This question has been closed, but the reason for closure that had the most votes was:

Other: I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because ... 3

How is '...' a valid close reason? Why does it have so many votes, when it means nothing and won't help the author?


Turns out it meant:

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.

Is this a 'trick' I don't know about yet?

  • 1
    The question is very closable (it is only partially coherent). Maybe ... was because the close voters could tell it was closable but, reasonably, couldn't come up with a coherent reason why.
    – Mitch
    Jul 28, 2017 at 17:17
  • @Mitch seems like a shortcut for boilerplate close reasons. Is this canonical? Jul 28, 2017 at 17:22
  • 3
    "Off-topic because..." is the lead in to another set of choices. Another window opens giving the close voter a choice of reasons or to write one in of their own choosing. Jul 28, 2017 at 19:04
  • 1
    Use <strike>example</strike> for strikethrough
    – NVZ Mod
    Jul 28, 2017 at 19:14
  • It was a custom close reason. It had votes because it gets upvoted when others vote to close using that same custom reason. It's not normal upvotes.
    – Hank
    Jul 28, 2017 at 19:18
  • @Hank, yeah I get that you have custom close reasons, but how is 'I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because ...' okay, compared to something like 'I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because [reason that will help OP]'? Jul 28, 2017 at 19:29
  • 1
    Because it is now closed, we are unable to see that original reason and it does not show as a comment anymore. It was probably just used because it was hard to pinpoint what exactly was wrong and everyone knew it would be closed but needed something to vote for.
    – Hank
    Jul 28, 2017 at 19:31
  • @Hank I saw it and copied it out above. Another thing that was strange, it wasnt a comment (that I saw - maybe a +10k user could check, if that extends to comments) Jul 28, 2017 at 19:33
  • It was probably a comment at one point but was deleted by the initialize because they knew it would look weird. I'm sure it's just a way to close a question that is so far off topic that a specific reason will not save it.
    – Hank
    Jul 28, 2017 at 19:35
  • @Hank, I'm not too worried about that question specifically, rather what's going on with the close-vote reason. Presumably FumbleFingers used '...' as the reason, which changed mystically into what it did... Jul 28, 2017 at 19:35
  • I think any time you close for a custom reason, "This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center." is displayed upon closing. Is that your confusion?
    – Hank
    Jul 28, 2017 at 19:36
  • @Hank - here's a similar situation; looks like it's just a feature: english.stackexchange.com/questions/332506/… Jul 28, 2017 at 19:39
  • 3
    I looked at that question before it was closed. It was, in fact, a custom close reason...without anything written in to customize. I've never seen that before. My guess is the first person did it accidentally, then other voters clicked through to see what the custom reason was, and on seeing that there wasn't one, shrugged, and clicked it anyway rather than go back to choose a different reason.
    – 1006a
    Jul 29, 2017 at 4:20
  • 1
    @NVZ old, but I just saw this: strikethrough is deprecated, use <del> instead. - meta.stackexchange.com/a/135909/353213 Aug 2, 2017 at 20:16
  • 1
    @marcellothearcane thanks
    – NVZ Mod
    Aug 2, 2017 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


When you use custom close reasons, it first appears below the question as a comment. And on receiving further close votes for that particular reason, the auto-added comment gets auto-upvoted.

On reaching the required votes to close the question, and if the majority of the votes are for that custom given reason, then the question will be closed and the banner will then show a default text:

This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.

Usually we write the exact reasons when we use the custom option. But I suppose in this case it was not clear what to write in there.

And usually the auto-added comment stays under the question for a while. Maybe it was removed by the original close voter.

Should we use such blank close reasons?
Normally, no.

But what to do when we are not sure what reason to write?
When I find off-topic questions for which I cannot pinpoint the reasons, I use the default text shown above as the custom reason.

Also, when you get to 10K, you can see a list of custom close reasons used in the last 90 days. It shows me that the default text and it's various paraphrased variants are the most popular ones.

  • 1
    Okay, thanks for clarifying that. How was '...' a valid reason? Was it just 'I think this question should be closed but I can't pinpoint exactly why?' Jul 28, 2017 at 19:53
  • 1
    Yes, these are the mechanics, but I think OP is asking is it kosher to vote to close with a blank or meaningless close reason? My take is: in the case the question is unsalvageable, yes. SO even has a triage queue where users can vote to close a question as "irredeemably unsalvageable" so that it's never an "open" question in the first place. The question then boils down to: was this post unsalvageable? I don't know yet because I haven't looked at the question yet. I just saw this Marta-thread and posted this comment.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 28, 2017 at 19:54
  • @DanBron updated
    – NVZ Mod
    Jul 28, 2017 at 20:06
  • @marcellothearcane updated
    – NVZ Mod
    Jul 28, 2017 at 20:06
  • @NVZ thanks, that answers it. I think I'll get to know the site a bit better before initiating/supporting blank ones! Jul 28, 2017 at 20:14
  • I'm not sure if I'm allowed to add screenshots of the linked stats page.
    – NVZ Mod
    Jul 28, 2017 at 20:15

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