Based on the Meta question Old questions w/o answers and low view count we came to the conclusion: It is often quite unclear what makes a question "too localized". So we need some (at least more) clear rules on which a decision can be based. Let's start with what we have:

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ.

Which is a rather broad description: How can one tell the mentioned criteria? Some clear numbers would be helpful. Let me give some examples of what are IMHO clear candidates:

  • a question bein 6 month or older, having neither answers nor comments1, and less than 10 views/month on average
  • a question on a device available only in one country AND connected to other very local criteria (e.g. just happens with one small provider)
  • a question on a very specific situation which one rarely mets ("I want to sync my calendar with a [very unknown software] on my [very unknown OS]", to construct a drastic example)

1 asking the OP for additional details/making the point clearer not counted, as those are mostly in the context "what do you really want? what is the question here?"

Can we have more clear examples in this Meta page, which then could be linked either to the FAQ link given in the quoted text, or even directly included with this text? Could you please list up things you would say are very clear -- and we make a summary later (maybe even in a different Meta question, to get it clear and easy for all readers, and link back to our brain-storming here)?

Also it would be interesting to list up what is frequently misinterpreted as being "too localized". Today's example: Why I am unable to check balance on BSNL Mobile in Android Phone? This message was not yet 1 hour old, having had 12 views, and was already marked by one vote-to-close as "too localized". My guess is: One special (Japanese?) provider plus one special DualSIM phone gave the reasons of being "localized". But what if tomorrow we find the question has been viewed 2.500 times within 24 hours? "unlikely to help any future visitors"? Though it might be geographically localized on a first glance, it might turn out a general DualSIM problem applying world-wide!

So to sum up:

Could you all please list up, from your personal experience and feeling, what are clear indicators for a "too localized" question -- and what are clear indicators agains a message being "too localized", though it might look different on a first glance -- so we can "distill" easily understandable guidlines from it?

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As Flow already started below (and I followed his example), this is a good way to filter rules we best agree on: Please post one rule per answer, upvote rules you are supporting, and we can discuss each rule separately this way if there are open questions. –  Izzy Dec 27 '12 at 14:55
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locked by Flow Jun 28 '13 at 14:51

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8 Answers

  • "How do I root X?" questions should never be closed as "too localized". The only (vote) close reason for such questions is "exact duplicate".
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Not even for some very-special-localized-device nobody ever heard of (to make it drastic)? There seem to be very specific devices around. And who cares about "how to root" some 1st generation device (Q from 2+ years ago with, say, 200 views, for a device that might have been around then but nobody uses anymore nowadays). –  Izzy Dec 28 '12 at 10:18
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I consider the "How to root" questions very important for this site. While it's true that there are some devices out there where "nobody cares", I find it hard to draw a line. And on the other hand, unanswered questions aren't really a problem. They don't consume any resources or so. That's why I am very careful about that topic. –  Flow Dec 28 '12 at 11:20
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No question should ever be closed as "too localized" because of the question stats alone (view count/answers/age/...), as it only solves a cosmetic problem (low accepted answer ratio on Android Enthusiasts) and does not provide any benefit.

Instead only the content of a question should be used as reason to close a question as "too localized" (e.g. because it's clearly only a problem caused by a small regional carrier).

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If a question has very few views over a longer interval (say, 6+ months), it shows that it's of "narrow interest" -- doesn't that qualify? Of course, exceptions may exist (and I saw some). So would you consider a re-phrasing to "because of the question stats alone"? –  Izzy Dec 31 '12 at 15:45
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  • Older than 2 years
  • No Answers
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0 hits currently :) –  Izzy Dec 27 '12 at 15:13
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  • Older then 1 year
  • Less then 300 views
  • No Answers
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Using the search criteria is:question answers:0 closed:0, sorting by "newest" and starting with the last page (unfortunately we have no "maxviews:300"), these are pretty easy to pick. Here we have an example: 16 month old, 122 views, 2 votes: Sony Ericson Xperia 10 Mini - rooting Android 2.1 -- I wouldn't have guessed this topic being "too localized... But true: the few views make it such. Maybe the search criteria prove helpful to you, fellow Enthusiasts :) –  Izzy Dec 27 '12 at 15:13
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  • Older than 6 months
  • 15 views/months or less
  • no answers
  • no comments (except, maybe, questions for clarification which are not even answeres in comments)
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  • Older than 1 month
  • 15 views/months or less
  • No answers (?)
  • concerning a very specific situation which one rarely mets ("I want to sync my calendar with a [very unknown software] on my [very unknown OS]", to construct a drastic example)

Here should be pretty sure it deals with a very specific situation. It's not enough to feel specific to me, but one should be sure most of our users would feel the same :)

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A question should never be closed as "too localized" unless it is at least 1 month old. Even if it looks quite localized on a first glance, that could be due to the phrasing -- while under-the-hood a real important problem is addressed. This might not be obvious during the first hours/days, but later on due to increased views, or a re-phrasing, or some comments...

If you feel 1 month is too much, please say so in your comments. But IMHO we should not drop that margin below a week for sure.

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+1 from me. That should help prevent spamming of reviewing close votes that has TL in there :) –  t0mm13b Dec 28 '12 at 21:59
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I disagree. The age of the question has no impact on the content of the question. Closure is not a permanent state; edits that improve the question such that it should be re-opened means we should re-open it, that's all. If someone doesn't understand the question or is unsure whether it should be closed then they should not VTC. –  Matthew Read Dec 29 '12 at 0:26
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  • Older than 1 month
  • 15 views/months or less
  • no answers
  • specific to a device available only in one country AND connected to other very local criteria (e.g. just happens with one small provider)

Please note the last criterium alone is not enough, as it might turn out to apply more broadly. That's why it should not be closed immediately but first watched for "access" (views) and, maybe, comments pointing to that direction.

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An explanation for the "-1" would be helpful for understanding why this doesn't describe a "too localized" question -- remember, that's what this is all about: figuring clear criteria what makes a Q "too localized", and what does not. Thanks :) –  Izzy Dec 28 '12 at 10:10
    
I believe it's hard to draw a line: Which questions are considered to be connected to a very local criteria?. That's why I think the answers should only use parameters that don't consist of the content of the question, like view count, age, answer status. –  Flow Dec 28 '12 at 11:23
    
Exactly that's the reason why I wrote "the last criterium (content) alone is not enough". During the past few days I noticed a lot of NEW questions almost immediately vtc'd as "too localized". Maybe I should rephrase this answer as what I meant: New questions are never candidates for "too localized" (wait at least for 1 month)? –  Izzy Dec 28 '12 at 11:53
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