Often, and I mean very often, I see questions closed or on hold for the reason of

Unclear what you're asking

Though the question is very clear and understandable, it was just voted unclear because it had some problems (e.g. bonusses, "do x without y", etc.), and it was the only usable report option.

Can't there be some PPCG-exclusive more specific report reason, e.g.

Doesn't fit with the standard rules

? That would make alot of things clearer and more organized.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In my experience, the most common reason for a close (after duplicates) is a lack of victory condition. Maybe we should have something to signify that, specifically? \$\endgroup\$
    – Pavel
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 7:09

2 Answers 2


Unclear what you're asking means just that: it is unclear what you are asking for in your challenge spec. In almost all cases, further details should be left by the close voters as comments.

While bonuses are discouraged, they don't make a challenge unclear, unless the specification of the bonus criteria itself is unclear. A do X without Y challenge doesn't have to be unclear, but it's very difficult to specify them properly. Unlike downvotes, close votes (if successful) aren't anonymous anyway, so there's no reason to not comment on the challenge.

Please note that using any of the things to avoid when writing challenges doesn't make a challenge off topic. These are mere guidelines which can (and oftentimes will) earn the OP a few downvotes, but unless it actually breaks an established rule, a challenge shouldn't be closed for ignoring them.

Finally, the close reasons are (mostly) the same on all Stack Exchange sites; the only thing we can customize are the off topic reasons. Since a challenge that is merely unclear is not off topic, that doesn't help us here.


We only get a limited number of custom close reasons. Unless we have a really really really good reason to use one, we're not going to. People don't (or at least shouldn't) vote to close because they dislike the challenge. If a challenge is closed as unclear, it's almost certainly unclear (meaning it's hard to understand what the goal of the challenge is, or there are multiple possible interpretations of the challenge).


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