"Unclear what you're asking" seems to be the most-abused close reason on Workplace.

Every day I see things like this...

I was assigned to a fake project after being hired. Is this bad news for my career?

The question attracted four answers, including one that 30+ people found helpful, yet somehow a few people decided afterwards that it was unclear.

How do I greet someone when bowing is the default greeting but I'm unable to bow?

Though it's open now, this question was closed earlier as "unclear what you're asking" apparently because it failed to include the term "workplace" or "business". Does every question here have to say workplace for people on a Workplace board to believe the question is about the workplace?

This close reason is not constructive. It seems to be a catch-all for people who want to close a question and can't think of any other reason, and who in many cases can't be bothered to read the question carefully anyway.

I propose that either (a) it should be removed entirely, or (b) people should be required to give some informational text about why they think the question in its current form is unclear (which would then help the questioner improve it).

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    Yeah, we have a big "close vote" problem here in general. Some questions, granted, are closed for valid reasons - but many are not, and without explanation. It's incredibly off-putting. Closing should really only ever be an option when the question is beyond saving, or very clearly off topic - but most questions closed around here fit neither of those categories. – berry120 Oct 10 '18 at 13:59
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    I downvoted because I strongly disagree with the options you propose, but I agree that we should perhaps look at how we're using this close reason. A question closed as unclear with no clarifying comments at all is... not ideal. – Lilienthal Oct 10 '18 at 14:17
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    Getting rid of the close queue would be a fundamental change in the SE model, so seems unlikely at best. – Jon Custer Oct 10 '18 at 14:19
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    "Closing should really only ever be an option when the question is beyond saving," - I agree. Unfortunately we have a few members who are very aggressive at closing questions as quickly as possible. I vote to reopen those that I think should be open, and I edit and vote to reopen those that need a bit of help before being reopened. If enough people vote to reopen, fewer questions will be closed. – Joe Strazzere Oct 10 '18 at 15:30
  • @JoeStrazzere they probably also hang out on StackOverflow a lot. SO likes to close questions. – YetAnotherRandomUser Oct 11 '18 at 1:28

I don't disagree that things get closed more often than they should, but this close reason should not be a catch all. A question being unclear is a valid reason to close a question and thus should remain as a close reason. If you truly believe this is being used as a catch all, removing it will not help. People will just choose a different catch all.

The first question you linked I would agree with the closers that it is unclear what OP if asking. Just because there were answers on the question does not mean the question was clearly understood to the majority of people. It doesn't even mean it was a good question, it just means someone thought they could answer it. The post comes off as more of a rant than a question leaving people to wonder what they actual question is.

The second question was reopened, so clearly the community agreed that this question was not unclear.

  • I would say that a good answer, like the one on the first question, can itself improve the question by drawing out the issues with clarity. Do you disagree? – user1602 Oct 10 '18 at 14:24
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    yes I do. The answer should never clarify the question. If the answer is needed to clarify the question, then I think that alone proves the question was unclear. What should be done at that point is an edit to question to make it clear. – SaggingRufus Oct 10 '18 at 14:27

The reason for a close vote is a minor problem. Your two examples illustrate it pretty well.

The first deserved to be closed, the second didn't (in my opinion). But if people are going to close without explanation, they will, makes no difference which canned reason they tick.


People get to use their close votes as they chose.

On the first I would have closed it on problem we can address, opinion based, or unclear. Not sure how a reason is selected but it does not mean all VTC had that reason.

OP states it was a fake project but then asks if it is legit. No way we can know that.

It is just a bad question in my opinion.

As for requiring a comment that is decided on the Stack Exchange level.

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