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I'd like to suggest an edit to the help page on closed/on-hold questions.

The structure is along the lines of:

  • What does it mean if a question is "closed" or "on hold"?

    • Why are some questions marked "on hold"?

    • Why are some questions marked "closed"?

But actually, on reading it, the "on hold" subsection says it all. And several key "closed" points are only made in the "on hold" section, meaning they could be missed by someone led to the "closed" subsection by the headings. I think this needs some kind of reorg.

EDIT I've made some proposed tweaks to the text of the help page. The original text follows: shortly I'll replace it with my edited version. This is to give the option of looking at what's changed using the edit diff.

EDIT I've now replaced the text below with my proposed version and invite comments and/or further editing to improve it.

Help Center > Asking

What does it mean if a question is "on hold" or "closed"?


There is functionally no difference between an [on hold] question and a [closed] one; neither can be answered until it is re-opened, but they both allow comments, votes and edits. For information about reopening questions, see "What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen a closed question?"

Questions that need additional work or are not a good fit for this site may be put on hold, by experienced community members, pending probable closure. While questions are on hold, they cannot be answered, but can be edited to make them eligible for reopening.

Questions that are edited within five days of being put on hold are automatically added to a reopening queue for community review. Questions that are not reopened within five days will automatically change from [on hold] to [closed].

Each closed or on-hold question provides a reason that helps the original poster (or other community members) know what they'd need to do in order to get the question reopened.

What kind of question might be marked "on hold"?

These are the categories of questions likely to be placed on hold:

  • duplicate - the fundamental goal of closing duplicate questions is to help people find the right answer by getting all of those answers in one place This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please edit this question to explain how it is different or ask a new question.
  • off topic - each community decides which specific topics are and are not allowed on their site. This question does not appear to be about the software that powers the Stack Exchange network within the scope defined by the community. What's on- and off-topic is not always intuitive, so it may be necessary to reword the question to fit this site's scope after reviewing the community guidelines.

Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope.

  • unclear what you're asking - sometimes we need more information in order to help solve your problem Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. The way the question is currenty written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.

Edit your post to be more specific about what you're looking for, and be sure to address any concerns that other users brought up in the comments.

  • too broad - if your question could be answered by an entire book, or has many valid answers, it's probably too broad for our format There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow down the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.
  • primarily opinion-based - discussions focused on diverse opinions are great, but they just don't fit our format well. Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than on facts, references, or specific expertise.

Who can mark questions "on hold" or "closed"?

  • Users with 3000 reputation can cast up to 24 close votes per day. When a question reaches 5 close votes, it is marked [on hold], and will no longer accept answers. Those users may vote to reopen questions the same way. Each user may only vote to close and reopen a given question once. (For example, if you vote to close a question that is closed and then later reopened, you cannot vote to close it again.)

  • Moderators may close or reopen any question with a single vote.

Why are some questions marked "closed"? Questions that are not a good fit for this site may be closed, normally after being placed on hold for five days. Full details are given in the "on hold" section above, including what kinds of question are likely to be closed.

Questions are marked [on hold] for the first five days after closure to encourage edits and improvements to the question. If a question is edited by the original poster when it is marked [on hold], it will automatically be placed in a review queue to be considered for reopening. If it is not reopened within five days, the [on hold] notice automatically changes to [closed].

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  • The first section might say it all, but most people won't bother read the whole of it, while the second section is a good summary relevant only to the "closed" part thus it has a value. Aug 19, 2014 at 12:57
  • @ShadowWizard trouble is, it's not actually a very good summary--several key "closed" points are only made in the "on hold" section. I can see the sense in what you say but I still think it needs some kind of reorg.
    – Reg Edit
    Aug 19, 2014 at 18:41
  • Reorganization maybe yes, but not just removing the second section. Aug 19, 2014 at 19:44
  • I've edited the question to reflect this.
    – Reg Edit
    Aug 19, 2014 at 20:49
  • OK, if you have any idea better add it. :) Aug 19, 2014 at 20:51
  • @ShadowWizard: done.
    – Reg Edit
    Aug 21, 2014 at 17:13
  • Is this request obsolete/no longer applicable, since the "on hold" terminology was removed from closed question pages (and the rest of the network)?
    – V2Blast
    Dec 8, 2022 at 7:28

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