site! Sep 16, 2015 at 14:14

Why would these be off topic? They are part of navigating the work place.

Best practice is to explain how to do it, perhaps with generic examples, so that it is applicable to more than the specific user and their specific need.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .