I recently stumbled upon an on hold question. The verbiage is a bit... awkward:

on hold as off-topic by Al Everett, Mysticial, Doorknob, Sha Wiz Dow Ard, Josh Caswell 18 mins ago

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Programming questions are off-topic on Meta Stack Overflow. Please refer to how to ask on Stack Overflow. See also: Why are questions no longer being accepted from my account?" – Al Everett, Mysticial, Doorknob, Sha Wiz Dow Ard, Josh Caswell

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question or leave a comment.

I would like to see the first sentence changed to something like this:

This question has been put on hold; it is considered off-topic by Al Everett, Mysticial, Doorknob, Sha Wiz Dow Ard, Josh Caswell 18 mins ago


  • It seems more personal
  • it uses the passive voice to not incite anger
  • It makes sense grammatically
  • It gets rid of the "On Hold as Off" verbiage, which I've tripped over every time I read it. It's not easy on the brain to see opposites so close to each other

I realize this feature request takes a little more work than an in place drop-in, since on hold changes to closed; but I hope you'll at least think about it.

Suggestions on how to improve the close paragraph following a question are welcome.

  • 2
    That is exactly what I was thinking Jun 13, 2013 at 19:25
  • 12
    Or, y'know, This question needs your attention! Which I personally like better than putting people on hold. Anyway, I like your improved wording much better than "on hold."
    – user102937
    Jun 13, 2013 at 19:30
  • 2
    I feel "it is considered off topic by..." is making it rather too personal. "This question appears to be off topic" focusses the OP on the question instead of the people. Other than that I like it. "This question has been put on hold by ..... . It appears to be off-topic."
    – AndrewC
    Jun 13, 2013 at 21:25

4 Answers 4


The simplest correction would be

put on hold as blah blah blah by five, mouthbreathing, overbearing, tyrannical, modraters   just now

Which flips easily to "closed as blah blah blah".

  • 21
    "mouthbreathing, overbearing, tyrannical, modraters" is the best part of the improvement.
    – user102937
    Jun 13, 2013 at 19:56
  • 7
    Thank you, @RobertHarvey; I hope it's clear that my suggestion is that this should be the text for every closing no matter the actual user names!
    – jscs
    Jun 13, 2013 at 19:59
  • 2
    I think a bunch of us should change our names to that and try to get it to happen in the wild. Before this change is implemented!
    – djechlin
    Jun 21, 2013 at 20:38
  • This still seems very awkward to me. "I put it on hold as '...'" really only makes sense if we consider "put on hold" to mean "close" -- something that existing StackExchangers will understand perfectly, but not something we can expect newcomers to get.
    – ruakh
    Jun 29, 2013 at 4:30


Phrasing changed to have the prefix "put " as suggested by Josh Caswell.

With the next build.


Starting the sentence with On Hold and using the current sentence structure is very awkward. The only advantage it offers is the ability to easily substitute in Closed as the appropriate time.

If rewriting the whole sentence will be on the table, let just throw in another idea and to branch off the answer linked to Robert Harvey's comment.

This question needs your attention!

Unfortunately this question has been tentatively closed because it is <insert reason here> by 5 random people...

Then once the status changes from On Hold to Closed just remove the word tentatively (or don't since it would still be accurate).

The only other thing I would suggest is only showing the This question needs your attention to the OP but show everything else to everyone including the OP.


I'd also suggest either

On hold as potentially Off Topic

Or pick your favorite synonym for potentially/possibly.

Closed as Off Topic

Works fine grammatically, but reverts to the old "mean" wording and makes Off Topic closures seem more final by default (which, well, they kinda are).

  • 2
    I see where you are going, but I think this is covered by the very next sentence: "This question appears to be..."
    – jscs
    Jun 13, 2013 at 20:00

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