# Close questions that have issues that cannot be reproduced?

Here's a question where the OP determined that his original problem was down to having the wrong part number:

128x64 OLED Display Issue

On other SE sites, there's a flag for that saying it should be closed on the grounds that such a mistake is unlikely to have any value to future readers.

What's the policy / procedure here? Should these get one of the more generic flags or be left open?

Edit

In response to the question by Ghanima, here's my quick and unofficial survey of other sites:

• Stack Overflow has a close option under "Off-Topic" that says:

This question was caused by a problem that can no longer be reproduced or a simple typographical error. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers. This can often be avoided by identifying and closely inspecting the shortest program necessary to reproduce the problem before posting."

The wording would need a modification to include hardware, but I'd argue that the question that I linked would fit into any reasonable HW analog to the "simple typographical error" part of that one.

• Math.SE does not have a specific close option for this case (or its analog), but my understanding is that the convention is to flag and close questions that result from "trivial" errors. Like if you said 2+2=5 on line 7 of your proof, they may point that out in a comment but they tend, in my observation, to close.
• Arduino.SE has the same (basically empty) "Off-Topic" menu as this site.
• Electronics.SE has a different menu that does not explicitly include the option suggested here but that might be interesting to look at if the question was put broader for things that should be listed explicitly under "Off-Topic".

I don't necessarily think the menu needs a modification, by the way. If the convention here is just to flag it under the catch-all "blatantly off-topic" option, that's fine. Just wondering if that really is the convention....

• Good question. I would like to hear from our community how to handle these. Could you point to some other stacks that follow that rule? It would be interesting to compare their targeted audience to ours as that might be of relevance to this decision? – Ghanima Jun 4 at 9:08
• Added a "survey" of options on other sites in response to the question by @Ghanima – Brick Jun 4 at 13:55
• That option has now been added to the "off-topic" reasons. – goldilocks Jun 26 at 13:23

I'm all for this too, although I think your example is not such a case. It is reproducible. I admit that opinion is debatable -- what it really comes down to is whether the question should be left as is, and I am inclined to, but am fine if the community feels otherwise and it is reflected in close votes. [Later: Changed my mind and closed it.]

With regard "too specific" (aka. "too localized") questions generally (e.g. "Oh whoops it was just a typo in some code I didn't post!"), flag them for deletion and vote to close them as off-topic.1

the grounds that such a mistake is unlikely to have any value to future readers

I'd mildly object to that wording as it is then possible to point to perfectly valid questions that are too obscure, of which I suspect we have a lot.

I do like "too localized", but it appears that on S.O. that was replaced by:

This question was caused by a problem that can no longer be reproduced or a simple typographical error. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers. This can often be avoided by identifying and closely inspecting the shortest program necessary to reproduce the problem before posting.

Which you'll find there in the "off-topic" sub-menu. We could ask for this to be added; technically you can do it manually via the "Other (add a comment to explain)" option.

1. Note that questions which are closed without upvotes or upvoted answers are eventually deleted by the system, unless they were closed as duplicates. See: https://meta.stackexchange.com/help/roomba
• I was a little loose for the meta on the language, but it would have to be carefully considered if it became a close option. You've posted the primary example that I had in mind from S.O. The example that I linked is technically reproducible, you're right, but it would fit into the HW analog of "simple typographical error". Anyone can enter the wrong part number, but there's no archival value to recording every time someone does. – Brick Jun 4 at 13:36
• See, you've changed my mind already -- in closing that question though I noticed a couple of things: 1) Having barely ever used the "add a comment to explain", I did not realize it posts an actual comment and not a more specific banner (which is probably why I have barely used it, since adding a comment myself is easy enough). 2) We can edit the off-topic reasons, but it requires more than one moderator in cooperation. So I will put this to the gang. – goldilocks Jun 4 at 14:04
• So how do we want to proceed? – Ghanima Jun 5 at 22:01
• I've seen the options under "Off-Topic" change a few times since this post, so I gather that the mods are experimenting? I'm in favor of adding a few options there, including the one that was suggested here. Seemed like that was in the mods' court though since regular users have not access to that list. @Ghanima – Brick Jun 6 at 13:53
• @brick, we are experimenting. I will get back to Goldilocks on how to make the change transparent to all users. – Ghanima Jun 6 at 14:04
• I was going to flag this question, which trivially dropped a sudo: raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/99583/… I looked for the "Other (add a comment to explain" option mentioned in the question, and I don't see it. I wonder if that's only available to mods or in review? – Brick Jun 14 at 14:00

If enough people downvote (as not useful) it will be closed.

• I think that's not true if it has an accepted answer. (Can someone confirm?) Also, voting participation is not high on this site. – Brick Jun 5 at 12:48
• No, that's not true. Maybe you were thinking about auto-deleting of closed questions, which is not working if there is an accepted answer, see (7) – Ghanima Jun 5 at 22:16
• The answer is terse, so maybe I misunderstood. Downvoting does not automatically close a question, does it? Is the suggestion that downvoting is an alternative to flagging for closure or that downvoting make closure more likely when it's reviewed? @Ghanima – Brick Jun 6 at 13:51
• @Brick I meant that there is no mechanism to close question only due to downvotes. It might make it more likely for users to cast close votes too but again, it does not close it no matter how many downvotes it collects. – Ghanima Jun 6 at 14:03
• Ah, I thought it was "no" to my comment, but I guess it's "no" to the answer.... :) @Ghanima – Brick Jun 6 at 14:04