'Saviour' of Lost Souls

Meta sites, but especially Meta Stack Exchange, see a lot of 'lost souls', users who have no idea that they're on Meta (e.g. because of a suboptimal email or a Stack Overflow question ban) and post a question which might or might not be on-topic on another Stack Exchange site. For many Meta regulars, moderating these questions involves one or more of the following steps:

  • downvoting the question (because it needs to have a score of -3 or lower for fast deletion)
  • flagging or voting to close the question as off-topic
  • leaving a comment in the following style:

Hi [lost soul], welcome to Meta! I'm not sure which search brought you here but the problem you describe will not be answered on this specific site. To get an answer from users that have the expertise about the topic of your question you'll have to find and then re-post on the proper site. Check How do I ask a good question and What is on topic on the target site to make sure your post is in good shape. Your question is definitely off-topic on Meta and is better deleted here.

  • if the question is closed, vote to delete it

To minimize the effort involved in this process, I've created the 'Saviour' of Lost Souls. This userscript will add a link to the post menu, which (upon confirmation) will perform the applicable actions. The userscript works on Meta Stack Exchange, and upon request by πάντα ῥεῖ also on Meta Stack Overflow.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Since the Ask a Question wizard on Stack Overflow has led to a huge increase in blatantly off-topic questions on Software Recommendations and Hardware Recommendations, recent versions of the script work there as well. Stack Apps has also been added. The comment it will leave there is similar to

Hi [lost soul], welcome to Software Recommendations! This question does not appear to be about software recommendations, within the scope defined on meta and in the help center. If you think you can [edit] it to become on-topic, please have a look at the question quality guidelines.


developed & tested with Violentmonkey on Firefox

  • Can you please add a feature to post a [tag:cv-pls] link message in Tavern on the Meta?
    – gparyani
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 15:23
  • @gparyani excellent idea. IIRC one of the SOCVR scripts has a similar functionality, it should be easy to adapt it to this situation.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 15:25
  • 1
    I don't like this particular canned comment, and I don't want it to be in widespread use. Can you please un-hard-code it from your script, and instead add a blank prompt to enter it? It would also be great if you added a community wiki answer where users can compile and post their examples of comments.
    – gparyani
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 15:36
  • Yes, that will be configurable at some point. I chose this comment because I was already using it before the script; I was already using it because some other people used very similar comments. If you can arrange some kind of consensus among the Meta regulars, either in the Tavern or on Meta.SE itself, about what the comment should look like, I can update the script to use that as a default.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 15:40
  • A blank field would be one of the configurable options, yes. But then I need to mess with the Stack Exchange UI, which is a lot harder than executing simple POST calls. I'll let you know when this feature is available, but why not post a Q&A on Meta.SE right now, so that people without userscripts can profit? Similar to math.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4925/228959
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 15:43
  • It works perfectly on Meta.SE but I always get an error when I use it on Meta.SO and the close vote doesn't go through. The error message says "Form submission canceled because the form is not connected". ​Not sure if I'm the only one
    – 41686d6564
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 7:26
  • @41686d6564 thanks for the bug report. The script used the wrong close reason ID (or it has been changed on SE's side, I don't know) and that has been corrected in v1.8. I couldn't test it because of the lack of testcases :P but I'm reasonably confident I fixed it.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 7:50
  • 1
    That's for the quick fix! I tested it on a random post, selecting "Vote to close" only with the intent to retract the close vote if it goes through. I can confirm it now works as expected. Thanks again :)
    – 41686d6564
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 8:01

4 Answers 4


If not available already, can we have a version of that user script applying for Meta Stack Overflow please?

We face the very same problem there frequently.

  • That would be rather easy, but not as easy as adding an @include rule. The 'button' is only active for questions by users with 1 reputation; on Meta.SO a different rule should apply since you can't post there with 1 reputation. Any thoughts about a sensible alternative rule (for MSO only)?
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:35
  • @Glorfindel It seems they can post even with 1 rep there meanwhile. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:37
  • If they ask about their own post, yes. (And they might get downvotes and lose reputation after posting on meta.) But the Help Center says 5 rep. I'm not that active anymore on MSO, but I remember seeing programming questions by users from 5-±100 rep who were either lost or question-banned (or both). The thing is, those are difficult to separate from low-rep users who have a genuine Meta question. Especially with the information on the page itself, I'd rather not have the script make a GET call to their profile page.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:41
  • @Glorfindel I believe at MSO, the focus tends to users asking about their own questions. But I understand the technical obstacles you're challenging there. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:46
  • Yeah, maybe I should just show it if at least 2 of the 3 following conditions hold: 'New contributor' indicator is visible; the user has <100 reputation; or the post's score is <0.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:54
  • @Glorfindel New Contributor seems to be a valid key. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:56
  • I've released version 0.2 with MSO support; the 'lost soul' link is shown under the conditions mentioned in my previous comment. I haven't had the chance to test it yet.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 17:31
  • It's worth noting that users who are a member of a Team have the ability to post on MSO with just 1 rep (cc @Glorfindel)
    – gparyani
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 11:01
  • @Glorfindel The close option feature is broken at MSO atm. Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 20:37
  • @πάνταῥεῖ I think I forgot about your comment, but version 1.8 (released two months ago) should have fixed this.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 13:50

I often find a situation where clicking the lost souls link is applicable at an MSE/MSO question, but someone else already commented with a way worse comment than the stock comment generated by the script (missing the essential information and links).
If there's already a comment on the question, the stock comment won't be generated.

It would be nice to have an option to force generating the stock comment on confirmation (a simple checkbox at the confirmation dialog should suffice).

  • Maybe it could detect if any of the comments IS the stock comment and if not, generate it.
    – rene
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 9:01
  • @rene I believe that's already done, and the stock comment is upvoted automatically. Though, if there's any other comment the script doesn't seem to generate the stock comment. Also I think there are comment styles that merely say the same, and do well equally to give the OP the necessary information. I'd prefer to sort out myself what to do or not. THX for your attention. Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 9:05
  • This has been implemented in version 1.0, which also features a nice shiny Stacks dialog.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 6:51

Lost soul is easy to flag rather than click 3 times on flag dialog for off topic question.

But it's up-vote previous canned comment for blatantly off topic for entire site.

Give option to up-vote previous comment or not.

Sample but not perfect.

enter image description here

  • 1
    This option is now included in v1.6 of the script.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 14:42

I have been using this on Meta Stack Exchange for the past two months, but it broke in the past few days, I have been getting the error message

An error occurred, please try again later.

when I try to use the script and Vote to Close a question. After getting the error message, my closevote is not registered. The Goodbye “off-topic”, hello “community-specific reasons”? feature was added in the past few days and resulted in significant changes to the close dialog, so I suspect that may be the cause.

Yes, I did try to wait and try again later as suggested by the text of the error message. The result was the same, I got the error message again and my closevote did not register.

  • Have you updated to the latest version (1.5)? Tinkeringbell noticed it too and I pushed a fix the same day. Since then, it works for us again.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 5:39
  • (See here for an example where I cast a close vote via the script.)
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 8:41

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