As I stated in a prior discussion, our current community-specific close reasons (off-topic sub-reasons) haven't changed much at all since they were defined in 2013, and since then, the closing system has been massively revamped and community-specific close reasons gained a new five-field format. I think it's a great idea to transition our current close reasons to use the new format, and have explained why in the prior discussion:
Just last year, a massive revamp took place to the closing system. As part of those updates, the community-specific close reasons gained a new five-field format, which displays different text in different places so that close voters and flaggers are guided to correct use of the close reason, authors are instructed how to improve their question, and privileged users are given advice on how to fix the question.
In my opinion, I think it's a good idea to transition our current close reasons to the new format. Currently, questions closed with any off-topic sub-reason will simply show to other users who don't have closing privileges that they were closed as off-topic, with no explanation as to why the question is not a good fit for the site. On the other hand, the new format contains a description field that allows displaying more on-point text to others browsing questions.
To summarize, the new system provides appropriate, on-point guidance to the author and other users browsing the question. It also, most importantly, allows providing an explanation as to why a question is a bad fit for the site to other users without close vote privileges, as currently, they just see that the question was closed as off-topic with no explanation.
The prior discussion was about updating another close reason on our site, the "immigration or moving for extended periods of time" reason. That discussion has now concluded, and as I said there, once discussion regarding one close reason is over, I'll start another one for the next close reason, as the team prefers an individual, separate discussion for each close reason.
This global meta post explains how the new format works:
I'm going to be rehashing, in less words, the format for close reasons that Catija explained in her aforementioned answer. The fields available to us are limited to 500 characters with the exception of the first field, so keep that in mind when proposing/making changes!
The format is as follows:
- Brief description (100 characters) - Visible in the close/flag dialog in bold. Should be very succinct, only spanning a couple of words.
- Usage guidance - Tells close voters when to use the close reason. Ideally, this is descriptive enough to cover edge cases, and that detail should inspire confidence in close voters that this reason is the right choice under specified circumstances.
- Post notice close description - Visible to all users, the post notice description should follow the format "This question was closed because it is ... It is not currently accepting answers."
- Post owner guidance - Visible only to the post author, this should explain to the OP why their question was closed, and give detailed information on how to improve their post to get it reopened. Helpful links to the help center would be nice to include.
- Privileged user guidance - Visible to users with the cast close votes privilege in the post notice on a post closed with this close reason. This should inform close voters on how best to guide the asker in improving their question or inform them when the question should be reopened.
- If accepted, the changes made to the close reason will be applied retroactively to all questions currently closed with this close reason. Post notices will be updated across the board. This requires a CM editing the existing close reason.
- If the changes are major enough, we can choose to retire the current close reason and have two diamond moderators or staff with moderator privileges create a new close reason for our proposal. This should only be done if the changes are too major or we in general feel that the changes should not apply retroactively.
- For clarity, these changes only affect [this specific close reason on this site]. This does not apply across the network.
Like in the prior discussion, I've posted my proposals for the first three fields' texts as an answer below. However, unlike the prior discussion, to encourage more community input here, I'm not going to be proposing text for the last two fields, leaving it to other community members. If you have proposals for the last two fields' text, or any improvements to think of for the first three fields, or would like to generally discuss the proposed improvements, please post another answer.
Once we reach an outcome, I'll accept the favored answer and a moderator can tag this post status-review so it can be implemented.
For context, the current wording of this close reason is as follows:
Questions on price-shopping for specific goods or services are off-topic as prices and availability change frequently in many locations. See: What is a shopping question?