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During review, I see that a lot of people vote to close questions as “too localized” when I would think they are actually too broad.

One example is here.

There is no typo, basic error, and I think it can be interesting for a lot of people to know why their performance with SQL Server replication is not as good as they expected. I think that the question is not answerable because it contains too little information that allows to diagnose the problem.

Is my understanding wrong? I know that there is always some room for personal judgement, but I'd like to understand how the majority perceives the meaning of “too localized”.

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I believe the intended use of the Too localised reason is for questions about problems that could be described with a reaction like,

I cannot understand how you can have a problem with that.

Which, actually, can mean more than one thing. It can mean,

This is just a blunder on your part, because you did not pay enough attention, or you were careless, or something to that effect.

Or it can mean,

The combination of circumstances contributing to your problem is so unique or unlikely as to make it hard to come across – and, therefore, to understand, and, as a result, be beneficial – for an average user.

The latter, in my estimation, is what a question may look like when it is not very articulate. When the poster is unsure what details their question might need, they sometimes include potentially irrelevant things, which may contribute to making the impression of the question's being too specific – in other words, too localised.

Many people will agree that writing questions is hard. Apparently, interpreting them correctly can be so as well.

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I interpret the close reasons ... as follows with my additional supplements.

  • duplicate of...
    This question has been asked before and already has an answer

    The question (or a similar question) has already been asked and answered. Please have a look at the question and answer, and see if you can accomplish what you are trying to achieve, by adapting the solution to your specific situation.

  • off-topic because…
    This question does not appear to belong here. Either it's not database-related or it otherwise conflicts with the scope of our site. See What topics can I ask about here?, What types of questions should I avoid asking? or this blog post for more info.

    • Too localized - this could be because your code has a typo, basic error, or is not relevant to most of our audience. Consider revising your question so that it appeals to a broader audience. As it stands, the question is unlikely to help other users (regarding typo questions, see this meta question for background).

      The question (as it currently stands) is too generic for what you are encountering and will not be interesting enough for the broader audience at DBA.SE. There are too many unknowns pertaining to your environment. If you add enough additional information to your question, then we might be able to assist you with your specific case. Or Your question has a typo error. Please pay attention to the error message you might encounter.

    • Shopping list question - questions about which tool, library, product or resource you should use are off-topic here because they quickly become obsolete and often are just about the preferences of the answerer. If you have an issue with or a question about a specific tool, please revise your question to conform to that scope.

      IMO This is one of the best descriptions for the off-topic because ... reason.

    • Tip of the iceberg - the question or comments reveal an underlying issue that would need extensive investigation by a consultant or database vendor support team: issues like this do not fit the SE Q&A model well. For more information see this meta post.

      You've supplied us with enough information. Great post, but the situation seems to require somebody (vendor, supplier) who will be able to supply you with a solution, because it seems like you have a very grave situation at hand. (We could try and assist you, but it might lead up to a bad situation and supplying such information on a Q&A site for a specific situation, might be a bad idea for others seeking assistance in similar situations.)

    • This question does not appear to belong here. Either it's not database-related or it otherwise conflicts with the scope of our site. See What topics can I ask about here?, What types of questions should I avoid asking? or this blog post for more info.

      You lose, sorry. The community has decided that your question has absolutely nothing to do with databases. (No, SSMS plug-in issues are not a database problem, but more of a SuperUser or Stack Overflow issue...). Please consider posting your question on another site. Sadly, we can only suggest direct migrations to "Stack Overflow" or "Meta DBA SE".

    • Other (add a comment explaining what is wrong)

      Well after looking at all the close reasons, your question doesn't seem to fit any of them. However I would like to give you a bit of advice.... or I would like to point you to a solution that has been posted on another site....

  • unclear what you're asking
    Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

    I read your question. I know my way around [product name], but I'm missing some information in order to be able to support you with your issue. I think the community as a whole would share my opinion, which is why I am voting to close your question. Please add any additional information (which has been asked in the comments) directly to your question (and not in a comment), which would allow the community (or me) to provide you with an adequate solution. (If we don't know all the facts, we're going to have a hard time finding a solution)

  • too broad
    Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

    Your question contains too many questions or a non-specific question which would result in too many non-specific answers. **We strive to achieve (mostly) one question one answer entries in order to keep the quality of the Q&As high. Consider revising your question, so that you have a suitable question to which we can supply (one) answer.

  • primarily opinion-based
    Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

    You might get a lot of answers to this question and everybody will have a reason why their solution is best, but based on the content of your question, you probably won't get a reasonable answer, because your question has multiple possible answers based on the community user's individual experiences. You'll have a hard time finding hard evidence to support the answers.

Answering Your Question

Is my understanding wrong? I know that there is always some room for personal judgement, but I'd like to understand how the majority perceives the meaning of “too localized”.

...IMO

The question you are referencing is currently not focused enough and could be because his SAN is slow (Server Fault), network is lagging (Server Fault, Security, ....) or a configuration issue (DBA.SE or Tip of the iceberg). We just don't know.

I would close as too localized, because the user is not asking multiple questions (too broad) and we just don't know enough of his local configuration to supply an adequate answer.

Alternate Solution

If unsure, you can always click on the SKIP button and enjoy the next question in the queue.


Definitions

  • global: relating to or encompassing the whole of something, or of a group of things.

  • localized: restrict (something) to a particular place.

  • generic: characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific.

  • Oh, great. You are somebody who understands "too localized" differently from me, so you may be able to enlighten me. Isn't "local" the opposite of "global"? Isn't "global" and "generic" somewhat similar? So how can "too localized" mean "too generic"? For me, "too localized" seems to mean "this question is so specific that an answer is unlikely to apply or help anywhere else". Perhaps my problem is that I am not a native speaker. "Too broad" doesn't mean "more than one question" to me, rather something like "How should I best use a database?" – Laurenz Albe Oct 3 at 12:49
  • If you read my sentences individually, then you might be led to believe that. However, you have to take the first too sentences together: "The question (as it currently stands) is too generic for what you are encountering and will not be interesting enough for the broader audience at DBA.SE. There are too many unknowns pertaining to your environment.". On the global issue: You can have a global issue that affects multiple SQL Server instances, but this doesn't mean it is generic. (generic: characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific.) – John aka hot2use Oct 3 at 13:21
  • Thanks for taking the time. So "too localized" to you is somewhat similar to the Stackoverflow closing reason "Questions seeking debugging help ("why isn't this code working?") must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers." Did I get you right? – Laurenz Albe Oct 3 at 13:38
  • Nope. The above reason you copied from Stack Overflow would be unclear what your are asking together with a comment: Please include an MCVE within your question .... while linking to our meta Q & A. – John aka hot2use Oct 3 at 13:46
  • Yes, what you label "too localized" would be "unclear what you are asking" or "too broad" to me. So we don't misunderstand each other on that point. Yet no matter how I try to twist it, the definition "a typo, basic error, or not relevant to most of our audience" does not match "You haven't disclosed enough about your environment that anyone can answer the question". – Laurenz Albe Oct 3 at 14:02
  • It's a thin line between too localized and unclear what you are asking, I agree. – John aka hot2use Oct 3 at 14:06
  • But putting unclear what you are asking and too broad in the same basket is on opposite sides of the spectrum for me. – John aka hot2use Oct 3 at 14:07

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