I've recently noticed a couple questions that seemed like "make me some suggestions for this homebrew idea I had". I voted to close both as an off-topic Shopping/Recommendation request, as to me they both seemed like asking for recommendations and idea generation, which is clearly off-topic here. I see that both were actually closed as opinion-based. This makes sense as homebrew ideas would be opinion-based, without a clear way to determine a "best" answer. I, however, have a (possibly mis-) conception that "on-topic" close reasons can generally be improved to be good questions, whereas these clearly cannot.

Which of these close reasons is the better option?


I have often seen "too broad" and "opinion based" as reasons to close homebrew requests. I'd recommend using "opinion based" as the close reason.


I still wish we had an 'idea generation' custom close reason. This is yet another case where it would serve us well and where we are using 'too broad' and 'opinion based' as unhelpful and misapplied substitutes for it. We may dislike idea generation in general because of the large number ('too broad') of taste-based (opinion) answers, but neither close reason is clearly applicable to any given specific instance and the names and associated text is patently useless to a user receiving such information in response to an idea generation question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In what way are 'primarily opinion based' or 'too broad' misapplied or not applicable? Being one or the other or both is the whole issue with the instances of these questions we close. (Many questions involve coming up with some ideas.) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 24 '17 at 12:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I'm with tdw a bit here: it's not that POB or too broad are facially poor fits, but the accompanying explanatory text does so little for the querent. Of course, that's what the "other (explain your reasoning)" bullet point is for, which I usually use in these cases. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 24 '17 at 12:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Previous metas: a custom off-topic reason suggestion for idea generation, and a follow-up Should we make a new policy for idea solicitation questions?. The accepted answer at +10 says: "A question that says "do you have an idea" is not automatically bad and therefore a policy directed against that would be fallacious. We have rules against pure opinion, unclear questions, and way too broad, and that's all that's required to cover this use case" \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 24 '17 at 13:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Presently we seem to do well enough by voting to close with an applicable reason, and using comments to explain whatever the issue is. A custom "idea generation" off topic close reason could encourage people to close questions that say "do you have an idea" (not inherently bad) which we would not ever close for any other reason, because they take the existence of such a close reason as a signal they should be closed. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 24 '17 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener 'do you have an idea' may not automatically be a bad question but a question whose purpose is the generation of ideas is always a bad question. Whether something is 'too broad' or 'primarily opinion based' is subjective, but we close questions like this already under one or the other of those reasons regardless of the fact that an equally broad or equally opinion-based question that wasn't an endless generation of ideas would be on topic. That's a sign to me that this is not actually what's going on. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 24 '17 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Closure is a 3000 rep privilege. If we have a custom 'idea-generation' close reason that says that 'idea-generation' questions have to a small list and a clear method of evaluating the quality of ideas posited as answers, I think the community could handle that. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 24 '17 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Bottom line is we can't. We only get 3 custom close reasons, and "that's a video game," "that's a board game," and "that's a shopping question" by far lead the leaderboard on off topic asks, so those are the 3 we have. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Mar 25 '17 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Oh, we only get 3? I wasn't aware of that. I thought we got as many as we wanted/could convince the site admin people we wanted and we only had three at present. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 25 '17 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Though now that I think about it, "that's a video game" and "that's a board game" could be merged into a single "video and board games are not RPGs as defined by this site and questions about them should be asked on their respective sites." closure, if we ever needed to. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 25 '17 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ And in the end rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/a/5429/140 still applies. Questions aren't bad because someone asks for ideas. They're bad because they ask a too broad, opinion-based, or unclear question. I've added a clause on idea gen to rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5758/… Homebrew is on topic here, it just needs to be asked correctly, see also rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/homebrew \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Mar 25 '17 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer The video game one is already a merge of two previous ones (video game playing and video game design), and it's already crammed full to the character limit with the necessary text and links. There's no room to merge in boardgames and a link to boardgames.se. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 25 '17 at 20:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Alright, alright (grumble grumble) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 25 '17 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apparently we could beg Dev for our custom reason limit to be raised to 4 (which is hard limit, apparently), but we have to have a really, really good reason that's central to good site functioning, to get it on their to-do list. Idea generation doesn't seem to rise to that level, though it's definitely useful to have a boilerplate comment for them. You're not imagining that idea generation is a noteworthy category we've been closing. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 25 '17 at 20:33

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