When voting to close, it's possible to select a custom close reason. The default text is:

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about

I've seen a number of comments auto-added to questions when this option has been selected, but the voter hasn't changed or appended anything to the default text.

Here's the latest one I've found. Surely it can't be too hard for SE to not accept the default custom close reason?

  • 3
    Doing sensible things is apparently incredible hard for Stack Exchange. They are all about making the site more useless. This custom close reason is a prime example: I want to close-vote crap as fast as possible and having to write something prevents me from doing this.
    – Sven
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 15:23
  • 2
    Please go upvote stackapps.com/a/4235/1150 then the pro-forma comments author may help out.
    – user9517
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 15:59
  • I've already reported this on mSO some time ago. Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 18:34
  • @svw - I don't have a problem with it slowing people down. Forces you to think about what you're doing rather than slinging indescriminantly, and gives the OP a much greater chance of identifying the problem and fixing it next time. Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 23:49

3 Answers 3


Validation for this case added in build 2013.7.19.1249 (meta), 2013.7.19.874 (sites)

  • ...so I suppose you'll be wanting beer or something as a reward, huh? :P
    – voretaq7
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 18:32
  • 2
    See also meta.stackexchange.com/q/185942/189912 Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 18:35
  • 1
    @voretaq7 I'm thinking if I should start accepting bitcoin donations ;)
    – m0sa
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 18:37

Erm, it's not empty and they 'grey out' the button if you remove all the text.

enter image description here

I guess it's an attempt to get people to leave a constructive comment but as ever 'pink and fuffyness' prevails and you're not forced to do so.

To be honest I frequently find it difficult not to

s/about/a steaming pile of shit./

but whilst it would go down well with the regulars just imagine the whingeing it would cause here on meta so I go with,

s/ about/./
  • If someone who has GM skills could some up with a way to populate and select pro-forma close reasons I could run with that...
    – user9517
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 15:51
  • So it is, my bad. Point still stands though.
    – user11604
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 15:57
  • I found that using something like TextExpander (whatever is available on your desktop platform) is much easier for this task. I've a row of sfxxx macros that get autoexpanded into text.
    – Sven
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 15:57
  • Updated question to correct my mistake.
    – user11604
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 16:22

In reality the system should check if the comment is just the lead-in text and reject it (HEY DEVELOPERS!!! -- at least a front-end JS check?).
The fact that it doesn't is certainly a in my mind.

Unfortunately as regards the overall implementation, there are three equally bad choices:

  1. Pre-populate some generic lead-in text
    This encourages you to be polite with your comment (and encourages a comment).
  2. Don't pre-populate the box at all - Insist people compose a reason for themselves.
    This is the same as forcing comments on downvotes.
    Also - Seriously? You want to let SERVER FAULT USERS compose close reasons?
    • Your question is a festering pile of elephant dung!
    • RTFM N00B!
    • What kind of IDIOT would attempt this?!
    • etc.
  3. Don't allow custom close comments at all.
    (Probably the easiest solution but then we have questions closed with no real explanations.)
  • 3
    I would like to have a simple "is off-topic" close reason which auto generates a link to the topic list of the help center, somewhat like the "duplicate" works.
    – Sven
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 15:51
  • 2
    Gee, wasn't there a time when we had a simple off-topic close reason? I guess some meddling moron took it away... Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 17:42

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