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In the help center, we currently say that:

[If your question is] is not about general computer networking, software and hardware, you're in the right place!

I propose that we write a custom closure reason for posts that have misunderstood this, for example:

  • How do I change my router connection settings?
  • How do I slow down a specific site with my router?
  • How do I reuse my old modem?
  • Do Ethernet cables need to be connected to the router?
  • What do these router messages mean?

(for reference, we've had 14 posts closed as off-topic in the last 90 days)

Almost all of these are being closed with the following reason:

This question does not appear to be about Internet of Things, within the scope defined in the help center.

Clearly, many people are misunderstanding what the site scope is—presumably, they see Internet and assume our site is about Internet-related problems. This isn't at all true, so their questions are closed.

To give users some more guidance, I propose that we add a specific closure reason, under off topic because...:

General networking, software and hardware questions are not on-topic for this site — the Internet of Things is about physical devices with electronics that interact with the world. General questions about computer hardware, software and networking may be on-topic at Super User instead.

Hopefully, this would give our users some more information about why their question isn't about IoT, and save some time for users closing. I don't anticipate any change in the site scope with this reason; only giving more information to those who would have had their question closed anyway.

Would this closure reason be useful? Any tweaks, or other off-topic reasons that could also be helpful?

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I am a fan of the generic reason:

This question does not appear to be about Internet of Things, within the scope defined in the help center.

It links to the helpcenter which is the place that should outline the scope of the site. If people misunderstand it this is where the text needs to be tweaked or explained better.

That being said, if boilerplate messages fail - be they the helpcenter or a modified close reason - it is most likely because they tend to be very generic (and understandably so). Specific information can and should be provided via comments on a case by case basis.

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  • That reason would still stick around to cover cases which are completely off-topic; this would be another reason in addition to the more broad option. Although, if you have any suggestions about how we could edit the generic reason, please go ahead—I think that one could do with a bit of tweaking to be less vague. Another thing I'm hoping that this reason might do is give people a nudge in the right direction when suggesting which site to move a question to. I've seen some suggestions to migrate to sites that are just wrong, so this reason might help with that. – Aurora0001 May 14 '17 at 9:29
  • @Aurora0001 fair points, but that can be done via comments as well, which I believe is what Ghanima is saying. – anonymous2 May 14 '17 at 10:54
  • @anonymous2 Which is fine... As long as people don't recommend asking on sites that are wrong, or give advice that isn't really appropriate. Having some reasonably specific closure reasons might guide users voting to close to give more useful advice, as well as commenting where appropriate. Still, open to just keeping the default reason if that's more helpful. – Aurora0001 May 14 '17 at 11:55
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    @Aurora0001 I am not really opposed to giving your idea a try. Just go about it and see if it helps. And of course that answer should be closed as opinion-based ;) – Ghanima May 14 '17 at 16:28
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Honestly I'd give us a few more months before creating a custom close reason. I am not going to elaborate this a lot more beyond the point that I don't think we should use one of our custom reasons yet. Sure one can rephrase or more precisely recreate custom reasons but we don't have the volume of closed questions yet to warrant a custom reason in my opinion.

Basically I'm saying: Let's wait a bit. Let's get to 500/1000 questions then make a decision.

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  • Perhaps. I'm just thinking it's worth a try, and if the close reason doesn't end up being useful, then we can later remove it/replace it with better reasons. It's hard to know if it will be useful, but I certainly find myself recommending Super User far too often! – Aurora0001 May 17 '17 at 14:42
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    @Aurora0001, just install an auto comments script. ;) Seriously, I find myself agreeing with Helmar and Ghanima. There's no real rush, and we'll know better / with more certainty when we get to 1000 questions or so exactly what we want. – anonymous2 May 26 '17 at 12:05

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