Update: The two most upvoted close reasons have now been enabled. Let's see how they work out in practice. We re-added the auto-generated "not about [site-topic] as described in the help-center" close reason as a 3rd reason, because it disappeared when we added the other two.

Currently we only have these standard reasons:

  • Unclear what you are asking
  • Too broad
  • Primarily opinion-based
  • This question does not appear to be about governments, policies and political processes within the scope defined in the help center.

We are able to add up to three additional custom close reasons for Politics.SE. They will appear in the "close question" dialog after selecting "Off topic because...".

Which Politics.SE specific close reasons should we add?

We already had this discussion in 2013, but it seems like back then the site was not yet mature enough to come to a proper consensus. But now Politics.SE should be long enough in beta that we can identify common patterns for questions which are not a good fit for this website.

If you answer to this meta-question, I recommend that you follow this form:

  • Post only one reason per answer.
  • Add a draft for the reason description.
  • Link some questions from the main-site which should have been (or should be) closed with this reason.
  • 1
    Are they supposed to replace the standard ones or only supplement them? – user9389 Jul 20 '17 at 18:05
  • I am in favour of this change, but as mentioned by notstoreboughtdirt here above, I would have expected these reasons to be additive to the old ones, rather than taking away the generic "off-topic" reason. – Federico Jul 25 '17 at 14:40
  • @Federico When we added the two new close reasons, the generic one was automatically deactivated. I re-added it as another custom reason. It still needs to be confirmed by another mod. – Philipp Jul 25 '17 at 20:02
  • @Philipp thanks, I was unaware of this condition in the implementation. – Federico Jul 25 '17 at 20:11
  • @Federico Me too. – Philipp Jul 25 '17 at 20:12
  • In this question you say you still have room for a third close reason, but here (politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3116/…) you say that you re-added something as a third custom close reason. Which is it? – Ekadh Singh Mar 31 at 15:05
  • 1
    @Yay The question you linked was a reaction to what happened because of the question here, so the linked question is obviously the most current one. If we want a new close reason, we would have to get rid of either one of the two top-voted reasons here or the generic "not about politics" close reason. – Philipp Mar 31 at 15:09
  • @Philipp okay, but I couldn’t tell for sure because this question has been edited multiple times, and also I don’t know too much about the workings of stack exchange sites. Please edit the question so it becomes more current&correct, as this question is viewed much more than the other question. – Ekadh Singh Mar 31 at 15:14
  • 1
    @Yay I've updated the update. – Philipp Mar 31 at 15:18

[This reason is now available]


Questions asking for the internal motivations of people, how specific individuals would behave in hypothetical situations or predictions for future events are off-topic, because answers would be based on speculation and their correctness could not be verified with sources available to the public.

Example questions:

  • 2
    While I agree with the reason, I strongly disagree with some of the examples chosen. The first question can be at least partially answered by polls and some leaders opinion, the second can be (and has been) answered by declarations from Mrs May, military-related questions by treaties, procedures, history, ... I also think introducing this reason to close questions on this (according to me already very strict) website would just lead to lazy closure of the questions, it is easier to close than to answer. And scare off new users. -1. – user5751924 Jul 20 '17 at 1:30

[This reason is now available]

Too opinionated

a.k.a. "rant in disguise"

The primary purpose of this question appears to be to promote or discredit a specific political cause, group or politician. It does not appear to be a good-faith effort to learn more about governments, policies and political processes as defined in the help center.


You might ask "What's the difference between this and primarily opinion-based"? I think POP is not an appropriate close-reason in this situation, because the description of POP says: "answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions". But the problem with above questions is not (in all cases) that you couldn't write non-opinionated answers to them. The problem is the phrasing of the question itself.

  • 4
    I would link the good faith effort to the meta thread about that. Could be a good thing to tag as faq as well – Machavity Jul 13 '17 at 2:19
  • 1
    @Machavity done. – Philipp Jul 13 '17 at 11:03
  • 2
    I agree that we should have this close reason, but I'm not sure if I like this phrasing. I'd focus more on what the answer should be and provide more guidance on how the OP can fix their question. – user11249 Jul 13 '17 at 13:26
  • 1
    @Carpetsmoker Could you post how you would phrase it? Either as a comment or as a suggested edit. – Philipp Jul 13 '17 at 13:33
  • 2
    I'd prefer to call this close reason "Not a real question" I think it better exemplifies exactly what the problem is with these kinds of 'questions'. Such questions are not make to ask for information or learn something. They're made to make some sort of point. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Jul 13 '17 at 20:17
  • I don't the close title will be seen in the close dialog for close reasons under 'off-topic because...' though. Seems like only the description will appear – i.stack.imgur.com/jGChk.png. – Panda Jul 14 '17 at 8:07
  • 3
    @Philipp (I've been away for a week): personally I don't like the "good faith" part as it appears too much as an attack on the poster's person or (assumed) motivation. This is probably not a good thing. I would replace it with "open question", "genuine question", or something like it; e.g. The primary purpose of this question appears to be to promote or discredit a specific political cause, group, or politician. It does not appear to be an open question to learn more about governments, policies, or political processes as defined in the help center. – user11249 Jul 22 '17 at 14:38
  • 1
    @Carpetsmoker You might have a point, but I don't like "open question" either, as it might be misinterpreted as "open ended question" which is not the kind of question we want anywhere on stackexchange. Maybe "honest question" or "constructive question"? – Philipp Jul 22 '17 at 15:38
  • 1
    "Constructive question" sounds great @Philipp. I don't like "honest question", as it might also be perceived as calling the OP or their question "dishonest" (which is not quite what we intend, but it might be interpreted as such, especially by non-native speakers). – user11249 Jul 22 '17 at 15:48

Off-site Resources

Taken from Stack Overflow and modified for Politics. Their version links to this Meta.SO question

Questions asking us to recommend or find a book, list, or other off-site resource are off-topic for Politics.SE as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Questions should focus on a specific political issue.


As Shog9 put it in his answer on Meta.SO

Short answer? "Recommendation question" is shorthand for "you didn't describe a problem, you just asked for a list of things."

  • 2
    I feel like these could be put under "General information" as well. – Jorn Vernee Jul 13 '17 at 12:53
  • I completely agree that such questions should be OT. But the meta-question you linked from the stackoverflow meta reads very specific to Stackoverflow. Our own discussion here is rather inconclusive (5 upvotes for an answer which can be summarized as "I don't know" and no votes at all for an answer which says "it's OT"). – Philipp Jul 19 '17 at 8:27
  • @Philipp Yeah, that's why I removed that from the description (SO's reasoning doesn't fit Politics). The main thing (from doing a ton of closures on SO) is we don't want endless lists of resources (creates moderation issues and spam) – Machavity Jul 19 '17 at 18:23
  • There is also a more recent meta question which seems to have a weak consensus that at least some of these questions should be on-topic: politics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3033/11249 – user11249 Jul 23 '17 at 13:18

Not About the Politics

This question does not appear to be about states, governments, policies, and political processes, figures or institutions, within the scope defined in the help center.
Questions about political figures must focus on their actions leading to changing policies or legislation introduced by governments.

I was surprised that the top close reason was removed. We have quite a few questions about topics that marginally relate to politics, e.g. they either discuss a politician:

…or they search for source of {political} news/analytics:

…or they ask for discussion about some theoretical project:

And so on.

Although in some cases, we can "stretch" the meaning of "Opinion-based" or "Good faith", this would prevent the OP from understanding the core principles of Good-vs.-Bad questions, effectively distracting them from further participation on this site. I mean, even if the OP did not raise the Meta discussion or try to defend the post in some other way, the lack of plain "off-topic" close reason may undermine their ability to learn.

So let us get back the ol' good "Not About the Politics" close reason.

I took my liberty to expand it a bit, but I totally don't mind if it get reverted back to its original formulation.


General Information

Questions asking for general information (such as statistics or other static information), and not a political question, are off-topic. General information may be part of a broader question related to a political process, but not the question itself


The problem with these questions is there's no explicit political point (i.e. Why is the Islamic State killing non-combatants). While answers could infuse them with politics, they would be the political angles as the answerer sees them, which is not how Q&A should work.

  • 7
    I'm ambivalent about this one. General information about governments and political movements is probably on topic, even if it's not explicitly political. But I don't know if we've ever had a discussion about that. I would suggest creating a new meta topic to address that. – Bobson Jul 13 '17 at 16:23
  • 1
    I beg to differ. Well-written, specific questions are crucial for site's searchability. People tend to ask search engines in normal language (despite the fact only keywords essentially matter), and a near match would definitely make Politics.SE on the top page of search results. Yet another problem that allowing questions like "what is the GDP of Afghanistan/Albania/Algeria"… and all the way down to Zimbabwe may eventually lead to 180 almost duplicate Q's. This has to be dealt with. But banning Q's just for asking for general information does not make sense. – bytebuster Jul 16 '17 at 23:49
  • @bytebuster My point is that informational questions should be tied to a question about a policy. So asking "What was the net effect of [country]'s tax hike?" could go into a general information answer. Saying we should just allow general questions for SEO reasons invites a lot of people to ask questions that have no native political angle – Machavity Jul 19 '17 at 18:56
  • A great example of this is this question from today. It's about politics... but not a political question – Machavity Jul 19 '17 at 19:32

Too Local

Discussion of e.g. the local politics in a small village should not be done on Politics.SE. Questions and potential answers should have some relevance to people outside your local area. If you generalize your question, it might become on-topic.

None of the existing close reasons seems to clearly cover this.

Sometimes those questions could be salvaged by generalizing them. A clear reason that suggests generalizing might result in more salvaged questions than "Unclear" or "Off-topic" would.


  • 2
    Discussion of the local politic in a small village should not be done on Politics.SE: Why not? – user11249 Jul 22 '17 at 14:34
  • @Carpetsmoker Because not enough people would be interested in it. Such questions could sometimes be fixed by generalizing them - using that village as an example - but that's not always possible or it might become a duplicate in that case. – Sjoerd Jul 22 '17 at 14:39
  • Maybe? I don't know ... Are there specific questions that you have in mind? Or is there a meta post with a consensus that this should be off-topic? – user11249 Jul 22 '17 at 14:40
  • @Carpetsmoker As I understood it, this topic invites suggestions; Voting should take care of establishing consensus and importance. I might be wrong about the procedure - this is just how I expected it to be. – Sjoerd Jul 22 '17 at 14:43
  • An example could be politics.stackexchange.com/questions/21950/… which asks about municipal taxes in a Canadian city. – Sjoerd Jul 22 '17 at 14:48
  • Sure, all suggestions are welcome, but right now your suggestion is rather brief, and doesn't really explain 1) Why you feel this should be off-topic, and 2) if there are enough questions asked to make it an off-topic reason (we can only have three). Re: your example, New Brunswick is a province of a well-known country with 750k people. I personally wouldn't call it "a small village". – user11249 Jul 22 '17 at 14:52
  • @Carpetsmoker Barely anyone outside the New Brunswick area would be interested in an answer about municipality taxes. It was put on hold because "unclear," but IMHO "Too local" would have been a better reason. – Sjoerd Jul 22 '17 at 14:59
  • Well, at least 750k people would be interested, as they live there ;-) There are countries smaller than that. Should all questions about countries with populations smaller than 750k be off-topic? What about countries with 2 million inhabitants? 5 million? When is something "too local"? – user11249 Jul 22 '17 at 15:03
  • @Carpetsmoker When is something "too local"? A good question, to which I don't have a clear answer. There will be a large grey area. My guideline is "are potential answers of interest to people outside that local area?" Sometimes I consider questions about The Netherlands - where I live and which has 17 million inhabitants - too local. Usually those questions receive only a few votes and very limited views. – Sjoerd Jul 22 '17 at 15:07
  • @Carpetsmoker Thanks for your remarks - I feel my entry has improved as a result. It doesn't feel like I have been able to convince you, though :) – Sjoerd Jul 22 '17 at 15:11
  • I don't think that this should be a close-reason. 1. I haven't noticed that this problem is widespread enough to justify a custom close reason (but my impression might be wrong. Adding more question examples would convince me) and 2. an answer might give insight into what municipal governments in general can or can not do in a larger jurisdiction, making the question more useful for a larger demographic. – Philipp Jul 22 '17 at 15:35
  • 1
    Also, if we decide that this is a problem, we need to define properly when exactly a question is "too local" before we start to reprimand people for posting such questions. But comments here are not appropriate to do that. You should do that in a separate meta-question which can then be linked from this close-reason. – Philipp Jul 22 '17 at 15:47
  • 1
    @Philipp Thanks for your suggestion how to approach this. I'll wait a day or two to see what others think. At this moment, it seems the interest is too low to start that discussion. – Sjoerd Jul 22 '17 at 15:51

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