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TL;DR We need a better flag reason for questions about tech support for modded Minecraft.

Yes, yes, I know, we have discussed this 4 years ago, but so far the only changes in hope of solving this issue is the update of the /help/on-topic page, and lots of meta posts and discussions. Apparently, we're still getting these tech support for modded Minecraft questions, aka half of the unsolvable questions on Arqade.

Now, as I found out only recently, the best flag reason for closing these questions is marking it as too broad or unclear what you're asking. It is the best solution we have, but it's not good enough. We can do better.

Why isn't the current solution good enough?

First of all, it simply feels wrong flagging an off-topic question as too broad or unclear what you're asking instead of off-topic.

Yes, we have comments to tell the OP why it's off-topic, but we could save some precious time by not having to do that, and have the flag reason do it for us.

There's a good enough reason to call these questions too broad and unclear, right? No. What this actually does, is motivates the OP to add a comment like "I have Windows 10 and I have tried EVERYTHING. Help plzzz!", or in the worse cases, edit the question and add more information to it, which does not help us in any way, because the question is probably still unsolvable. It just brings more attention to the question and casts an automatic reopen vote.

Why should we have a whole closing reason just for modded Minecraft tech support? That's such an insignificant thing, right? Well, it is kind of a narrow topic, but it is a common thing to see, which is why we made it off-topic in the first place. I'd even say it would be the most used off-topic closing reason, along with game-recs.

What is the solution we're looking for?

We've already done the first step, mentioning the off-topicness of this on the /help/on-topic page (thanks @Wipqozn ♦).

The next step is creating the flag reason. How do we do it? I would suggest something similar to what our fellow @Robotnik ♦ did in his answer to the same question:

This question has been placed on hold as Off-topic by <Users>:

Questions that request technical support for modded Minecraft are off-topic. This includes crashes, errors, and issues arising when using mods and modpacks as well as Forge and other mod loader issues. We allow an exception for unmodded or 'Vanilla' Minecraft, please see How do I ask a good Minecraft Bug/Crash Question?.

For the user flagging, it could look like this:

Off-topic flagging.

P.S. Notice how in the flagging options for off-topic, the phrase "off-topic" is sometimes written without, and sometimes with the hyphen:

Questions about unreleased or illegal content are off topic on Arqade

 

Blatantly off-topic

  • Can we even change "blatently off topic" and would that even be useful? As far as I know, that flag translates to type your own in the vote interface – Unionhawk Jun 21 at 18:44
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    Pretty sure that flagging a question as blatantly off-topic just pushes the question into the close review queue. It is up to users with 3k rep to them determine how to handle it. Personally, I really don't like closing these as unclear or too broad, because it gives wrong information to the asker about what's wrong. They can't change that; it's just off-topic. No amount of editing will fix it, unless they can reproduce it without any mods at all. – Frank Jun 21 at 19:19
  • One (probably pretty weak) arguement against this: I follow the minecraft tag, read my mails multiple times per day and always vote to close these whenever I encounter them, so as long as it's tagged with that, it gets resolved within at most a day usually (because reviewers then get it in their close vote review queue). Also, I think that flagging as "too broad" is totally fine. That's exactly the reason why we disallow them, because there can be millions of reasons why a super complex modpack crashes. – Fabian Röling Jul 4 at 17:57
  • @FabianRöling Yes, our active helpers, like you, dly, Roijan and so many others do make the situation better by reviewing these posts, but don't solve it. – Quijibo Jul 5 at 7:05
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The problem with this suggestion is... we've hit our cap on custom off-topic close reasons; we can't have more than 4. If we wanted to fit in modded Minecraft crashes, we'd either have to merge two close reasons together, making the wording awkward or confusing, or add Minecraft questions to one of the existing close reasons, which has the same issues.

When flagging, I think the best choice you have is to pick "Blatantly off-topic", as most users with closing privileges know about the modded Minecraft questions situations. And no, it is not possible to edit the "Blatantly off-topic" reason. That option is only found when flagging a post, it is not possible to vote to close a question as "Blatantly off-topic". Since it is not a close reason, we have no way of editing it.

It's worth noting that this issue only exists for flags, not close votes. When voting to close, it is possible to fill a custom message, which is what you see under some questions as "I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because...". Typing the same reason over and over is annoying, but it's the best way to work around this problem.

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    If you are worried about rejected flags, just make a comment saying we dont support modded minecraft support. hopefully the reviewers would at least notice the comment if they dont notice the reason from the question itself – Dragonrage Jun 21 at 18:48
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    With the main point being, it shouldn't be the new user's problem, but ours. Why even have a cap on custom flag reasons, when all it does is create awkward situations? Anyway, the blatantly off-topic flag reason is the best way to go currently -- but how to make people do so? – RudolfJelin Jun 22 at 5:26
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    That's a bummer. I do agree with @RudolfJelin though. We probably will have more similar problems in the future that will be unsolvable if we can't solve this. – Quijibo Jun 22 at 14:26
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    Do you have stats on how often our existing custom close reasons have been used? If these minecraft ones are more frequent, it might be worth replacing one anyway. – Troyen Jun 23 at 22:00
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    @Troyen This page (10k+ reputation link) has the information you seek. The most common custom close reasons are modded Minecraft, game recommendations, and game identification, all of which have about the same number of closed questions. The close reasons for game design/development and unreleased or illegal content are more rare, but I'm not sure it'd be worth it to remove one of them. Feel free to post an answer suggesting a course of action if you think replacing a custom close reason would be beneficial. – Wrigglenite Jun 23 at 22:14
  • Shouldn't the "Game Design and Development" reason just be grouped under "This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network"? Because that would open up a spot here for another custom off-topic reason. – Steve-o169 Jul 1 at 17:38
  • @Steve-o169 "This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network" is not a close reason, it is a request for migration. We can't edit that either, we can only change the sites for migration. Even if we could, just because something is off-topic here, that doesn't mean it is automatically on-topic for another network site, so I would be against grouping up those reasons. – Wrigglenite Jul 1 at 17:44
  • Is there any information about how many questions closed as Off-Topic for that reason are actually appropriate for the GameDev SE site? I'm trying to write a query to determine this, but I'm not all that familiar with the SE data structure. – Steve-o169 Jul 1 at 18:41
  • @Steve-o169 I can tell you how many questions were migrated to GameDev in the last year: two. – Wrigglenite Jul 1 at 18:46
  • That doesn't really answer my question. Migration currently requires a mod to manually initiate that action. The number would probably be larger if it were an option to suggest a question for migration. I guess my point is in line with Troyen's answer -- makes more sense to use a valuable custom reason for the more common type of question, IMO. – Steve-o169 Jul 1 at 18:56
  • Stack Overflow appears to have 5 off-topic close reasons. – pppery Jul 11 at 23:45
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If this is a big issue, and since we're capped at four custom close reasons, then perhaps we should replace one of the lesser-used custom close reasons.

Wrigglenite pointed out there's a 10k moderation page that shows how frequently each close reason is used. I don't have 10k, nor do roughly half the active meta voters this month, so we'll have to rely on you guys for details on how big of a problem this is.

Per Wrigglenite:

The most common custom close reasons are modded Minecraft, game recommendations, and game identification, all of which have about the same number of closed questions. The close reasons for game design/development and unreleased or illegal content are more rare, but I'm not sure it'd be worth it to remove one of them.

The custom close reasons are designed to help the community handle common situations, so if we're having to manually specify text for a hundred modded Minecraft questions in order to keep the game rec close reason we may be using five times a month, then we're not getting the full benefit of our custom close reasons. If the difference is closer to 15 Minecraft questions to 5 game rec questions, then the benefit of swapping out a close reason is more questionable.

Just because something isn't specifically called out in the custom close reasons doesn't mean it's on-topic, so this won't be a broadening of the site scope. It's purely a way to help the community deal with common situations.

Thus, I propose we go with whichever set requires the least amount of custom reason typing.

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    I don't know about that. Removing an already existing flag reason would cause more problems, confusion, posts on meta like this one, ... The existing community got "used" to this issue, it's mainly the new user's (like me) concern. Removing something that we already have is going to cause problems even for the old part of the community. The rare flags are uncommon, but belong where they are needed to be. – Quijibo Jun 25 at 3:02
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    I don't know about that. I'm in other communities that have swapped out close reasons just fine. But again, I don't have the data to know how big of a problem this is. If there's only like three Minecraft mod questions a month, then it's not really worth doing. Closer to a hundred and it certainly would be. (For total numbers, looks like 2000 questions were closed last year and 2500 close flags were raised.) – Troyen Jun 25 at 8:17

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