The page stackoverflow.com/about still says questions may be closed.

Questions that need improvement may be closed until someone fixes them.

It would be better to say that questions may be put on hold until someone fixes them.

  • 5
    After five days they're closed, so let's put both in to make sure we cover all the grounds – random Aug 13 '13 at 3:33

I think the existing wording is the simplest way to convey the idea. The About page is aimed at new users or visitors who don't need to know or care about the intricacies of our closing process.

Just being introduced to the notion that questions may be closed (whatever that means in practice) is enough, and the actual mechanics, help pages, wording on the close reasons, et cetera can do the rest.

  • I agree. K.I.S for the sake of newcomers! :-) (just in case... Keep It Simple) – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Aug 13 '13 at 7:43
  • OK. I just thought "on hold" sounded more friendly. – indiv Aug 14 '13 at 21:15

How about:

Questions that need improvement may be put on hold and, if not improved within five days, closed.

However, since sometimes a question may takes hours or even days to get closed, it may be useful to clarify whether "five days" is from the point of closure or from the point of asking.

As an aside, when checking to see if there is a functional difference between "on hold" and "closed" (which we may also want to clarify in the text above, because my suggestion makes it sound like "closed" is worse), aside from the friendlier wording, I found a typo in the FAQ. Yay me!

  • 5
    This gets complex very quickly. Your wording gives the impression that closed questions cannot be reopened, which isn't true. – Adam Lear Aug 13 '13 at 4:04
  • @AnnaLear - I'd suggest just saying (closed/on hold) and lumping them together in the about page. They're really the same thing, so keeping it simple would be best until they participate more on the site and learn more about how the on hold/close/reopen process works. – jmort253 Aug 13 '13 at 4:07
  • 2
    @jmort253 I think even that's going too far for what the About page needs to accomplish. See my answer. :) – Adam Lear Aug 13 '13 at 4:08
  • @AnnaLear ok, updated. If the Help Center only says closed, and people don't go read the more detailed page... – Aaron Bertrand Aug 13 '13 at 4:13
  • @AaronBertrand If the help center is missing something, I'd rather fix that than overload the about page with too much minutiae. – Adam Lear Aug 13 '13 at 4:22
  • @AnnaLear then perhaps - as the OP requested - it should say put on hold instead of closed, since that's what always happens first. Why would the about page say something that only happens after five days of inattention? – Aaron Bertrand Aug 13 '13 at 4:23
  • @AaronBertrand I think it's a simpler concept to understand. Plenty of forums and whatnot use the term "closed" (which, to be fair, bit us before when folks didn't expect that what was closed could be reopened), so it's simple and familiar. – Adam Lear Aug 13 '13 at 4:27
  • @AnnaLear that seems to defy the logic used to introduce "on hold" as a temporary state in the first place. If people don't understand what "on hold" means, they can go read the FAQ. That's why we put more detail there, right? If the about page can't use the terminology that's used when a question is put on hold, then maybe we shouldn't be using that terminology at all... – Aaron Bertrand Aug 13 '13 at 4:28
  • @AaronBertrand My point isn't that the terminology is bad. It's that the About page is too early to introduce the distinction between "on hold" and "closed". It simply does not matter for the intended audience of the page. – Adam Lear Aug 13 '13 at 5:01

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