Several questions (including some of mine) have lots of code. Some of those have ridiculous amount of code and should probably be broken into two, three, sometimes even four questions.

When it's a recent post, we can comment and ask the OP to edit and often they'll happily comply.

But when it's an old post that's been collecting dust for months, sitting unanswered and unlikely to attract any [in their right minds] answerer, should we be able to close it for being too long?

Suggested wording:

This question is too long and is unlikely to receive answers that will appropriately cover everything there is to cover, or is likely to encourage long-winded, wall-of-text answers that nobody will read and upvote. Please break it down into decently smaller chunks which can be reviewed as separate questions, or edit the question so as to make it more... reasonable.

I believe having this close reason could help cleaning up a lot of the old, unanswered questions: the community would be able to close them with a valid reason. I'm guessing the alternative is to mod-flag them for deletion, but then that doesn't seem fair.


An excessively complex question deserves a comment suggesting that it be distilled. It might even attract a downvote for being a poorly formulated question. However, it does not deserve to be closed. If some intrepid reviewer decides to take it on anyway, why should the mob prevent it? Conversely, if the question languishes, it's the poster's own fault.

Sure, leaving the question open and letting it languish may hurt the site's statistics, but the alternative — encouraging the closing of questions based on a subjective measure — would be far more harmful to the site.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That's what I wanted/needed to hear :) \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Nov 19 '13 at 11:50

"...that will appropriately cover everything there is to cover..."

Well that's the thing isn't it, we don't need to cover everything in our answers. For questions of excessive length, finding just two or three things to improve would be good enough. If they improve those things then they can post a new question later with those things improved (and preferably with a more specific question), and then the code will most likely be shorter! (or at least more readable)

Or, if - by a miracle - there actually is nothing to improve, then an answer pointing out some good parts is also a good answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ One reviewer definitely doesn't need to cover more than 2 or 3 things, other reviewers can feel free to find other issues. \$\endgroup\$ – pacmaninbw Sep 1 '19 at 17:51

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