I've seen a couple of times now, questions being voted to be closed because the voters do no believe there to be a 'life hack' solution to the question.

A recent example is here - How to determine if US paper money is genuine?

It seems silly to me that just because one person (two so far in this case) thinks that there aren't any hacky solutions to the question so it should be closed.

As we can see from the attached question I have posted an answer which would appear to me 'hacky' therefore invalidating the vote to close reasons as well as all comments stating that it's not possible or whatever.

So my point is... Even though there is a reason to close of "Does not seem to need a life hack", surely there should be a period before someone should vote to close for this reason as one single person isn't going to know all the life hacks under the sun.

In any case, if it genuinely doesn't have a hack answer, surely an answer to the question explaining that and giving reasons as to why it doesn't have a life-hack solution, such as in this question: How to clean Blu Tack?. I just feel that it would make the site more usable for others looking for solutions, they will easily be able to see that there aren't any solutions and why there aren't.


1 Answer 1


tl;dr: "No possible hack" is not a valid close reason.

Let's start with the question in question. Since you, the OP of this meta question, posted a good, hacky answer, we know there's a valid hack, even if those who voted to close didn't.

The question is a specific request. It shows what has been tried...

I've already held it up to light to inspect the fibers of the paper

...and that it doesn't work because it's not definite:

I want to know if there's a hack to ensure it isn't counterfeit.

And it does, of course, specify what tool for which they are attempting to substitute:

A method that works similarly to a counterfeit detection pen would be the best.

Returning to the manifesto, we see the following:

If a question doesn't seem to need "thinking outside the box", it will likely be closed as off topic.


it is up to the author to clearly show why a problem needs an "outside the box" solution in the first place.

I believe the question fulfills said requirements. Thus I conclude...

If you don't think something is hacky, just don't upvote it.


Just because you can close something doesn't mean you should.

Giving users -- new users especially -- a wad of close votes is not welcoming. Beyond that, if enough users were on each side of this, we'd be seeing close wars constantly. And that does not make for a good community.

  • 3
    I concur. There's a nuanced difference between "no hack is needed" versus "we haven't found a hack, yet". The former is someone who needs to just go out and learn a new skill versus someone with a problem needing a hack-y solution we just have not found yet (or may never) . The counterfeit problem is genuine. John Q. Public shouldn't have to learn the ins-and-outs of counterfeit detection just to know if some doof at your garage sale is giving you a fake 2O. It would be nice to know if there's some quick hack "for the rest of us." It's a difficult call, I know, but it's something to consider. Mar 10, 2015 at 20:17

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