As part of the updates to the closing system that took place last year, the community-specific close reasons (off-topic sub-reasons) gained a new five-field format, which displays different text in different places so that close voters and flaggers are guided to correct use of the close reason, authors are instructed how to improve their question, and privileged users are given advice on how to fix the question. This also shows a close reason to other non-privileged users viewing the question, as opposed to simply showing them as "off-topic".

We recently updated one of our close reasons over on Meta Stack Exchange to use the new format, and looking at the close flagging dialog for this site, it seems it can easily be done for the close reasons here.

To explain how the system works, quoted from the above post:

I'm going to be rehashing, in less words, the format for close reasons that Catija explained in her aforementioned answer. The fields available to us are limited to 500 characters with the exception of the first field, so keep that in mind when proposing/making changes!

The format is as follows:

  1. Brief description (100 characters) - Visible in the close/flag dialog in bold. Should be very succinct, only spanning a couple of words.
  2. Usage guidance - Tells close voters when to use the close reason. Ideally, this is descriptive enough to cover edge cases, and that detail should inspire confidence in close voters that this reason is the right choice under specified circumstances.
  3. Post notice close description - Visible to all users, the post notice description should follow the format "This question was closed because it is ... It is not currently accepting answers."
  4. Post owner guidance - Visible only to the post author, this should explain to the OP why their question was closed, and give detailed information on how to improve their post to get it reopened. Helpful links to the help center would be nice to include.
  5. Privileged user guidance - Visible to users with the cast close votes privilege in the post notice on a post closed with this close reason. This should inform close voters on how best to guide the asker in improving their question or inform them when the question should be reopened.

Important Notes

  • If accepted, the changes made to the close reason will be applied retroactively to all questions currently closed with this close reason. Post notices will be updated across the board. This requires a CM editing the existing close reason.
    • If the changes are major enough, we can choose to retire the current close reason and have two diamond moderators or staff with moderator privileges create a new close reason for our proposal. This should only be done if the changes are too major or we in general feel that the changes should not apply retroactively.
  • For clarity, these changes only affect [this specific close reason on this site]. This does not apply across the network.

Per the aforementioned answer from staff member Catija linked in the above quote, the team prefers an individual, separate discussion for each close reason. As such, I'm kicking this off with the "code not implemented or not working as intended" close reason, and once this discussion is over, I'll proceed to the next reason. Or, if you prefer, I can start discussions for the other two reasons ("authorship of code" and "missing review context") right now.

I've posted my proposals for the fields' texts as an answer below. If you have any improvements to think of, or would like to discuss the proposed improvements, please post another answer. Once we reach an outcome, I'll accept the favored answer and a moderator can tag this post so it can be implemented.

For context, the current wording of this close reason is as follows:

Code not implemented or not working as intended: Code Review is a community where programmers peer-review your working code to address issues such as security, maintainability, performance, and scalability. We require that the code be working correctly, to the best of the author's knowledge, before proceeding with a review.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ For completeness: the current wording is used in all fields. The only difference between 'post owner guidance' and 'privileged user guidance' today is that the latter shows who closed the question while the former does not. Both guidances show the exact same text as the text in the flag dialog does. Currently none of our close reasons use the new format, the old ones will still be supported. The primary benefit of the new systems is being able to give specific advice when it's useful. Editing the reasons will require a CM and will be retroactive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 16:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mast There is another significant benefit. Right now, any question closed with an off-topic sub-reason will simply show to the vast majority of users (without enough rep to vote to close stations) that they were closed as off-topic. There's no explanation shown to those users why the question is off-topic, which leads to confusion, especially with questions that appear to relate to the site's general scope. Revamping these reasons to the latest system will show the post notice close description (field 3) to all users, making it so they can see why exactly the question is not in scope. \$\endgroup\$
    – gparyani
    Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


One problem with the way it's currently phrased is that this close reason includes the case when the code functions correctly, but the question is asking for a re-write in a different paradigm (e.g. object-oriented or pure-functional).

We need to ensure the wording is clear that the code must be working as desired, not just in terms of producing correct results. Perhaps replace the wording about "not implemented" with something about the implementation not being finished? That would also better address questions where there's only a small amount of unimplemented code (i.e. mostly implemented but parts still unwritten).


Here's my proposal of the wording. The primary intent of this answer is to get started with a basic frame of what each field is supposed to represent. Do note that I based these on the way the reason is currently worded, along with the help center advice and the meta post linked in the close reason; I haven't participated much here and so don't really know the exact specifics of the close reason and when it's used.

To see exactly where each field is used, see the quoted part of my question.

Brief description:

Code not implemented or not working as intended

Taken straight from the close description.

Usage guidance:

The code in this question does not appear to be working correctly or is not implemented.

This field is shown in the close dialog as the extended description of the close reason option. I wrote this sentence so it's mainly directed as close voters and flaggers, who are more likely to know site rules.

Post notice close description:

This question is missing working code. It is not currently accepting answers.

It was hard for me to come up with a way of formatting the sentence so it would phrase as "This question is". It would be nice if someone came up with another way. Alternatively, if the team allows, we can phrase it instead as:

This question's code is not implemented or is not working correctly. This question is not currently accepting answers.

Post owner guidance:

Code Review is a community where programmers peer-review your working code to address issues such as security, maintainability, performance, and scalability. We require that the code be working correctly, to the best of the author's knowledge, before proceeding with a review.

I've copied this straight from the current reason's wording, other than the first part in bold, as I feel it's good advice for the author.

Privileged user guidance:

First of all, a bit of a disclaimer: I don't know what advice is given to other users on how to help question authors fix their question. The phrasing below is mostly a template for how the text should be phrased:

If this question can be fixed to conform to site rules on including working code, help by leaving a comment for the author to add in specific required elements. If you believe that this question would be a high-quality fit for another site on our network, flag this question for moderator attention and request that it be migrated there.

If we don't have any specific privileged user guidance, we can also make this field contain the same content as the post author guidance - this was done with another close reason on Meta.SE.


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