This question, terminology - As adjectives, not in math: 'different' vs 'differential' - English Language & Usage Stack Exchange, has been marked as closed.

But no explanation, other than "This question is off-topic" was given.

It seems like a legitimate question about the different usage of the English words "different", and "differential". (So much so that I answered it.)

So why was it considered off-topic?

  • 2
    The ultimate reason it was closed is that the question asker is a troll and has already asked that question twice before on this site as well as something like 8 times on other sites. Jan 18, 2020 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


The timeline for the question (which may not be available to everyone¹) shows that it was closed as off-topic, with one of ELU's custom close reasons:

Off-topic → Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic.

Unfortunately, the new close banner hides that text from members who do not have enough rep to cast close votes (3000). That change was definitely unhelpful; I can't see any reason to differentiate between who can see the detailed reason.

When a migrated question is closed as off-topic, its migration is cancelled. This makes sense, because it's been judged to be off-topic on the current site. In this case, it's off-topic because it's a poor question for ELU as it currently stands.

The relevant text in the images should have been typed out (which isn't strictly necessary for topicality, but is definitely helpful and more likely to leave readers well-disposed), and the research into the two words should certainly have appeared.

Of passing interest may be the relationship between the person asking the off-topic question you answered, and the person asking the meta question about research five years ago.

¹ The timeline is available via a clock icon in the column under the voting arrows.

  • "Unfortunately, the new close banner hides that text from members who do not have enough rep to cast close votes (3000)." I have more than enough reputation, but the banner doesn't display the close reason (or those who voted to close it) for me either. This is despite that fact that I do see those things in every other question I've looked at so far. The only difference I see with this one is that it was migrated from somewhere else. Perhaps those questions that are migrated do not display the same level of detail to anyone (except actual moderators) if they get closed? Jan 17, 2020 at 17:50
  • @Jason If that's the case, I reckon it's a bug. If you feel like creating a question on Meta.SE about it, I'll be happy to assist with a screenshot of what I can see.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jan 17, 2020 at 17:54
  • I just posted my own answer with more detail. If you think this should be reported as an actual bug on Meta, I can do that too. Jan 17, 2020 at 18:45

Following up on a comment I'd originally made, I have enough reputation here to see and do everything that anybody short of a moderator can see or do.

When I look at a question that's been closed, I normally see a banner that indicates why it's been closed and who voted to close it:

Closed with detailed banner.

In particular, it indicates this:

(Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege)

However, when I look at this particular question, that level of detail is missing from the banner:

Closed without a detailed banner.

Nor is the parenthetical information about who is allowed to view the details shown in the banner.

The only difference between these two questions is that the one that shows a banner without detailed information is a question that originated and was migrated from a different site before being closed here.

This is the first time I've noticed this.

Coincidentally, between the time I'd posted my original comment and this reply, I came across another closed question that had been migrated from elsewhere and then rejected when closed by our site:

Closed without a detailed banner.

So, if it's a migrated question that's been closed, nobody (moderators aside, apparently) gets a banner with details. I can still see some additional information by looking at the timeline, but it's not the same as with questions that have not been migrated (and then rejected).

It's not clear to me if this is intentional or not.

From my personal perspective, the fact that it's been returned to the original site is sufficient banner information for me. Note that it's not possible to reopen a rejected migration—so knowing the details can't matter for that purpose, and it can't be updated to make it on-topic as that part of the regular banner text says.

On the other hand, I can't see why providing more detailed historical information would be a bad thing.

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