# Let's actually vote on our site-specific close reasons! (2016 edition)

We recently had the question here on meta coming up whether we should make "request for analyzing the security of a scheme" one of our three site-specific close reasons.

Obviously this would mean we have to kick one out, so I'd like to make this a bit more formal.

## Status Quo

First up, here are the 90-day Closure Statistics so you can get a feeling for the current status quo:

(This data was grabbed from the backend with permission from SE on 2016-03-31 and pulled into a handy little spreadsheet, which was then converted to an image for your convenience. Both are available via github.)

As you can see, "Belongs on Security.SE" is the least-used close reason. As that might as well be grouped under "Belongs on other site", it seems to be the prime candidate to be replaced with a new/better custom close reason.

But, we need you to suggest custom close reasons by posting them as answers!

## So, what are custom close reasons?

Custom close reasons are hidden behind the "off-topic" close reason. They are specific to the site (to reflect what each site considers on- and off-topic) and can be changed by the moderators as soon as two agree (one proposes, one approves).

## How many custom close reasons can we have at the same time?

There are only three (3) custom close reasons for each site on the StackExchange network.

## What should I include in my suggestion (= posted answer)?

1. A TL;DR as a headline. For example, by writing:

## Reference recommendation

2. The formatted text to be displayed in the close reason menu. For example, by writing:

*Requests for reference recommendations are off-topic here. For details, see: [Do we want “literature recommendations” and similar “list/subjective questions”?](https://crypto.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1/)*

3. The code for the text to be displayed in the close reason menu (400 chars limit), like

    Requests for reference recommendations are off-topic here. For details, see: [Do we want “literature recommendations” and similar “list/subjective questions”?](https://crypto.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1/)

4. An explanation of when to use this close reason (may be omitted if obvious)
5. Links to all relevant meta questions (if any) concerning this close reason. For example, for "Reference Recommendation", you would be expected to add a link to the question Do we want “literature recommendations” and similar “list/subjective questions”? by writing:

- [Do we want “literature recommendations” and similar “list/subjective questions”?](https://crypto.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1/)

6. (optional) Remarks / comments, such as "Remark: As of the time of this post, this is an established close reason" or "Remark: This is a merge of close reason A and B"

To ensure readability, all of these points should be interleaved with a horizontal line (---).

### Prefer a template?

To make the above a bit easier for you to grasp, a template has been made available (text format) for you to copy-and-paste as a base for your own suggestion/post/answer.

## How does this "election" work?

• ### Question Score

In the unlikely case that this question itself scores less than +6 by itself, then the need for a change is considered non-existent and the election is void. If the question score less than -6, I promise not to ever again come up with such a question.

• Vote +1 on the question to indicate that you want to (regularly) update the close reasons.
• Vote -1 to indicate that you don't want to see a change with the close reasons at all and generally disapprove the idea of electing custom close reasons.
• Don’t vote to indicate that you don't care.

Each answer contains one close reason suggestion. After one month (i.e. at the end of April) we come back to this question and see if there is a strong need to change our exisiting close reasons and replace them with more useful ones. The top three voted close reasons will be our custom close reasons given, that they all score more than +6 (the same threshold as for community ads). If less than three answer score above the threshold and there's a change, then the established close reason with the least votes gets kicked out.

• Vote +1 on an answer to indicate that you want that reason established.
• Vote -1 to indicate that you don't want to see that reason.
• Don’t vote to indicate that you don't care.

The deadline (for this election) is the last day of April (aka the 30th April 2016) and the elected actions will be carried out in early May 2016.

• 10k users might find the close statistics useful in this conversation. – Jon Ericson Mar 30 '16 at 23:57
• @JonEricson Since it seems to be part of the moderation tools, I’m not sure many of the regular users have access to those stats at all. But the data would help… so, would it be OK to share an excerpt of that page’s 90-day "Closure statistics" in public? (More specific: the "Close reason" and the "% of total" columns of the "Closure statistics" section.) I’m asking because I remember the mod agreement stating something about not to share alike data, so I’ld like to be sure it’s OK to copy-and-paste those two columns into this meta question before I even think about actually doing so. – e-sushi Mar 31 '16 at 9:01
• @e-sushi: Certainly. The statistics are there for you all to make decisions about how the site functions. A snapshot would be appropriate to share, for sure. – Jon Ericson Mar 31 '16 at 15:47
• Locked after deadline to prevent post-deadline voting. – e-sushi May 1 '16 at 15:33

## The "Analyzing/Deciphering Data" + "Peer Review" Combo

### Message

off-topic – Requests for analyzing ciphertext or reviewing full cryptographic designs are off-topic, as the results are rarely useful to anyone else and/or would be too long for this site.

### Code

Requests for [analyzing ciphertext](https://crypto.meta.stackexchange.com/q/100) or [reviewing full cryptographic designs](https://crypto.meta.stackexchange.com/q/121) are off-topic, as the results are rarely useful to anyone else and/or would be too long for this site.


### Usage

As suggested/requested in the related meta comment area, this combo tries to catch both "Analyzing/Deciphering Data" questions and "Peer Reviews" questions in one swipe.

The combined message (aka close-notice) has been adapted to avoid length/size problems.

### Remarks

This is a combination of the "Analyzing/Deciphering Data" and "Peer Reviews" close reasons.

• How about inline links to the meta questions explaining the two cases? – otus Apr 2 '16 at 9:09
• @otus Edited that in… – e-sushi Apr 2 '16 at 21:07

## Literature Recommendations

### Message

off-topic – Requests for literature, software or similar recommendations are off-topic here. For details, see: Do we want “literature recommendations” and similar “list/subjective questions”?.

### Code

Requests for literature, software or similar recommendations are off-topic here. For details, see: [Do we want “literature recommendations” and similar “list/subjective questions”?](https://crypto.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1/)


### Usage

The linked meta Q&A probably describes best when to use this reason.

### Remarks

This is currently established as a custom close reason. The change in wording is meant to cover more than just literature recommendations and distance it from on-topic questions.

• How should I suggest modifying this? Post another answer? – otus Apr 2 '16 at 8:51
• @otus Feel free to modify/edit/fine-tune things… as long as the original intend is kept up, of course – in all other cases, simply post your own. To avoid people from being reluctant to edit suggestions, I’ve converted all "answers" to "community wiki". – e-sushi Apr 2 '16 at 12:03
• ok, if you think my edit changes the intent, feel free to revert. – otus Apr 2 '16 at 19:53
• @otus Looks perfect to me! ;) – e-sushi Apr 2 '16 at 21:08

## Programming and debugging

### Message

off-topic – Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing or debugging cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm or protocol works, you should look into asking on Stack Overflow instead.

### Code

Programming questions are off-topic even if you are writing or debugging cryptographic code. Unless your question is specifically about how the cryptographic algorithm or protocol works, you should look into [asking on Stack Overflow](https://stackoverflow.com/help/on-topic) instead.


### Usage

Should be used for programming questions. I.e. basically anything asking for non-cryptographic advice when implementing crypto or debugging broken crypto.

### Remarks

Over a third of the custom close reasons feature "programming" as at least part of the reason. That is about as many as security-policies + opinion-based combined.

• I think I found four relevant Qs, so I added them. (Don’t hesitate to modify or roll back if you disagree.) – e-sushi Apr 3 '16 at 11:48
• I'm not sure whether we'd actually use this close reason, because right not it just yells "migrate me to SO please" at people in which case we'd simply flag for migration, it may end up being used as much as the current sec.se close reason. – SEJPM Apr 3 '16 at 12:21
• @SEJPM, maybe. However, not every question is good enough to migrate straightaway. Perhaps rather than (effectively) saying ask on Stack Overflow it should say something more general and point to someplace you can see what is on topic there and what should be asked on Code Review and what is simply not a good question on any of the sites. – otus Apr 3 '16 at 14:40
• Just for the record when people stumble upon this – this close reason has been adapted in Sept. 2017 to explicitly allow code-related Q&As handling side-channel (mitigation) – e-sushi Oct 3 '17 at 14:29

## Security Policies

### Message

off-topic – Questions about security policies that may be based on cryptography (as opposed to the design of cryptographic algorithms and protocols) are off-topic here, but may be asked on Security.

### Code

Questions about security policies that may be based on cryptography (as opposed to the design of cryptographic algorithms and protocols) are off-topic here, but may be asked on [Security](https://security.stackexchange.com/).


### Usage

Should be used when a question is less about cryptography and more about security policies.

### Remarks

This is currently established as a custom close reason.

## Peer Reviews

### Message

off-topic – Requests for analyzing or reviewing full cryptographic schemes/algos are off-topic. Try to break it down into specifics, such as "under condition A, does structure B have desired property C?"

### Code

Requests for analyzing or reviewing full cryptographic schemes/algos are off-topic. Try to break it down into specifics, such as "under condition A, does structure B have desired property C?"


### Usage

Should be used when someone asks for a complete analysis of his/her (amateur) cipher while not limiting the question to a specific detail or problem.

### Remarks

none

• Maybe this can be merged with the "Analyze block of data" close reason. The rationale would be that in both cases the results are not likely to be useful to anyone else (and basically are a waste of time for the community) – cygnusv Mar 31 '16 at 10:24
• Merging makes sense to me, as long as it explicitly captures both cases: Analyze custom algorithm or block of data, for example. Currently, it feels odd to use that closing reason, since often there is no actual block of data to analyze. – Sergio A. Figueroa Mar 31 '16 at 11:37
• Well, here’s the combo as you guys suggested: meta.crypto.stackexchange.com/a/726/12164 – e-sushi Mar 31 '16 at 12:04

## Analyzing/Deciphering Data

### Message

off-topic – Requests for analyzing or deciphering a block of data are off-topic here, as the results are rarely useful to anyone else.

### Code

Requests for analyzing or deciphering a block of data are off-topic here, as the results are rarely useful to anyone else.


### Usage

Should be used for those typical "decrypt this" questions where someone asks to check out a block of ciphertext, hoping Crypto.SE members will analyze and/or decrypt it for them.

### Remarks

This is currently established as a custom close reason.