On Meta Stack Overflow we had a discussion about changing the wording of [on hold] to something else. There seemed to be a very clear consensus that the current wording of "on hold" is not satisfactory.

I'm proposing that "on hold" should be changed to something else.

I'm not attached to any one particular solution: there are a handful of different ideas proposed in the other question that make sense, and I think any one of them is an improvement to the status quo.

This idea has precedent on the international Stack Overflow sites:

The current wording, [on hold], feels a bit off-putting for new users unfamiliar with the system. The analogy with being put on hold on the telephone (a rather unpleasant experience) suggests that the question poster should not take any action, whereas the purpose of the "on hold" period is to encourage the poster to edit their question to fit the site, if possible.

  • I like "needs improvement" , whereas "awaiting improvement" could confuse a newbie thinking someone else will come along and improve their question which isn't always the case. "Pending" doesn't really tell us much about anything, pending what? Does the question need mod approval, bank approval? Who knows what pending refers to.
    Jul 22, 2015 at 3:03
  • I don't really like the Portuguese variant either, to be honest. I don't speak Japanese, so I can't really comment on the Japanese one - there might be some nuance or cultural expectation that doesn't translate easily. Jul 22, 2015 at 3:06
  • 3
    I'd be in favour of this if there is a decent alternative, which would potentially/arguably prompt users to edit. But not just changing it for the sake because "on hold is not ideal". "On hold" sounds temporary enough to me, and with the "edit your question" prompt, users are catered for pretty well. Don't forget that even changing this to something magical will only get a "few" users to edit their question. Most naff off and don't come back, and I don't think "on hold" is the reason TBH
    – James
    Jul 22, 2015 at 3:09
  • I feel like we just discussed this a few weeks ago. Jul 22, 2015 at 4:27
  • @Qix We did, but it was on the SO meta, not on the Overmeta. Jul 22, 2015 at 5:14
  • Your answers are just blatant copies of the post on MSO. If you do that, please make them community wiki and at least give proper attribution. Jul 22, 2015 at 7:45
  • @PeterOlson You earned my respect. Thanks for editing them. Please don't forget the attribution where necessary. Jul 22, 2015 at 7:48
  • @PatrickHofman Thanks for the suggestion, that hadn't occurred to me Jul 22, 2015 at 7:55
  • 2
    Did you repost this here because you want this change in the wording to be network wide?
    – rene
    Jul 22, 2015 at 8:15
  • 2
    @rene Yes, and to upgrade from discussion to feature request. Jul 22, 2015 at 8:15
  • 1
    @PeterOlson you could have flagged your question to be moved here. Jul 22, 2015 at 8:19

4 Answers 4


The wording should be changed to "needs improvement".

(suggestion copied over from the meta SO thread)

  • I think under moderation should work
    – Bala
    Jul 22, 2015 at 7:02
  • 9
    @Bala why? That suggests a moderator should do something. The proposed wording puts the responsibility back to the OP. Jul 22, 2015 at 7:40
  • What happens for on hold reasons which are not in need of improvement?
    – James
    Jul 22, 2015 at 18:52

The wording should be contingent on the close reason.

  • "duplicate of..." - [duplicate], as it is now
  • "off topic because..." - [off topic]; these questions are less likely to be salvageable through editing
  • "unclear what you're asking" - [needs clarification]
  • "too broad" - [needs refocus]
  • "primarily opinion-based" - Nothing coming to mind, maybe also [needs refocus]?

(based on a suggestion from the meta SO thread)

  • Chances are if it's opinion-based it's not going to be re-opened, in my experience. Jul 22, 2015 at 5:33

The wording should be changed to "needs editing".

(suggestion copied over from the meta SO thread)

  • What happens for on hold reasons which are not in need of editing?
    – James
    Jul 22, 2015 at 18:52

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