Based on the meta question on the interpretation the criteria to qualify a question as "company specific" brought up here, I noticed that there is confusion on what is the reason for closing a question - company-specific policies or legal advice.

My perception is mainly because the meta question uses this question as an example of an unclear interpretation of "company specific" but the reason it attracted so many VTC - also explained in the comments to the question - is that the question is seeking legal advice.

The question very clearly doesn't relate to company-specific policies and regulations that would require somebody working for the same company to have enough context to give an useful answer.

I brought up the potential solution of separating the two reasons to close as separate items, a recommendation was made to ask a separate question, so here I am.


Is it possible to have separate items in Reasons To Close for Legal Advice and Company-Specific?

  • Clearly it is possible to have a long list of Reasons. But I'm not sure there's much practical value here. Why does it matter if a question is closed due to "Legal" or "Company Specific" versus the same question closed due to "Company Specific or Legal"? Who benefits? What benefit do they gain? I upvoted the question, but I think it could be stronger if the benefits were addressed. Oct 16, 2019 at 15:38
  • 2
    @JoeStrazzere essentially to avoid the type of confusion that's happening on the other meta question - the criteria for "Company-Specific" being questioned due to a question that was actually closed for being "Legal Advice". If the "experienced users" are confused about that, who knows what might be happening to the people who are new to TWP. It also helps the askers to understand their next steps - look for a lawyer or seek advice inside their own company, which IMHO, are two very different things. Oct 16, 2019 at 15:42
  • @JulianaKarasawaSouza If the main issue is confusion, then maybe the solution is just a rewording of the close reason. I agree with Joe that the two reasons are similar enough to keep together.
    – David K
    Oct 16, 2019 at 16:12
  • @JulianaKarasawaSouza - while we often have disagreements regarding the wisdom of voting to close many questions, I'm not sure I see a lot of confusion regarding the reason for voting that would be solved by adding more individual reasons. Oct 16, 2019 at 16:17
  • 3
    Please see this thread on why these two reasons were combined.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Oct 17, 2019 at 8:50
  • @Lilienthal per my reading reason mentioned here is there were only 3 slots allowed for custom close reasons. If this is so, said limitation no longer holds. For example, Stack Overflow uses 5 slots, Software Engineering uses 4
    – gnat
    Oct 17, 2019 at 11:57
  • 2
    @gnat True, but those require site-specific feature requests which we are unlikely to be entertained. More here at "Pick the top three reasons". I've just checked and Workplace is indeed at 3/3 active Close Reasons.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Oct 17, 2019 at 15:37
  • @JoeStrazzere the question linked to in the OP helps to show the confusion - the question was closed for the reason of being a question about law, but ensuing discussions seem to assume it was closed for being "company specific"
    – HorusKol
    Oct 17, 2019 at 20:42
  • 1
    @Lilienthal I posted an answer to address that
    – gnat
    Oct 18, 2019 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


Back then when these close reasons were merged to meet particular system limitation, they seemed like a sensible mix to me and I expected to get used to it. Time has shown though that I was mistaken.

Even after casting probably hundreds votes for that reason I sometimes catch myself confused, "Hey, why did I pick that reason, there's nothing company specific in the question... oh wait! it's legal, buried deep in the text, how could I forget." Given my difficulties I guess it is even more confusing for less experienced users.

Speaking of inexperienced users, let's take a look at HNQ stats here. Our site is indisputable top #1, with amount of clicks about the same as that of next top two combined.

This means, company is sending tens thousands inexperienced visitors to us (and they profit from showing these tens thousands visitors ads placed at our site). I think they could do us a little favor in return and implement splitting the reasons. This will help educate new visitors (sent to us via HNQ) when some of them happen to land on an inappropriate closed question.

I would like to stress that as pointed in comments, this is a fairly routine change from technical point of view. System limitation that forced us to merge close reasons in the past has long gone, some other sites already passed over it and per my observations they did not experience technical difficulties doing so.

Summing up, I think it makes good sense to prepare and request company staff to aid us in a proposed split.

  • 1
    May want to make a new thread specifically to build support on Workplace meta for requesting a 4th custom close reason, then take it to main meta.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Oct 20, 2019 at 13:14
  • @Lilienthal I doubt that this is needed, this very thread would probably suffice (if there's enough community support for the split). The reason why I think is is neither Stack Overflow nor Software Engineering didn't use separate threads to request for increase (not to mention bringing it to MSE). Per my recollection they simply requested to add close reasons at per site metas. As I wrote this made me feel that technically this became a fairly routine change
    – gnat
    Oct 20, 2019 at 13:21
  • 1
    Fair point, I guess we're close to a quorum here already.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Oct 20, 2019 at 19:06
  • @Lilienthal I think we can better learn about what community thinks if we make this post featured
    – gnat
    Oct 21, 2019 at 11:03

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