Can we get a "Too trivial" close vote for questions that would force very similar answers?

For example this one: Ration your integers and feed the people

After the edit the question allowed only for one single sane implementation of the algorithm and the only thing that would differ is the choice of the language: Ration your integers and feed the people


3 Answers 3


I am divided on the "too trivial" issue, but would find it acceptable if it were worded in a way that is positively constructive to the user receiving it.

Too Narrow

There are either too few possible ways to answer, or answers would only differ in the language used.

It tells users what went wrong. Some users will see this and explore their options, leading them to learn more about the site. Users that don't like to explore will simply give up and leave, which is hardly a disadvantage, or react negatively, which is a side effect of all close reasons.

Credit to Geobits for the "Too Narrow" alternative and some of the reasoning behind it.


To get this going I'll just propose a possible wording of the close reason:

The task is too trivial, most answers would be using exactly the same algorithm and only differ in the choice of language.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think that avoiding the word "trivial" would be better. No matter the intent, people get offended when you tell them a question they've posed is "too trivial", since they read it as "you're an idiot". I don't have a great alternative, so this is a comment. Perhaps something along the lines of "This challenge is too narrow(?), and would not allow creativity or etc, etc in the answers." It would complement the "too broad" reason well, but I'm not so sure of a good wording for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    Mar 31, 2014 at 13:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Geobits Feel free to create a competing answer with “too narrow” or similar, the voters will decide which one is better! :) The wording does not need to be perfect, we have comments for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – TimWolla
    Mar 31, 2014 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm thinking about it, I just want to get something more before I write one up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    Mar 31, 2014 at 13:31

I don't think this is a good idea. While there are definitely a couple of questions here and there that may fit your intention, the problem is that many fine questions might seem too trivial only to people who are unable to think of an interesting answer. I can easily see this being frequently misused.

Instead, perhaps a too constrained close reason would be clearer, and it would cover your examples without as much possibility for misuse.

The requirements of this challenge are too constrained. For this type of challenge, the rules as stated severely limit the possibilities for potential answers. Requirements of this nature tend to reduce answers to versions of the same algorithm differing only in language.

Even that, I dislike, although I would still find it acceptable. Really, though, there are three very general question types relevant here:

  1. Challenges that work really well.
  2. Challenges that are questionable, leading to debates in comments and on meta.
  3. Challenges that are obviously very poor.

The first is not an issue. The third is already taken care of with close votes. It's the second that we seem to be concerned with here. However, in reality, it's OK if a few of these stick around on the site for a while. If you see a questionable challenge like this, and you think it is a poor challenge, down vote it. Let the down votes do the speaking for borderline questions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "Might seem too trivial only to people who are unable to think of an interesting answer" seems completely backwards. To take an example that I've seen more than once, "Count from 1 to N" is trivial whether or not you can think of a crazy over-complicated way of doing it, and the trivial solution is going to be the best on any reasonable measure. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 12:56

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