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This is a screenshot of an on-hold box on Electrical Engineering, but my question applies to all the sites.

enter image description here

The box says: "The users who voted to close". Is it by-design that this box says "close"? I'd propose to change it to: "The users who put this on hold" or "The users who voted to put this on hold".

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Well, the link to vote still says "close". Not "put on hold". – Bart Jun 28 '13 at 15:16
It's still a close, in every way except for the displayed description. The change in wording is for the benefit of inexperienced users, to encourage them to improve their post. Veteran users know what "close" means, and so do new users (after 5 days). – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 15:20
@RobertHarvey I understand that - but if it's for the benefit of new users, why not change the wording in the box? I'd say keep the 'back-end' for experienced users on 'closed' if you really must, but change everything on the 'front-end' for inexperienced users to 'on hold'. I understand that it's still a close, but doesn't this message appear for the user himself? – Camil Staps Jun 28 '13 at 15:30
It does, but the sooner you get people acclimated to what voting to close is, the better. Voting to close is not the same as putting questions on hold; it takes one person to do the former, but five to do the latter, and the latter turns into an actual close five days later anyway. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 15:36
In other words, we don't vote to put questions on hold; we vote to close them. It's just that people now spend five days in purgatory before going to hell, rather than going straight to hell like they did before. :) – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 15:37
@RobertHarvey I understand your point but am not sure if I agree. Could you write an answer based on these comments, so we can see what the community thinks about it? – Camil Staps Jun 28 '13 at 15:38
up vote 8 down vote accepted

The only material difference between "on hold" and "closed" is that the phrase "on hold" is displayed for the first five days in two places: in the close banner, and in the title of the question.

That's all. No other changes to the behavior of the system were made, other than questions edited by the OP within five days of closure go into the re-open queue, but that's not relevant to close voters. The reason for these changes is apparent, and broadly discussed: we're encouraging people to improve their questions. The word "closed" suggests a finality that doesn't really exist (and never has).

Voting to put on hold has never been a thing, and still isn't. Voting to close is. All the wording change does is add a gate, and it's not even a real gate. It doesn't change the behavior of the system at all, except for the display of the wording.

But, if you do change the wording, you will have to add a date check everywhere the wording exists to implement the new wording for the first five days, new wording that I think veteran users (i.e. anyone with enough rep to vote to close) couldn't care less about.

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Yeah, it's already bothering me with people saying, "I voted to put it on hold." No, you voted to close it... When you deposit a check and it's "on hold" while it clears, you don't say you put your check on hold, do you? No, you say you deposited your check. – animuson Jun 28 '13 at 15:55
@RobertHarvey Closed questions that are edited by the OP don't go to the reopen queue then? They used to. What's the motivation for stopping that behavior for closed questions? – Servy Jun 28 '13 at 16:00
@Servy: This says five days. But it also says it's been live since February. A time limit does make sense; you don't necessarily want questions that have been edited by the OP six months later to go into the reopen queue. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 16:03
@RobertHarvey Why is an edit 6 months after the question was closed not likely to be an attempt at getting the question reopened? I would think a lot less people would bother editing their questions after 5 days of being on hold, but if they did I wouldn't think it's less likely to be an attempt at reopening. – Servy Jun 28 '13 at 16:17
@Servy: Might just be a typo, who knows? But it's clear that we're establishing a five day period when users can get full attention for their newly-asked questions and are encouraged to improve them during that time. That's less clear once the "closed" moniker is put on the question. Stack Overflow questions are not like fine wine; they don't get better with age. Remember that old questions in good standing that receive substantial edits still get bumped to the front page anyway. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 16:22

In all other areas of the UI, you're still voting to 'close' the question:
voting to close

And the votes are still 'close' votes:
close votes

So once enough 'close' votes come in, the question is put 'on hold'. This seems consistent with the message in the on-hold box. It shouldn't be changed unless you change it everywhere. Like this: vote to put on hold
on hold votes

This would perhaps make it a bit more clear by completely eliminating the usage of the word 'close' in favor of 'on hold', but I doubt this is really causing enough confusion to warrant that.

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