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I have seen that many questions are now marked [on hold]. I have already enough reputation to cast close votes on questions but I don't see how can I put questions on hold. How can I do it? Is it done within casting close votes, or is it a separate mechanism? If it is a separate mechanism, how much reputation do I need for it?

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You vote to close it.

Questions that get enough votes are put [on hold] for a period of several days. If they have not been reopened in that time, the [on hold] label will change to [closed].

The exact rules and other closing changes are described in:

Closing changes: on hold, unclear, too broad, opinion-based, off-topic reasons, bye-bye to Too Localized

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  • Aha! Finally this is clear. Thanks! – Tomas Jun 27 '13 at 11:41
  • Current several days is five days. – Himanshu Jansari Jun 27 '13 at 11:42
  • @Tomas - see point 3 on meta.stackexchange.com/questions/184154/… – Oded Jun 27 '13 at 11:43
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    @hims056 - Yes. Though this may change or be site specific. I wanted to keep the answer generic ;) – Oded Jun 27 '13 at 11:44
  • As I understand it, five days is now across all SE sites. Of course, that may change over time, or on particular sites. – Tom Au Jun 27 '13 at 12:31
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    @Tomas Its to make clear that (the state formally known as) closed isnt a perminant state of affairs if the question is improved – Richard Tingle Jun 27 '13 at 12:31
  • What @RichardTingle said - essentially the idea is that people don't simply abandon a post ("on hold" suggests it can be salvaged, "closed" doesn't). – Oded Jun 27 '13 at 12:32
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"On hold" is just the fancy term these days for "closed less than five days ago". See the blog post on the closing system redesign, and the help centre entry.

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