SE recently changed its policy regarding closures to "On Hold" and then "Closed." I would like to propose another option: Redirection. Take the following question: Why are so many African countries poor?[closed]

Let me show how the question is misguided and could be redirected:

African countries are poor because they live in a fatalistic and corrupt culture where people cannot get ahead in life due to the viscious cycles of poverty directly connected to their culture, and religion, which for some is Islam, some Christianity, and some Voodoo/Spiritism. The cycle of poverty is itself a huge topic involving countless factors.

It would be nice if I could post an explanation telling the guy that he would be better off studying poverty cycles in general than history. He needs to be redirected to poverty cycles. However, I cannot tell him that because the question is "closed." Even though I have 2k rep I can't communicate to him how to approach his problem.

Either instead of or in addition to closing questions we should explain how to approach the question and "redirect" them towards the proper topic.

This is a helpful alternative to stonewalling inquisitive minds. I'm not saying closing is bad, I'm saying that closing should at least leave the door open to suggestions on how to approach the problem effectively.

Basically: our "closed" questions should be comparable to where encyclopedias don't have an entry but refer the reader to another word where the desired information is found.

Some questions are irredeemable and re-direction is unfeasible such as trivia questions about hallmark cards. For those we could merely say something like, "Historians on Stack Exchange are unfamiliar with Hallmark cards due to their trivial nature and lack of historical relevance, please search elsewhere on the internet."

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    "It would be nice if I could post an explanation telling the guy that he would be better off studying poverty cycles in general than history." You always have the option of posting a comment. Explaining the closure and pointing to relevant resources would be an excellent use case for comments.
    – yannis
    Aug 5, 2013 at 9:55
  • @YannisRizos "comments disabled on deleted / locked posts / reviews"
    – Dale
    Aug 5, 2013 at 19:31
  • Ah, the post is locked, that's a special case. Locks are extremely rare, and more often than not they are temporary. You shouldn't have a problem commenting on a normal closed question.
    – yannis
    Aug 5, 2013 at 19:45
  • I know typically I only lock a post when we start getting new 1 rep users posting unserious joke/troll answers. However, I've rarely gone back and unlocked one, because I'm not sure how to find them later (and I have the memory of a gadfly). Perhaps there's a mod tool for that hidden somewhere I'm unaware of...
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Aug 9, 2013 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


I think the idea of redirection is very nice, but I doubt Stack wants to add yet another "close" state for a question, plus Yannis correctly pointed out that you can normally comment on a question that is closed, but not locked. I think you just ran into a rare question.


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