Based on the most highly upvoted answer to Re-revisiting the "don't guess the system" policy, it's pretty clear that this policy is here to stay.

One of the things I hate about how the policy works in practice is closing the question as "unclear" (I know they've changed the wording for half the close reasons, but I still think in terms of the old wording), even when the question is blindingly obvious. In cases where the question is clear, but simply lacks a tag (or other explicit mention of the system) it feels like lying to the user. If there's a whole quote from the D&D 5e DMG, for example, with page numbers and everything, then it is not unclear in the least; it is only for the sake of the policy (and all the reasoning behind that) that it is being closed.

Whether it is right to close it is for the other post linked above; I'm just stating facts. In the example above, it is not unclear, but under our policy, it must be closed anyway. I'm not arguing for whether it should be closed or not; it must be closed, and that's just how it is, but let's not pretend it's unclear when it isn't. Let's not pretend it's not obvious when it is.

Hence I propose, if it is possible, for us to have a new close reason, and when a question comes in that doesn't have a system tag (but needs one), then, unless it's actually unclear for other reasons, it should instead be closed as this new reason.

In other words, if we're going to do this, let's do it properly.

This isn't just a rant (I know I am coming across as a bit ranty; I can't hide that I'm not happy about the policy decision); I also believe it will help the user to understand why their question was closed. Being closed as "unclear", or whatever the new warning says, doesn't really tell them anything, especially if their question is actually very well presented and clear besides the lack of a tag/explicit system mention.

Sure, they might have a bunch of comments saying "You need to tell us this and that", but having a formal close reason:

  1. more effectively communicates to the user why their question has been closed without even needing to read the comments;
  2. makes it seem more "official" rather than just being picked on by users (for new users who may interpret it that way), and;
  3. we can include in the close reason warning a link to some meta question or help page (if we're allowed to edit the help centre at all) explaining what they need to do (which might also help prevent the user from simply saying "5e" in a comment or edit, which still isn't good enough, whereas a close reason with links explaining what is needed might be taken more seriously.

I think having its own close reason would make this policy work better, if we must have it at all.

Is this possible, and if so, is there any reason why this would actually be a bad idea?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if it's time to re-look at whether "belongs on boardgames.se" is a better use of our custom slot than something like this would be? Anyone have the SEDE skills to see how many questions in, say, the last year, have been closed with that reason? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Mar 19, 2020 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Unfortunately, as the accepted answer (by SSD) of the dupe (or rather, the Q&A that mine is a dupe of) already mentioned, if we did replace that with my suggestion, it would show as "off topic", even though the question is on topic, it's just missing a tag. It's almost like we'd need a brand new, unique close reason outside of the custom "off topic because ..." slots we already have, which will never happen... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Mar 19, 2020 at 15:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, it's... not ideal. I just hope: if we could show SE that we rarely use one of the canned reasons, but we have this one that crops up at least weekly... maybe that'd put a little more weight on the "let's figure out how to let sites communicate what they need communicated" side of the scale. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Mar 19, 2020 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 That's a lot of hope... far more than I have in SE given their recent actions over the past few months. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Mar 19, 2020 at 16:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's understandable. Let's see how their status-review experiment goes.... (Community and Moderator guidelines for escalating issues via new response process (March-April 2020)) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Mar 19, 2020 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's also worth noting that all custom close reasons are first listed as "off-topic", with the custom reason being given as the specific reason why. I don't think "not specifying the system" makes it "off-topic" by any stretch of the imagination regardless of any policy we may have... \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 20, 2020 at 6:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Yeah, that was the jist of my first comment to nitsua60 (after having read the dupe you found), and I can see that it would cause more confusion than it solves. Unless we had a brand new close reason outside of the current "custom off-topic" closures, which ain't gonna happen, then this solution isn't really viable. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Mar 20, 2020 at 8:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS: Oh, whoops. I didn't notice that :P \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 20, 2020 at 8:43