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After the recent request by Geoffroy, and after feeling an increase in off-topic questions about cryptocurrencies, I decided to look into it more.

As it turns out, the current statistics for our close reasons look like this (over 187 closed of 988 posted questions; stat access is 10k+ rep exclusive):

Reason Questions closed (90d) % of closed
Ciphertext Analysis / Review 26 13.9%
Migrations (none to cryptocurrency sites, 14 to SO) 32 17.11%
Homework / Puzzles 23 12.3%
Programming 17 9.09%
Custom (referring to cryptocurrency-related reasons) 18 9.6%

Based on the fact that a generic cryptocurrency close reason would therefore see as much usage as one of our current default reasons (without investigating the generic custom-used ones like "this has nothing to do with cryptography"), I think it is reasonable to have a fourth reason for it as the programming questions are likely not going to decline and we do already have rather crammed our existing reasons. Additionally, a dedicated, well-formulated close reason would probably guide any askers more than the current ad-hoc reasons formulated by the first voting to close right now. Furthermore, while we could replace the programming custom close reason in favour of a SO migration path, we - the mods - already filter questions before migrating them to SO as quite a few them would just get closed over there and in fact even with our filtering we hit 21% of migrations being rejected (i.e. closed as non-duplicate on SO).

An initial proposal for such a fourth reason could be (to be refined in a dedicated meta Q&A or in answers below):

Questions about non-cryptographic aspects of cryptocurrencies are off-topic. This includes financial, economic, and legal aspects as well as questions about the usage, recovery or non-cryptographic operation of surrounding tools, websites or smart contracts.

Thanks to DannyNiu, Maarten, and Geoffroy for the improvement suggestions on the wording.

The grounds for this question is this old MSE Q&A as well as the somewhat recent addition of a fourth one on GIS.

Answers on this meta Q&A should be used to cover aspects / considerations not talked about in this question (both for and against having a fourth reason) as well as to suggest better formulations for the actual close reason (beware of the 500 character limit though). Answers to voice general support / refusal of this idea are also welcome.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems like the correct wording to me, I think "workings" could be replaced by "operation" though. $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes Mod
    Mar 20 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ The meta post could perhaps mention that if the question is about a specific cryptocurrency (bitcoin, ethereum...), the corresponding stackexchange site might be a better place. Additionally, it could mention specifically that questions about retrieving lost access to a wallet are off topic (even though this is technically (vaguely) "related" to a cryptographic component of the cryptocurrency). $\endgroup$ Mar 22 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ @GeoffroyCouteau I have handled that with the addition of "recovery" to the tool context (thanks for the suggestion) and updated the meta answer it points to with a help center reference which enumerates the sites. (Also note that I have every intention of giving people another go at the wording of our close reasons once we get this fourth one approved). $\endgroup$
    – SEJPM Mod
    Mar 22 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ Can't we have more than 4 as in SO? $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Mar 27 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ @kelalaka the general guideline seems to be that we need to show that we have a need for a fourth / fifth, i.e. that a new reason would not eat away from the current set of reasons, yet still would likely see use comparable to the existing custom ones. This is the case for the proposed cryptocurrency one and I don't see another similar theme right now that could warrant a fifth reason. (Though of course in principle sites can get more than four custom close reasons) $\endgroup$
    – SEJPM Mod
    Mar 27 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ @SEJPM with cryptocurrencies as the 4th option we can cover more than 60% of our close reasons. This is quite an improvement in the user interface perspective. And, this will also give us a good opportunity to provide a polite close note so that we don't break harts. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Mar 27 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ I've left the status-review tag on this question while we move forward and don't have the close reason yet. $\endgroup$
    – SEJPM Mod
    Apr 5 at 14:55
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I'm absolutely for this proposal.

I remember not long ago, a new user posted a cryptocurrency-related question and got closed. They accused us of attempting to rank high on Google search and demanded (according their own words) "re-add" their question.

I wonder if there's a way we the community members (especially moderators) can, in general, dis-relate Crypto.SE to cryptocurrencies topics on various search engines.

Also, I suggest adding to the wordings, "legal aspects" in the close reason, like this:

Questions about non-cryptographic aspects of cryptocurrencies are off-topic. This includes financial, economic, and legal aspects as well as questions about the usage or non-cryptographic operation of surrounding tools, websites or smart contracts.

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It definitely looks like y'all need some help disambiguating cryptography from cryptocurrency and this seems like a good place to start - that said, this still requires that y'all do the work of closing the questions after the fact. I'd suggest y'all take some time to craft more customized text for two panes that might prevent the questions from ever being asked in the first place.

Screenshot of the new asker modal - "Asking a good question" with information about how to ask a question - it uses the default text.

This is what we call the new asker modal - it's shown to first-time askers (and anyone who hasn't clicked the "Don't show me this again" link. If you want to see it, click the ask question button while in incognito mode. For some examples, feel free to check out the modals on SFF, Code Review, and English Language & Usage. Here's the request to update the text on Code Review which just happened last year.

For this modal, you can't edit the text next to the blue bullets (though we can remove the 3rd one - not sure that's useful here), but you can add content after "some guidance:" that has formatting (bullet points, etc) and/or after "hasn't been answered" - the latter uses markdown similar to comments, so can't do things like bullet points but can do bold, italic, and links.

The other thing y'all can have customized is the general ask page right sidebar with guidance in the "Step 1" box.

Screenshot of the Ask question page, which is using the default text.

The three sites above have also customized the text in this section. This will appear for everyone who's asking a question, not only the users who are first time askers.

You do have a slight complication that our network has many Cryptocurrency sites and creating a comprehensive list in either of these areas would be huge - so we probably don't want to do that. What you could do is list the most frequent 2-3 that you see here and then link to a meta post here that has links to all of them.

These will only help people who actually read them but it might prevent some of the questions from being asked and it may also help with people claiming that they didn't realize it was off topic here.

If this sounds like a good plan, have the discussions here on meta and get the text for each looking the way you want it to look and then get the mods to status-review the question and we'll get back to you about customizing the text.

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I think this is a good idea. The fact that this site is Crypto.SE attracts far too many people who think crypto refers to cryptocurrency. Actually, I think our close reasons could use some reworking in general, but that's a separate issue. One thing at a time.

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