Often questions are closed/set on hold with the reason that it is unclear what is asked. In almost all of those cases I come across I'm more or less certain that's not the real reason because it is too obvious what's being asked.

put on hold as unclear what you're asking by moderator x min ago

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If a question doesn't fit the rules that's something else entirely as it being unclear what's being asked.

For me it is often very much unclear what is asked of the one who asked the question. Other closure reasons like too broad or too subjective tend to be more helpful.

Therefor I want to know if it is possible to make this closure reason more clear.

The example I wanted to give was reopened after a system tag was added. I would never have guessed that would be a solution - hence it's unclear, at least for me.

To be more clear: I do not want to say the closures are unwarranted but it is often unclear what is unclear about the question. And for the one asking the question in the first place it would help a lot to be told more exactly what is unclear about the question.

And sometimes I feel this closure reason is used when a mod feels a question should be improved but all other closure reasons don't fit. But that makes it hard to improve the answer.

In this example the question was clearly not a good one but I still feel it is very clear what was being asked (that's why I answered it despite close votes). Being more clear with the question's problems would have been more encouraging for a potential new member.


1 Answer 1


The built-in close reason wordings are hardcoded and the same on every Stack in the network to ensure consistency in the basic SE rules. We don't have the ability to customise how the Unclear reason is worded. To change the wording, the Stack developers would have to change it on every Stack. To get it changed would require making a clear case on Meta SE for a network-wide rewording and having it gain a lot of support.

Someone does generally leave a message when the reason for a question being unclear isn't obvious, which did happen in the first case (with two users asking for the system to be clarified before and as it was closed). It seems like the closure happened as it was supposed to and was accompanied by sufficient guidance on what needed fixing.

In the latter example it looks like people just think how the question is unclear is sufficiently obvious that it requires no comment; either that, or its so unclear that no-one knew what to even ask for to be changed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for clearing this up. I did not know it was the same for every SE. \$\endgroup\$
    – Umbranus
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 6:37

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