I think it would be preferable to have an explicit 'needs to show some work' option to the closing form.

On the current form, the choice is usually 'off-topic because...', but that really doesn't cover lack of attempt. The question might be reasonable, so it is not off-topic per se.

Basically it is a 'call it as it is' option.


On one hand, this is moot because the required software change won't happen.

On another, I am not a fan of emphasizing "work shown" that much. Occasionally seen titles like "Algebra problem (working shown)" are cringe-worthy. I don't want to see "work" as much as I want to have a good question. Agreeing with Hurkyl here:

I generally view the work as a means, rather than an end: the point of showing the work is so a knowledgeable reader can extract the precise good question that the OP needs to ask, but ultimately for the purposes of being a searchable mathematical reference, it's only the good question that matters

Sure, I use the "no context" reason often (with a handy one-click bookmarklet), partly because it has a built-in link to meta advice on asking good questions, and partly because it's something that resonates with most 3K reviewers.

But personally, I think that Unclear what you are asking would be a better choice. Especially if it was renamed as Unclear what help you need, which was also proposed on Meta.SE.

  • $\begingroup$ I guess my main issue is that I want to give my real reason rather than being 'forced' to choose one that is untrue. By work, I usually mean something minimal like looking at the first 3 entries thrown up by a popular search engine. One question had something to the effect that 'I can't be bothered to read the manual'. I'll get over it :-). $\endgroup$ – copper.hat Aug 5 '14 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ In retrospect, my feature request should have been to give a custom reason. $\endgroup$ – copper.hat Aug 5 '14 at 5:57

Although I agree with "404", I also agree with "copper.hat".

Closing a question with a conspicuous notice saying it's not about mathematics (as defined in some official boilerplate) has been excused on the ground that it is followed by a less conspicuous notice saying it is lacking in context or details.

This site generally treats newbies very badly when they don't know this site's customs. See, for example, this: https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1704710/can-you-solve-this-integral/1704730#comment3479439_1704730

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    $\begingroup$ I fail to see the relevance of linking to one of your complaint comments on main, that has absolutely nothing to do with this question. On yet another thread on main, you're calling people bullies, and I think that the main purpose of this answer is to make another thread stirring up this issue. (-1). $\endgroup$ – user296602 Mar 19 '16 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers : Fortunately your failure to see the relevance doesn't mean there isn't any. Maybe you could try asking what it is. $\qquad$ $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Mar 19 '16 at 22:03
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    $\begingroup$ Fine, then please explain it to me: Why is a complaint about how a certain new user was treated on main relevant to the question "should there be a missing work closure reason"? $\endgroup$ – user296602 Mar 19 '16 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers : It's not about how a certain new user is treated; it's about how newbies are generally treated. The closure reason is phrased in a way that is certain to be misread by many newby users for obvious reasons. $\qquad$ $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Mar 19 '16 at 22:39
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    $\begingroup$ And I really don't see why your link to main bolsters this point. Your complaint that "he should have been afforded an opportunity to revise the question accordingly" doesn't have anything to do with the wording of the closure statement - rather, it appears to me that you're trying to rally support for a separate issue (as if the last $6$ meta posts, as well as the $2$ deleted ones weren't enough opportunity). $\endgroup$ – user296602 Mar 19 '16 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ Also, I feel that as a side point, your characterization of bad treatment is a bit strange. The asker received two absolutely complete solutions that they could go hand in, was pointed to a duplicated thread with a very well-written and relevant answer, and in spite of the number of downvotes still got positive reputation out of all of it. $\endgroup$ – user296602 Mar 19 '16 at 22:56

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