I'm becoming concerned about the frequency of votes to close questions with the reason "Unclear what you are asking". More often than not I find that the question (IMO) is perfectly clear and can't see any reason for the vote to close it and I regularly vote against the crowd. In other circumstances, there is a vote to close a question which admittedly needs a little clarification from the OP but it is very new (sometimes less than an hour old). It seems a bit harsh to be voting to close a new question when the OP hasn't been given a reasonable chance to edit it and provide the additional detail which may have been requested in a comment.

So, my question is this: does this reason for closure need to be revised in some way?

I have a couple of suggestions how:

  1. Make it time limited - you can't vote to close a question on the grounds that it is unclear before x number of hours after it was posted.
  2. And/or voting "Unclear" requires a reason why the question is unclear and a request for further information so it can't be such an 'easy' option for a closure vote.

I don't advocate doing away with this reason as there are some circumstances when it is appropriate. I am just concerned that it is being used too often and inappropriately.


2 Answers 2


I agree that some questions that appear perfectly fine have received votes to close. This would have been a concern before the changes in the closing procedure earlier this year, but now it is hard to see why there is any problem. We no longer close questions at first, but rather just put them "on hold" with an explicit request for improvement. A question in this state is not actually closed unless two days have passed without change. Arguably, then, any question that needs some kind of clarification ought immediately to be put in a held state pending the resolution of the concern.

  • 7
    +1 I also think that "on hold" is exactly the right kind of action for such problems.
    – underdark
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 18:45
  • 4
    I agree - the "on hold" ensures that the OP doesn't ignore it if they care about the question. Its a very useful social aspect that counters the increasing number of vague / broad questions that are "thrown out there" with an expectation that some kind soul will do all the work and post a solution (for a homework problem, or someone's contract job).
    – BradHards
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 1:05

I think the frequency of close votes with a reason of "Unclear what you are asking " is about right at the moment.

When it gets too high the natural brake is the re-open vote which I use if I think a question has been closed prematurely.

If it gets too low then the consequence can be a dozen Comments seeking to clarify what is being asked before anyone ventures an Answer, or early Answers only loosely related to an eventually clarified Question.

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