# Close votes that don't apply to the question

This question has, at the time of writing, three close votes. None of them seems appropriate.

1. Off-topic: does not appear to be about computer science... It's a question about decidability of languages, which has been a topic of computer science for longer than digital computers have existed!
2. Unclear what you're asking. There is nothing unclear about the two questions: are there any finite languages that are not recursive? and what is the cardinality of the set of finite languages over ${0,1}$?
3. Too broad: there are either too many possible answers or good answers would be too long for this format. The two questions can be answered in a short paragraph each; tersely, even in a single sentence each.

Can people please make sure their reasons for closing actually apply to the question they're voting to close?

“Unclear what you're asking” covers several different cases:

• the post is incomprehensible;
• there is insufficient information to answer;
• the post has clear statements but lacks an actual question.

Homework dumps tend to fall into that last case. They should, however, be accompanied by a comment telling the asker that they should tell us how far tehy got on their own and ask a specific question about the part where they are stuck.

A close reason that requires an additional comment which could be fairly generic is the whole point of custom close reasons, so maybe we should have one. I've kicked off a separate thread to discuss advisability and wording.

• I'm not sure homework dumps do fall into the case "the post has clear statements but lacks an actual question." "Prove that X is true", while not literally a question, is essentially equivalent to, "Can you tell me how to prove X?" – David Richerby Nov 23 '13 at 0:24
• @DavidRicherby But that's the question the OP got; where's the question for us? If I wanted to solve exercise problems, I'd pick up a textbook. – Raphael Nov 23 '13 at 12:27

This is a classic homework dump. We have been closing these as "Unclear what you're asking" and I think that's right: the real question can not be "What is correct?" because we don't want to do homework for people.

We expect that the user attempts to solve the problem themselves and gets stuck somewhere. At this point, there should be a real question and this is the one we want to coax out.

• I agree about the homework aspects. Your suggestion of a custom close reason is, I think, the best way forward here. It makes much more sense to the asker than "Unclear what you're asking". – David Richerby Nov 22 '13 at 16:51
• I thought our policy wasn't to treat otherwise good questions poorly simply because they appear most likely to be homework questions? If the question is otherwise good, why should it be closed? – Patrick87 Nov 22 '13 at 17:51
• @Raphael Is there one place on the site I can check for all of the policies on closing? I don't mind closing bad questions, but I hate closing questions incorrectly and especially without a good reason. Thanks. – Guy Coder Nov 22 '13 at 18:05
• @Patrick87 No argument there, but the "questions" we talk about here are not good! – Raphael Nov 23 '13 at 12:25
• @GuyCoder As far as I know, we don't have such a thing. Maybe we should? – Raphael Nov 23 '13 at 12:26

I am one who voted to close the question. It looks like a homework problem, i.e. " Prove (or sketch in detail) which justiﬁes your answer."

One of the subcategories of the reason I selected points to the dialog about not giving answers to homework with out the OP explaining what they have tried and why they are failing. That is why I voted to close.

If we had a standard comment to note that we close homework problems unless the question is re-edited to show what the OP has tried and where they specifically need help I would use it.

• I agree that it looks like a homework problem, though our policy is not to try to judge that. I don't disagree with closing the particular question I mentioned; it's the stated reasons for closing that are the issue. – David Richerby Nov 22 '13 at 16:48
• @DavidRicherby Thanks. I went to reverse my close vote but the question is on hold. I will keep this in mind in the future. – Guy Coder Nov 22 '13 at 17:07
• I thought our policy wasn't to treat otherwise good questions poorly simply because they appear most likely to be homework questions? If the question is otherwise good, why should it be closed? – Patrick87 Nov 22 '13 at 17:51
• @Patrick87 Again, it's not about whether the question is homework or not, it's about the lack of own effort and an actual question. If Peter Short came here and dumped an interesting problem from a textbook on advanced complexity theory, I'd close it just as well. – Raphael Nov 23 '13 at 12:28