Sorry about being late to weigh in - I was busy last weekend.
Why I support this feature-request?
The norm re context that we have developed means that new questions at varying levels of mathematical sophistication often get put on hold for falling short of that standard. That is all well. But, the fact that the message This question is missing context or other details is displayed as a subtitle of the umbrella reason "Off-topic" leads to a lot of confusion. We hopefully all know by now that the reason for this is that "Off-topic" is the only part of the close reason menu where SE software allows a customizable site-specific reason.
But the newbies don't know this, some more experienced users who don't spend enough time on meta don't know about it, and some seasoned veterans want to use this less than ideal behavior of the site SW as a reason to point fingers at other users, or to press their agenda and try to get all quality standards lifted.
IMO that last point is a separate issue, and has no relation whatsoever to this feature-request. You are, of course, welcome to disagree with me, but I would like to discuss here the best way of dealing with this confusing message.
- the affected newbies come to meta periodically, because they see the loud and clear "off-topic" and miss the whisper "missing context or other details",
- and it is
a pain in the butt inconvenient to have to explain this every couple of weeks/months.
Therefore, it cannot IMHO hurt to ask the developers, once more, if it is at all possible to move this close reason up. So I support this feature-request in the form of asking for a site-specific customizable close reason at the top level of the hierarchy.
What should we do in case the devs turn the thumb up?
In this fortunate case we should think, very closely, about how to phrase the new close reason. Missing context has, unfortunately but also inevitably, become a bit loaded as a phrase, and while it is better than many alternatives, we could also brainstorm for better versions.
What can we do in case the devs turn the thumb down?
If the devs don't see such a feature-request as feasible, it is their call to make, and we need to cope with the situation. It is IMHO all fine to make those confused newbies to RTFM (calling that newbie-biting is IMO misguided), but we should then make sure that TFM is up to date:
- Should we explain this in detail on the How to ask -page? If so, at what level of detail so that the explanation actually helps the newbie without drowning them into a history of site politics.
- Should we add/design a few comment templates? This would be to help, not the newbies, but those users, who wish to mentor a newbie asker of a question the mentor wishes to rescue.
- Do observe that similar updates will probably be beneficial regardless of the fate of this feature-request.
I am actually relatively fine with the current state of affairs. It would be more convenient not to have to repeatedly explain that Off-topic -> missing context simply means missing context, but this is not absolutely necessary because, IMHO,
- The newbies should RTFM regardless.
- The workflow of educating a newbie in comments is suitably arduous, for the mentor and the newbie alike. If a mentor-on-duty is interested in a question they can take charge. Otherwise the HW dumpers and rep farming HW solvers are slowed down to my satisfaction.