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I saw a question closed as this:

"This looks like a puzzle you found elsewhere. For content you did not create yourself, proper attribution is required. If you have permission to repost this, please edit to include (at minimum) where it came from, then vote to reopen. Posts which use someone else's content without attribution are generally deleted."

Seems like an alright description, but look closely:

...please edit to include (at minimum) where it came from, then vote to reopen.

Voting to reopen is a privilege that less than 0.05308510638% of the users on this site have1. This description should be changed. My proposal to improve this close reason (change bolded and italicized):

"This looks like a puzzle you found elsewhere. For content you did not create yourself, proper attribution is required. If you have permission to repost this, please edit to include (at minimum) where it came from, then either vote to reopen or leave a moderator flag asking to have it reopened. Posts which use someone else's content without attribution are generally deleted."

1Total users stat from sites by traffic. Number with the privilege by going to leagues and finding the rank of the lowest-reputation person with 250 reputation.

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  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi fixed it, thanks! $\endgroup$ – Stormblessed Aug 5 '19 at 0:37
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    $\begingroup$ Even with that fix, the percentage is misleading. It's based on a figure of 47k users. OK, but there are only 17k questions on Puzzling and hence at most 17k users who have ever asked questions; many questions are from people who have asked multiple questions, so I bet the actual number of users who have asked questions is a lot smaller. And surely what fraction of questioners have the necessary privilege is more important than what fraction of users. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 5 '19 at 1:09
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    $\begingroup$ (I agree that changing the description might be a good idea, I'm just not keen on supporting that with bogus statistics.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 5 '19 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ Of course there's an effect in the opposite direction too. I bet users whose questions get put on hold for looking like they came from elsewhere are extra-likely to be low-rep users who don't have that privilege. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 5 '19 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan it’s the best stat I have ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Still shows a point that a whole ton of the users here are unable to follow the instructions. $\endgroup$ – Stormblessed Aug 5 '19 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ $@$Stormblessed, Please see the comments on the post from which this close reason originated - they discuss this very concern. (@GarethMcCaughan) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Aug 5 '19 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio I wonder about "request reopening" instead of "vote to reopen". That's only 3 characters more so it should still just fit into our 400ch budget; people with enough rep can interpret it as VTRO, and people who don't have that option in the UI can post comments saying "please reopen this" which probably at least makes it less likely for the edit to be missed (and gives them something to do to feel that they've encouraged reopening :-)). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 5 '19 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan That sounds like it would be a good answer to Stormblessed’s question. :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Aug 5 '19 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ OK, I've proposed it as an answer, along with "leave it as it is" and "rewrite completely" which obviously really wants an actual candidate rewrite in order to be a meaningful alternative to the others. I can see a few places where we could tweak the wording to save a couple of characters, by the way, but it's still awfully tight. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 5 '19 at 16:19
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(This is one of three answers intended to provide alternatives. Please vote on all three as you see fit.)

As Rubio explains in comments to the meta question about introducing this close reason, we have only a limited number of characters for the description of a close reason, and the message we have crams about as much in as possible. However, we have five characters to spare, and we should use three of them to replace "vote to reopen" with "request reopening". Someone with enough rep to VTRO will (hopefully) understand that that's what they should do. Someone with not enough rep will probably post a comment saying "I edited the question, so please reopen it now". Either way, that should draw enough attention to the question that it can be reopened if appropriate.

So we should make that small change to make the text applicable to everyone, at the small cost of making it less specific for higher-rep question-askers.

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(This is one of three answers intended to provide alternatives. Please vote on all three as you see fit.)

As Rubio explains in comments to the meta question about introducing this close reason, we have only a limited number of characters for the description of a close reason, and the message we have crams about as much in as possible. While some question authors won't be able to VTRO for lack of rep, we do get plenty of questions-from-elsewhere from authors who do have enough rep. The most important thing is to motivate users to improve their questions; if someone does this and then gets annoyed because they can't find a way to vote to reopen, they will probably say so and then we can explain.

So it's OK to leave this as it is.

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This question seems to have fallen off most people's radar, so it's unlikely to get much more feedback short of featuring it (which seems like overkill).

As I wrote the original blurb in the close notice and have no objection to the proposed change in wording, see no harm that can come of it, and think overall it's a good change, I'm going to give another week or so for any objections to be raised and, assuming there are none, will go ahead with having the words "vote to reopen" changed to "request reopening" in our custom close reason.

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    $\begingroup$ We should clarify how to request reopening—new users will have no idea how to contact moderators on a post. Maybe have a link to an FAQ answer? $\endgroup$ – Stormblessed Sep 23 '19 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Stormblessed There’s no room in the message to be any more explicit. Saying “vote to reopen” is actually exactly the right thing to do for anyone with at least 250 rep, but - at your own prompting - we’re trying to make it more accurate for those who don’t have that option .... which of necessity comes at the expense of having it be less specific as to how. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Sep 23 '19 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ there’s certainly not space for a link, based on the other comments, but we could shorten this to add a little parenthesis. Maybe remove “ yourself” from the second sentence, then changing “vote to reopen” to “mod flag or vote to reopen”? Net +3 characters, I think. $\endgroup$ – Stormblessed Sep 23 '19 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Negative downvotes and a comment from animuson saying it’d never be worthwhile are a pretty good sign it’ll not be implemented. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Sep 23 '19 at 23:09
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(This is one of three answers intended to provide alternatives. Please vote on all three as you see fit.)

As Rubio explains in comments to the meta question about introducing this close reason, we have only a limited number of characters for the description of a close reason, and the message we have crams about as much in as possible. But clearly it isn't good enough because it doesn't apply correctly to low-rep questioners (who are disproportionately likely to be posting questions that violate well known requirements like the one for attribution), and the proposal in another answer I'm posting here for a minor rewording still doesn't make things very clear.

So we should rewrite the text completely so as to avoid this unclarity, while still fitting everything into 400 characters including markup.

At present, this answer doesn't contain a candidate total rewrite, because it's not obvious to me that we can actually do it. If someone wants to suggest one, and it fits into the character limit, then we can edit this answer accordingly.

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Ok, thinking about this just now, here’s what I think we should do (additions in bold; “yourself” in sentence 2 was deleted):

This looks like a puzzle you found elsewhere. For content you did not create, proper attribution is required. If you have permission to repost this, please edit to include (at minimum) where it came from, then mod flag to request reopening or vote to reopen. Posts which use someone else's content without attribution are generally deleted.

Changes the length from 316 characters to 340, so I believe it’s within the limit.

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    $\begingroup$ My concern is that the target audience this affects - those with less than 250 rep - are the ones most likely to have no idea what “mod flag” means. I also don’t want us to keep deliberating minor wording tweaks forever either; there’s been two opportunities to modify the wording and get consensus on that, the most recent of which gave (moderate) support for the change to “request to reopen” instead of “vote to reopen”. We need a post on our meta that shows community support for whatever we go with. If we can get that for yet another version of the wording, so be it. I’d not hold my breath :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Sep 23 '19 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ Also - you’re not counting the space eaten up by the links. Please see the original post. The limit is 400 characters and the current text weighs in at 395. That gives a little room for changes, but not much, and nowhere near enough for your latest proposal. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Sep 23 '19 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio could we put the link on Bit.ly maybe? $\endgroup$ – Stormblessed Oct 8 '19 at 4:17
  • $\begingroup$ A close message in particular calls for far greater visible transparency as to where a link in it leads than a URL shortener link could ever provide. I think that would be inappropriate. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Oct 8 '19 at 4:33

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