This question has been closed/held and marked off-topic: https://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/142117/what-are-dtd-schemas

Now, because I have a vague idea of what a DTD is, I can understand why. However the asker obviously doesn't know what a DTD is, hence the question. I suspect they came across it in a GML file (or other XML based GI format) and that's why they asked here.

Unfortunately for the user, the outcome of their question is that it is on hold and there's no feedback to the user as to why apart from it not being "on topic" and to ask on Stack Overflow.

Personally, were this to happen to my question when I was new here, I'd assume a bureaucratic and user-hostile community and stay away, but maybe I'm over-sensitive.

So, what's the best way to treat these questions?

2 Answers 2


You're right; it is preferable to leave a comment explaining why a question is closed. (Some questions don't get comments for various reasons: the mods may be busy or perhaps there are just so many things wrong that no single comment will suffice.)

What you, and any other community member (of 50+ reputation), can do to help in such situations is to post your own comment. In this case, e.g., you might write

Although I'm not sure why this was closed, perhaps it may be because the connection of DTD schemata with GIS is unclear: could you edit your post to help us understand it better?

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer. I was looking for the "Add a comment" link before posting this but didn't see it as it's below the "on hold" rather than above it (where I was looking), so assumed they weren't allowed for holds. Apr 13, 2015 at 9:58

If it hadn't been closed as off-topic, it would have been closed as unclear what they are asking.

I'm was unable to work out what they actually wanted to ask, and to be honest the first link in google (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document_type_definition#XML_DTD_schema_example) seems to answer the question (as written).

If the user edits the question to give some geographic context or an example that shows where they saw the term - we'll consider reopening.

  • 5
    But you are explaining here why the Q was off topic! The OP here is asking if/how to explain, where the Q is, why a Q is off topic.
    – Martin F
    Apr 11, 2015 at 20:14

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