We have had a long-standing policy that questions asking about material from unproduced future works should be closed until such time as they are answerable.

The meta consensus was that we should close them as primarily opinion-based, which is as close to a legitimate reason as we can get. But it isn't really right -- in many cases, these questions do have objective answers, we just can't know them yet.

Even worse, people are not consistent with the close reason they use, since none of them actually specify "future works". We get them closed, for example, as "off-topic" or "too-broad" as well. It also shows up repeatedly in the list of custom close reasons people type in for off-topic questions. For example, of the 14 "custom" close reasons this month, 10 of them are "future works".

Do we have room to add in a custom close reason for this -- one that not only specifies why the question is being closed, but also links to the meta discussion, as well as reminding people that the question could be reopened in the future?

  • 1
    I tend to use the "custom close" text to explain why I've voted to close. Simply marking them as 'opinion-based' doesn't really explain to the user why you want to zap it.
    – Valorum
    Apr 29, 2016 at 16:29
  • 1
    This comment seems to indicate that you disagree. Perhaps you could be a bit more fulsome in explaining why, rather than simply attempting to delete the question.
    – Valorum
    Apr 30, 2016 at 11:56
  • I spotted the follow-up but I was puzzled by what you were referring to. For the record, this seemed a perfectly sensible question and one that needs asking, given that "Future works" is our single highest custom reason for a close.
    – Valorum
    Apr 30, 2016 at 12:45
  • @KutuluMike You, but maybe not others. Doesn't change the fact that this question and its answer is useful to the community. Noone said you have to be the one who takes the next steps outlined in the answer if you don't want to. But dissatisfaction with an answer has never been a valid reason to delete a valuable question.
    – TARS
    May 3, 2016 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


Currently, all three custom off-topic close reasons are being used. They are as follows:

custom off-topic close reasons

The third (generic) close reason was added last September.

There is an explanation by @Shog9 on Meta.SE as to why there are only three reasons allowed, but also that an additional reason can be added if there is a need (emphasis mine):

Large lists make selection tedious and difficult. Fortunately, most sites do not attract an extremely high volume of off-topic questions, and those that are asked tend to be about a relatively small number of topics - therefore, we limit the number of active reasons to 3. A few sites do get a regular influx of off-topic questions in a larger number of distinct categories; if you find this to be the case on your site, post a feature-request on your meta site with examples of questions that would benefit from a predefined off-topic option - we'll verify the need for this and work with you to make more reasons available.

If the community would like to explore the possibility of adding a "future works" close reason (or replacing the current generic one), I'd suggest opening up a new meta discussion with the feature request (as outlined in Shog's Meta.SE post).

  • 3
    I would like to see this as a standard close reason. +1 to the feature request.
    – Valorum
    Apr 30, 2016 at 12:46
  • Do we know how much those three custom close reasons are used? Maybe we could drop one of them.
    – b_jonas
    May 3, 2016 at 11:00
  • Especially since the third one is just a plain copy of the general default reason anyway (and thus technically applies to every off-topic closure).
    – TARS
    May 3, 2016 at 11:30
  • @Richard I'm happy to pursue this, but I'm on vacation this week and don't have enough time to work on this until later next week. Feel free to post a formal feature request on meta if you'd like to start the process, otherwise I'll post it when I get a chance.
    – Null Mod
    May 3, 2016 at 21:07
  • @b_jonas See my comment to Richard above.
    – Null Mod
    May 3, 2016 at 21:07

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