We get these like once a week. They are off-topic. They are too localized. Can we add this as a specific off-topic reason in the help tour or something? I feel like there has to be some way to let newbies know this in advance so we aren't constantly closing down first-time questions and/or first-time SE users.


The "what to write" close reason currently reads:

This question appears to be off-topic because asking what to write or asking for help rephrasing a sentence or passage are both off-topic here, as such questions are very unlikely to help anybody else.

(There are links in there, but I didn't reconstruct them here.)

"Help me write X", where the OP is asking for text, seems to be a "what to write" question.

Based on a suggestion in a comment, I've modified the "what to writer" entry in the help center on-topic page. This is in the "what not to ask" list:

  • Asking how to write a particular kind of email, letter, memo, or other correspondence -- or, more generally. asking "what should I write about" (more about this here).
  • What I'm looking for is something which can be read before the person posts something. In the help section there's the On-Topic part of the FAQ, which has a list of "don't ask these." (Questions seeking to interpret or analyze an existing work. Proofreading requests. etc.) I'm thinking more like adding "How to write a particular kind of email, letter, memo, or other correspondence." – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Feb 5 '16 at 10:57
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    @LaurenIpsum oh, I see! Yes, that sounds like a good idea. See my update. – Monica Cellio Feb 5 '16 at 20:14
  • if I may nitpick, can we split them up? I don't think someone who's never been here before will understand the difference, and they are both important. so: [1] • Asking how to write a particular kind of email, letter, memo, or other correspondence [2] • Asking "what should I write about" (more about this here) – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Feb 5 '16 at 20:48
  • "What should I write about" can be homework, fiction, news, nonfiction, etc. That's a different kind of off-topic than "Help me write a reminder email." – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Feb 5 '16 at 20:50
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    @LaurenIpsum the list is already pretty long (too long IMO) at 8 bullets -- the on-topic list has only 6, for comparison. Please take a look in context -- maybe you can suggest a reworking of that list that also incorporates this without expanding it even more? If so, please propose it in an answer for better visibility. Thanks! – Monica Cellio Feb 5 '16 at 21:24
  • I think you're right; it does work in context. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Feb 5 '16 at 22:32

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