# The problem with insufficient context

The new (well, not that new now) Insufficient Context close reason has a problem. People see the name and think it is about the text surrounding the code. The text context for the code. But the close reason links to Not real code. If we are going to use Insufficient Context as a close reason for "Not enough description of what the code does," we should change the close text:

"Lacks concrete context: Code Review requires concrete code from a project, with sufficient context for reviewers to understand how that code is used. Pseudocode, stub code, hypothetical code, obfuscated code, and generic best practices are outside the scope of this site."

It should at minimum link to something that explains why we need explanation of what the code does.

We have several options:

1. Rename lacks concrete context to "not real code". But that doesn't solve the problems that caused the rename in the first place.
2. Rename lacks concrete context to something else. But what?
3. Add "missing explanation" to the lacks concrete context close explanation. E.g.

"Lacks concrete context: Code Review requires concrete code from a project, with sufficient explanation for reviewers to understand how that code is used. Pseudocode, stub code, hypothetical code, obfuscated code, and generic best practices are outside the scope of this site."

But where does the new link go? Is this the right text?

4. Enforce the existing distinction. But note how this former moderator instead criticizes my enforcement rather than telling the person misusing the term that that's not what the term means.

If moderators and high reputation users are not going to support the distinction, then we should eliminate it.

I don't really care whether that particular question is Unclear what you're asking or Lacks context. That's beside the point. I was responding to a comment that said:

Note that your question lacks concrete context now for review. Please Explain what that code is purposed for in detail please (edit your question).

If we are not going to enforce that distinction on comments like that, then we should get rid of the distinction.

Note that I'm not talking about getting rid of the "Unclear what you're asking" reason. It would still be there, just less used. But if people aren't going to use it anyway, then we should acknowledge that and fix the site text to match how people actually use the site.

It is confusing for new people to come to the site and have their question be closed for one reason when the closers really mean a different reason. It's especially so because we link to help text that explains the wrong reason.

• IMO 200 was correct it was LCC. But I also agree that we should change the reason for more than just this reason. – Peilonrayz Mod Nov 10 '18 at 19:44
• @mdfst13 Okay, I see the comment now. The problem with that question is that it suffers from both problems. There's no description about what the code should do because it is a completly made-up example, apparently simply for the purpose of playing around with HTML and CSS, therefore I guess you could say that the entire question is made up of "Do something"-like code. – Simon Forsberg Nov 11 '18 at 19:50
• @SimonForsberg But that doesn't change the fact that there is a comment that is still there that says, "Insufficient context means that you have to provide more information about the code in the text." Even if the question is also guilty of insufficient context, that user and at least three others are using the close reason incorrectly. And rather than criticizing that, e.g. "While I agree that this lacks concrete context, that's not because of the lack of explanation. Even if more explanation were added, the real problem is ..." – mdfst13 Nov 11 '18 at 23:13
• @mdfst13 I have deleted that comment now. Feel free to flag such comments (you may use a custom flag if necessary, write something like "Lacks concrete context and unclear what you are asking are two different things"). – Simon Forsberg Nov 11 '18 at 23:36

The new (well, not that new now) Insufficient Context close reason has a problem. People see the name and think it is about the text surrounding the code. The text context for the code. But the close reason links to Not real code. If we are going to use Insufficient Context as a close reason for "Not enough description of what the code does," we should change the close text

I don't think we should use "Insufficient context" as a close reason for "Not enough description about what the code does". The "insufficient context" close reason is for where the code lacks concrete context, i.e. a method called doSomething or similar. "Unclear what you are asking" should be used when the question lacks description of what the code is supposed to do, or what exactly the question is about.

I think we should aim at using the close reasons better instead of changing any of them.

• Insufficient context - Example code, hypothetical code, some code intentionally left out with ... or // do something or similar
• Unclear what you are asking - Question lacks description of what the code does or it is too hard to understand what exactly the question is about

However, some questions have both problems (like your example question in point 4), and then it doesn't really matter which close reason you apply.

• I don't think this really adds anything. Point 4 links to a question that says to follow what you suggest, and you've not addressed the negatives to that point. – Peilonrayz Mod Nov 11 '18 at 15:15
• I would also point out that Simon commented on one of my example questions. And did not reprove the person using insufficient context incorrectly nor the former moderator who directed criticism at me for making the distinction clear. Nor do I recall Simon reproving the current moderator who held (and may still hold) that point. Finally, neither Simon nor any other moderator has enforced that point on the comment in the first question. If you are not going to enforce the rules the way that they are written, then let the rules match the way that they are being enforced. – mdfst13 Nov 11 '18 at 18:17
• @mdfst13 speaking personally: As a moderator I don't see the need to explicitly add to a distinction that a high-reputation community memeber clarified in the comments of a post. it's not like you're wrong. I don't think that 200_success is in the wrong either, though. – Vogel612 Nov 11 '18 at 19:25
• @mdfst13 It is my impression that 200_success did not comment because he didn't want the distinction, I believe he commented because he did consider that the code was lacking context. You saw one problem with the question (unclear), while 200_success saw two problems (unclear + lacks context). – Simon Forsberg Nov 11 '18 at 19:53
• @Peilonrayz Edited the answer. The question that 200_success commented on had both problems. – Simon Forsberg Nov 11 '18 at 19:59
• I don't see any problems with the question. I was replying to a post that said that the question needed more explanation and that was insufficient context. I would be happy if the question were reopened, as I have critiques to make. It seems clear to me that the poster is asking for help with example code meant to show to students. But that's a side issue. Regardless of what was intended, the effect is to criticize me which makes other readers think that the distinction is not important. Note that one of the readers from that post is also misusing the close reason on the other example. – mdfst13 Nov 11 '18 at 23:20
• @mdfst13 To avoid confusion please be specific: Link to everything you talk about when you say "Note that one of the readers from that post is also misusing the close reason on the other example" – Simon Forsberg Nov 11 '18 at 23:39
• @mdfst13 I read the comments as πάντα ῥεῖ (incorrectly) saying "Your question lacks context, please add a description about what the code does". Then you replied saying "This is not the LCC close reason, this is UWYAA" and then 200_success replied with "LCC applies here as well". Whether or not the question should be closed is a different subject. I was the moderator that came by and posted a comment and I did not say that insufficient context means a lack of explanation, I replied to the user who quoted "Please avoid stripping out key details". – Simon Forsberg Nov 11 '18 at 23:46
• With links: Note that one of the readers from that post is also misusing the LCC close reason on the other example. Comments mostly deleted now (so that I can't link them), although I presume that you can still see them. – mdfst13 Nov 12 '18 at 0:23