Today I tried to flag a question as off-topic, because it has nothing to do with academia. The three options given to me for the reason for this were,

  • cannot be generalized to apply to others in similar situations
  • about problems facing undergraduate students
  • belongs on another SE site

These are three very specific reasons that do not cover a wide swathe of other possibilities. This question, which may superficially appear as a dupe (but is not a dupe), shows a fourth option being offered: "Other". However, I do not see the "other" option.

I suspect that "Other" is shown in the vote-to-close dialog, but not in the Flag one (but I can't confirm this as I can't vote to close on this site). Hence, effectively, "Other" is only available to those with certain rep.

Is this discrepancy deliberate? Without an "Other" option for those without vote-to-close rep, it is very difficult to provide a helpful flag for an off-topic post.

Following comments: The exact steps taken:

  1. Click "Flag"
  2. Click "It should be closed for another reason"
  3. Click "off-topic because..."
  4. See the screen shown below:

List of off-topic reasons without an "Other" option

It sounds as though perhaps the "Other" option is only shown to people with enough rep to vote to close, which is why most people on Meta are unable to replicate :-)

  • Hesitant to tag this as "bug" at present, as it may be intended behavior - albeit baffling ;-)
    – Flyto
    Feb 12, 2014 at 15:02
  • @StrongBad edited to add details and screenshot. As you say, I do not have sufficient rep to vote to close, but this shouldn't stop me flagging?
    – Flyto
    Feb 13, 2014 at 9:31
  • As a matter of fact, I'd rather you not flagging some content which is just off-topic. Whatever decision is made, it's better if it's made by the community and not by a single moderator. By all means, flag offensive content or spam, but I would avoid it when there is no emergency.
    – user102
    Feb 13, 2014 at 18:54
  • Please see meta.academia.stackexchange.com/q/199/102 for further details.
    – user102
    Feb 13, 2014 at 18:55
  • @CharlesMorisset sometimes I get asked to review flags. I thought other went right to moderator but the rest of the reasons got put into the review queue.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 13, 2014 at 21:37
  • @CharlesMorisset Hmm. OK, I understand that. It just seems a little odd that there is an option to flag for off-topic, but only if it fits one of the 3 very specific reasons. Seems inconsistent. I could understand if off-topic wasn't a flag reason at all, in which case I would just downvote...
    – Flyto
    Feb 13, 2014 at 23:17
  • @Flyto: Yes, I agree with you, the configuration of the flagging dialog box is not consistent. The only case where it can make sense to flag is when it is necessary to migrate the question, which can only be done by a mod.
    – user102
    Feb 13, 2014 at 23:38

2 Answers 2


Yes, this is status-by-design. If you are flagging, rather than voting, to close, then you have very limited options.

But it doesn't matter. The flag will get handled through the usual queues, as an off-topic flag. So the specific nature of the off-topicedness doesn't matter for the flag. Those reviewing it, will make their own call on whether it is on or off topic, and if the latter, why it is off-topic.


This is not the behaviour I see. When I click flag>>it should be closed>>off-topic I get:

enter image description here

Note that in addition to the "other" option the button is "Vote To Close" and a vote counts against my vote count and not my flag count. It is exactly the same screen I see if I vote to close instead of flag. Presumably this is because you currently do not have the reputation required to vote to close. When I flag a question I get the following window

enter image description here

again I have an "other" and this could be use to handle close>off-topic>other type situations (although potentially slightly less efficiently).

  • 2
    That would seem to confirm the suggestion that the "other" option only shows up if you have vote-to-close rights. Bug, or as intended?
    – Flyto
    Feb 13, 2014 at 10:55

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