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Many times I have seen a question put on hold where the stated reason has no relation to the question. It looks like a formula statement.

"" put on hold as off-topic by StubbornAtom, Leucippus, heropup, Paul Frost, Shailesh 15 hours ago

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

"This question is missing context or other details: Please provide additional context, which ideally explains why the question is relevant to you and our community. Some forms of context include: background and motivation, relevant definitions, source, possible strategies, your current progress, why the question is interesting or important, etc." – StubbornAtom, Leucippus, heropup, Paul Frost, Shailesh ""

Are these real people? The question was certainly not off topic, just very simple.

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    $\begingroup$ This is of course a template. When users vote to close a question, they are asked to choose a generic reason. The one you quoted is (I guess) the most frequently used one. $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Jul 21 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ Which of the following did the question contain: background and motivation, relevant definitions, source, possible strategies, the current progress, why the question is interesting or important? $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 21 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ The term "off topic" might not be the best one. The more important information is that the voter finds the post missing context. $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Jul 21 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ The "off-topic" label is unfortunately rather misleading; the question is not actually off-topic but rather is closed for a different reason as explained in the second part. See math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26524/… $\endgroup$ – Eric Wofsey Jul 21 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ Some related discussion here $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Jul 21 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ Looks like you are referring to this question. Whether the question (in this case a problem statement question) is simple/easy has nothing to do with its closure, but it has to do with the asker's inputs. $\endgroup$ – StubbornAtom Jul 21 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ One annoying thing about this situation is that people who try to answer the question get penalized just for answering! That seems rather perverse. What is the reason? $\endgroup$ – herb steinberg Jul 22 at 0:46
  • $\begingroup$ see my answer perhaps. $\endgroup$ – Roddy MacPhee Jul 22 at 0:49
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    $\begingroup$ There are some users, herb, who are so eager to see context-free questions banished that they have taken it upon themselves to downvote answers to such questions, hoping to deter other users from answering such questions and thereby to deter people from asking them in the first place. You can find here on meta discussions of this behavior. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jul 22 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ A less disingenuous version of Gerry Myerson's comment would read: there is a spectrum of opinion on quality standards, and yes, people on the stricter end of the quality spectrum reason that a question not meeting quality standards should be closed with reason. The templates do not always do a good job of communicating the intentions of the voters. But there should be some good meta questions above that provide insight into the reasoning (of both sides.) $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Jul 22 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ "One annoying thing about this situation is that people who try to answer the question get penalized just for answering! That seems rather perverse. What is the reason?" Honestly, I have no idea what's perverse. Indeed what would be perverse IMO is to give positive feedback to users that answer questions that should not be answered. Putting on hold mostly means "should or can not be answered in the current form". Now of course reasonable people can disagree if it should be on hold. However if one thinks it should be on hold it is perfectly consistent to "penalize" the answer too. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 22 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ @herbsteinberg Perhaps a better dupe target would be this question? In any event, the crux of your complaint seems to be that "Off-Topic" doesn't really make sense. However, the SE software does not support more generic close reasons---even the fill-in-the-blank close option is filed under "Off-Topic". Hence anything other than dupe, unclear, too broad, or opinion based is off-topic. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Jul 22 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ I have yet to see a question taken off hold when modified. There was one situation where I modified a question (not mine) on hold to try to answer the objections. When I checked later my edits had been removed. It looked as if placing it on hold has to be permanent. $\endgroup$ – herb steinberg Jul 22 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ "I have yet to see a question taken off hold when modified." "It looked as if placing it on hold has to be permanent." Have you ever looked at math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/28692/… ? Many, many questions have been reopened after being closed, also undeleted after being deleted, herb. Can you give a link to where your edits were removed? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jul 22 at 22:14
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Yes, these are real people (in the sense that the accounts belong to at least one person).

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    $\begingroup$ How do you know? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jul 22 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson There are challenge-response tests (like CAPTCHA) that are regularly used to check if a user is human (and not a bot). I would consider the ability to earn enough reputation to be able to vote to close a question as a good indicator of "humanness." $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Jul 23 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ Fine, but how do you know they are people, as opposed to all being one person posting under many different logins? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jul 23 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson, I assume the moderators have tools to check if these accounts have a high likelihood of belonging to different people (for example, if two of these accounts are both active simultaneously but are from different geographical areas). But I do not have these tools, so I have modified my answer. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Jul 23 at 4:03

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