There are some fairly major changes coming soon to how posts are closed, you may want to read up on the details:

We will need to come up with our own list of custom off topic reasons for Politics. These reasons will be available to close voters after they have picked the generic "off topic" one. Here's a screenshot of Meta Stack Overflow's close dialog, where the new system is already available:

The "other" option will allow a custom message, when none of the three custom reasons applies:

If you have an "off topic" reason you'd like to nominate, please post it as an answer. Some general guidelines:

  • One reason per answer, so they can be voted separately.
  • Examples to existing closed questions that would fit your custom reason would be immensely helpful.
  • If there's already an answer with a reason similar to what you have in mind, but with a slightly different phrasing, please consider commenting on the existing answer and refining the phrasing instead of posting a new answer.

For reference, our current "off topic" questions are:

  • Can we please get some guidance on what exactly the scope for "offtopic" is. I have observed (on ALL sites I am active on, not just here) a flood of responses to this question which listed things that - while clearly things that should be closed - are more suitable to NC/NARQ than to being "off topic". The difference to me is that a too vague/broad/opinion stuff can be clarified into a good question, while question about something that is off topic will remain off topic no matter how you massage it. – user4012 Jun 25 '13 at 13:38
  • @DVK Off topic mainly refers to questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the site's subject matter. However, nothing is stopping us from declaring a category of questions that have failed repeatedly "off topic" even if they are related to politics (it will take a Meta discussion, and assuming consensus is evident, a mention in our "don't" list in the FAQ). That said, Politics hasn't really had off topic questions. Only 18 of them so far, and there's absolutely no pattern from which a useful canned off topic reason could be extracted. – yannis Mod Jun 25 '13 at 13:42
  • You beat me to it - can we please get a full list of offtopic-closed questions (as a link in a question, or one of the answers)? – user4012 Jun 25 '13 at 13:46
  • @DVK I don't see why not, but since the list isn't publicly available, I'll have to check with SE first. – yannis Mod Jun 25 '13 at 13:51
  • @DVK Added the list to the question. – yannis Mod Jun 25 '13 at 16:29

I propose:

Overly hypothetical

Hypothetical questions aren't necessarily bad, but when they're clearly designed more as interesting discussion topics for a dinner party, then they really aren't a fit for SE.

  • 1
    This is more "overly broad" / "primarily opinion based" territory than off topic. That said, if "overly hypothetical" questions become a serious problem, we can (and probably will) declare them explicitly off topic. – yannis Mod Jun 24 '13 at 3:28
  • @YannisRizos perhaps, but questions like this politics.stackexchange.com/questions/1603/… tend to be entering sci-fi territory. I suppose hypothetical = primarily opinion based. – user1530 Jun 25 '13 at 1:07

No Question / Rhetorical Question

This question seems to be more about pushing an agenda than learning data about a relevant policy, process, or personality. Please consider what a factual response to your question would like to ensure it is answerable. We don't require that you know the answer, but you should be able to specify what an answer would look like.

  • I will parrot Yannis' wording on another comment - while this may very well be legitimate grounds for closing, it's closing as NC/NARQ, not off-topic. – user4012 Jun 25 '13 at 13:35

Questions about fictional politics (e.g., political details of Galactic Empire or Federation of United Planets). Those should go to SciFi.SE

  • I realize that this isn't a frequent occurence, but want to get this rule on paper on meta so we can refer to it later. – user4012 Jun 25 '13 at 13:40

Faulty Premise / Opinion Piece

A question that is so biased as to be unanswerable. Questions on politics should be related to answerable facts about the policies, procedures, and personalities of politics. Please consider removing the commentary and rescoping the actual data that could answer this.


  • looks like a variation on No Question / Rhetorical Question to me – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Jun 24 '13 at 22:00
  • While I fully agree that both your example questions are opinion based crap and I'd love to see them both closed/deleted (and yes, together with their ideologically opposite equivalent), I disagree that either of them is "off topic". Being opinion based, or based on a faulty premise, make a question NARQ or NC, not off-topic. For example, asking a very topically similar "What are the the approaches that GOP advocates regarding alternative energy" is a perfect Politics.SE fit. – user4012 Jun 25 '13 at 13:43
  • @DVK, I agree. I was only listing the questions as examples of would be closed should we accept the reasoning for closure. I completely age that this is already covered by NARQ. – user1873 Jun 26 '13 at 0:46
  • I think there's a difference between personal opinion and public opinion. Personal opinion likely isn't all that relevant. But public opinion can be. If the public perceives a correlation, asking why that is certainly seems relevant to the political landscape. – user1530 Jun 26 '13 at 2:46

Nothing (well, not really Everything that isn't about politics, the problem being that politics has inserted itself into nearly every aspect of life.)

The problem with defining what doesn't belong on Politics.SE, is that the list is quite long. As we can see from the other answers so far, Overly broad, not a real question, questions about what is right "Should", questions about the site (meta) etc. already cover what doesn't belong. It is fool hardy to attempt to list what doesn't belong on the site...questions about: elephants; farming; homework; religious truth; flowers; ...

  • The goal of this excercise is NOT to exaustively list ALL off-topic reasons. It is to find the most FREQUENTLY USED off-topic reasons, so that we have a shortcut to close the offtopic questions with minimum amount of required typing and the best already-perfected explanation. – user4012 Jun 26 '13 at 2:51

How about

use of logical fallacy

Admittedly, this is tricky, as sometimes a person will be using one without sincerely knowing it. And given that this is politics, logical fallacies are used all the time out in the wild--even by politicians.

  • This has the same problems as I outlined in comments to @Affable Geek. You are confusing "possibly bad/even unanswerable question" with "off-topic". – user4012 Jun 28 '13 at 18:08
  • @dvk good point. – user1530 Jun 28 '13 at 18:43

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