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It would be good to have some easy to follow guidance for how to get a question reopened that is on hold or closed. What I would find useful as a user with a couple of months experience of contributing to the site are some fictitious example questions that illustrate:

  • typical reasons why a question is put on hold or closed; and
  • suggestions as to how the shortcomings could be addressed.

I couldn't find any help in this recent blog post as to what I should do to make my on hold question better. What I did was edit my question to make it more specific and although I got a few reopen votes (and, ironically, one downvote), my question hasn't been reopened. I feel like I've wasted my time and don't feel particularly motivated to try to edit any future questions I have that are on hold (especially as I got some decent answers in the comments to my original question and I feel my edits have made the question a worse fit for those good answers).

In summary, I'm not asking for a reference guide or a better FAQ. What I am asking for is some examples of good practice that I can use as a model to improve my use of the site.

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Do you have a link to the particular question. If you follow the "on hold" message into the help center, you will ultimately get to Is that not sufficient? – Bart Jul 1 '13 at 9:41
@Bart Thanks, the question is here. I looked at your link but that page was primarily about what to do if you disagreed with the question being put on hold. I respect the community decision to put my question on hold, and would like suggestions as to how to make my question better. As a software developer I find "use case" style material easier to understand than "specs", so that's why I'm asking for examples. – TooTone Jul 1 '13 at 10:16
you're not going to be able to "improve" that question the way you could one that was missing detail or was asking too broad a question. It's just the kind of philosophical, opinion seeking, no provably correct answer, open-ended question that isn't a good fit for SO. If you already knew part of the answer, you could ask "what is the workaround or substitute in Python for [R feature]? but the list of differences is just never going to be a stackoverflow question, even before the "extra butter" of "that are important to someone doing X kind of work" – Kate Gregory Jul 4 '13 at 22:07
@KateGregory Point taken, but I still find as an SO user with ~2 months experience that it's rather unclear how I might go about improving questions. I've seen this on other people's questions that have been put on hold too. And fair play if I just got my question plain wrong, but seeing some examples of what kinds of things can be improved might still have helped me avoid wasting time on a lost cause! – TooTone Jul 4 '13 at 22:15
@KateGregory Also, I've come across questions which do seem to be open-ended and seeking opinions. (The one I remember, because I enjoyed it, is "What is the worst gotcha in C# or .NET?", but I'm pretty sure there are others). The point I'm trying to make is that it's actually quite hard to tell what's an acceptable question and what isn't, whether a closed question can be saved, etc. Or at least, I find it hard to tell! And that stops me making my questions better and helping to make the site better. – TooTone Jul 4 '13 at 22:27

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