How can a question that asks about travelling, visa status and reapplying for a visa be off topic ?

I do not fully understand how this question : Legal status in the US if flights are delayed by a day? , after 2 years, is now off-topic. The duration it was on topic is even more important because I believe sufficient number of moderators and other users have eyeballed it and haven't found this to be off topic (unless question rules have drastically changed in the recent past).


3 Answers 3


I have cast the fifth reopen vote, question open.

I also voted to close the first time around, but I'll admit that I could have read both questions more thoroughly. It's funny, wording can often determine whether a question is closed or not.

For example:

I am applying for a tourist visa to the US. In the past, I once overstayed my HB1 visa due to a flight being delayed for a day. How will this affect my legal status and my application for a tourist visa?

Is this pretty much a similar question to what you were asking? Not a single person would have called the above off topic.

  • I think this is the core of the problem ;)
    – Jan
    Aug 25, 2016 at 12:26
  • @Jan Wording, or not reading carefully enough?
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 25, 2016 at 12:27
  • 3
    A bit of both. Somebody probably read the first line and though ‘wait, that’s a work visa, that’s Expats!’, and others did too. Had it been worded in the way you suggest, it probably wouldn’t even have gotten a close vote. But the good thing about SE is that these errors can quickly be fixed =)
    – Jan
    Aug 25, 2016 at 12:29
  • 3
    Close votes can be quick to pile up too
    – blackbird
    Aug 25, 2016 at 12:56
  • 2
    @blackbird Yeah, often people assume the first person voted correctly because they know the user. Thus, a single sloppy vote can lead to a chain reaction.
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 25, 2016 at 13:32
  • Agreed. Yes, that is what I was asking. Aug 25, 2016 at 22:37
  • @happybuddha Alright, yeah. The problem was due to people not reading thoroughly enough and wording.
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 25, 2016 at 22:38
  • Expats vs. traveling is occasionally a tough call. As a "nomadic," I have a few times been unable to decide which group to use. Should they really be separate groups?
    – WGroleau
    Aug 27, 2016 at 22:45
  • @WGroleau You could ask this as a separate question, but I can already tell you that the resounding answer would be yes. Expats and travel should be different.
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 6, 2016 at 8:36
  • Waah. I'm gonna start my own group for in-betweeners and be there all by myself!
    – WGroleau
    Sep 7, 2016 at 4:30
  • @WGroleau area51.stackexchange.com good luck :)
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 7, 2016 at 7:21
  • I was just kidding of course. Expats has been in area51 for a long time and is often too small to get a good answer. An in-between group would probably just be only me forever.
    – WGroleau
    Sep 7, 2016 at 15:51
  • @WGroleau haha... you could ask all the questions and answer them yourself.
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 7, 2016 at 15:52

Generally those who vote to close these questions argue that because you have a work visa or a resident status, a different set of rules than those for a simple visitor might apply.

Also note that someone voted to close it in January 2014, at least judging by your comment.

I can't say why someone decided to revisit this 2 year old question, sometimes people decide to go on cleaning sprees. We've had some questions where the premise was the OP was on some sort of working visa and wanted to travel and there was some back and forth between closing and reopening.


Presumably, somebody randomly saw the question, felt it was off-topic and voted to close it, which puts it in the queue for others to see.

But your premise is faulty, here. You talk about "the duration the question was on-topic" but that doesn't really make much sense. Old questions don't receive much attention so the real situation is that the question was posted and then it was forgotten about for two years. The amount of time the question was forgotten about is not a deciding factor in whether or not the question is on-topic. It's not the case that people were continuously looking at the question, saying "Yep, that's still on topic." Rather, somebody came along after a long time and said, "Hang on a moment – I don't think this should be here."

(Disclosure: I voted to close the question, for the reasons I gave in the comments there. But I think my answer here would be essentially the same even if I'd voted to keep it open.)

  • As commented in the original question, the question is about a visa application (just in the future). Aug 24, 2016 at 22:49
  • The question is asking if a particular set of circumstances constitutes overstaying a long-term work visa. Aug 24, 2016 at 23:10

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