Often there are these very personal questions. They may be closed as home-work or as self-help, but often I have to write a personal message to OP. For example, these recent questions are 1) about the design of an experiment which is really only of benefit to OP, and 2) a medical observation, but not really of medical concern and therefore born out of scientifically curiosity but nonetheless oriented on OP alone:

  1. https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/34180/ideas-for-a-research-experiment
  2. Why are there ghost images of objects just out of focus

Can we not add a close-vote reason for a question to be targeted too much to one person? I mean, a good question should be interesting not only to OP, but to the wider community.

At CogSci.SE they recently changed their self-help closing-message into:

Questions about the behavior of an individual person are off-topic. If you are concerned about a potential medical issue, please seek the advice of a medical professional. For more information, see Why was my self-help question closed as off-topic?.

Now the "behavior" part is not suitable for Bio, but we also could modify the self-help close-vote message from

Personal medical questions and health advice are off-topic on Biology. We cannot safely answer questions for your specific situation and you should always consult a doctor for medical advice


Questions about an individual person are off-topic in Biology. Such questions include personal questions on education and career paths, and personal medical questions and health advice. We cannot safely answer questions for your specific situation and you should always consult a doctor for medical advice

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good luck. I am still waiting for the homework close reason to be changed. $\endgroup$
    – dustin
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ @dustin This will probably happen once we leave the beta status (which is close). $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 18:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @dustin You didn't only propose a clarification of the close reason, your change would also change site policy to some degree. We need to agree on policy first before writing the custom close reasons. We need rules on when exactly to require context and/or the user's own effort or thoughts. $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2015 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ SO has a close option of "too localized". I can't see it now when I try to VTC but I have seen posts closed with that as a reason. $\endgroup$
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG - too specific, yes indeed $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ Personal experiences without documentation are anecdotal evidences and therefore off-topic $\endgroup$
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 10:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG That close reason was removed at some point because it was misused more often than used correctly. Too many people interpreted it rather too widely, and e.g. closed questions that only apply to certain countries. The actual idea of the "too localized" reason was to close questions that are likely of no value to anyone but the asker. $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2015 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ @MadScientist, the wording may have been flawed then. "Too specific" is more apt than "too localized", from my point of view $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ I hope you're not planning to close my one and only question… $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer - oh no, never :) $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 21:11

2 Answers 2


I strongly dislike overloading custom close reasons with different reasons that aren't strongly connected in some way. It makes the reasons much harder to read and can easily be confusing.

Custom close reasons also should only represent the most common close reasons, they don't need to cover every possible close reason.

The first question is a recommendation question and should be closed for that reason, there's no need for a custom reason in this case.

I'm not sure if the second one should be closed, it can be read as a question about a general phenomenon.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They are examples. It happens a lot that it's closed as homework and OP becoming agitated while the real close reason is that it's only of interest to OP. Further, we could add the close reason instead of lengthening the existing one. It would save me a lot of time for sure :) $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 20:59

To add on to Mad Scientist's answer, there used to be a close reason "Too Localised". It was removed as it was abused, but there is no reason whatsoever you cannot close for a custom reason, if it indeed is useless to the other users of the site.


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