I'm new to Stack Exchange and I felt very annoyed when a question was put on hold and I think the reason is that the closed question notice could be more sympathetic. Here is the closed notice I received with some information redacted:

Closed question notice

The "help center" link is very good and detailed and also leads to a good and detailed page describing how to re-open the question.

I'm guessing that I felt the annoyance and other emotions because the notice suggests that I don't have any agency to disagree; i.e., that all I can do is edit my question. In my case, multiple expert commenters agreed with my question before it was put on hold, and there was not much more information to add. In fact, the only reason I came back to it was to post one of the comments as an answer, which I could no longer do.

A suggested enhancement to the notice:

[...] you can learn more about this action and the appeal process by reading the help center. [...]

  • Are you asking about that particular close reason, or all close reasons?
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 1:07
  • 2
    I agree; the notice makes the assumption that the question was closed correctly; it doesn't consider the possibility of people making mistakes. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 1:18
  • @Gnemlock I don't know what the other close reasons look like, but my feature request is to add text like what I suggest at the bottom of my request ("[...] and the appeal process [...]") to any close reason notices that don't have such text. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 1:57
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog I think you summarize it in one sentence well, thanks. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 2:08
  • 13
    I think there is an assumption that if you know enough about the site to be in the position to appeal requests, you should not have to be told that you can. This poses the risk of an increase in poor "why was my question closed" meta posts where we have to explain basic site rules to new users.
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 2:40
  • 1
    @Gnemlock The rules pages regarding what's on-topic and what's not do not indicate how to appeal requests. A user who knows about the site scope thus has a reasonable chance of not knowing the appeal process. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 2:51
  • 1
    @Gnemlock I see what you're saying, but an important difference is that most moderators are seasoned and less emotionally affected by having to quote a FAQ page one additional time, whereas some new users like myself will feel strong negative emotions and may be turned away from the community permanently. I agree with you that now that I know the process, I'll no longer feel said emotions, but I'm honestly reporting that I felt strong negative emotions, and in support of what Sonic is saying, the appeal process is on a secondary link and users in a negative emotional state might not find it. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


It seems a lot of users have agreed with my initial comments, and since no one has answered this yet, I am going to post it as an answer.

I think there is a fair assumption that if you know the basics of this site and how it works, you should know that this can be brought up in Meta. I also think it is fair to say that if you are in the position to know enough about how any of the sites work to argue an appeal to reopen a question, you should not need to be told that you can do so on Meta.

All in all, I agree that some close reasons may be more helpful if they direct the user to Meta, though I can not personally think of any examples. However, not all of them. If you want to raise a request to edit individual close reasons, it needs to be brought up on the individual Meta site.

  • "a fair assumption that if you know the basics of this site and how it works" and what if you don't?
    – Federico
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 13:01
  • @Frederico, then you don't know how this site works any where near as much as you think you do
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 0:00
  • @Gnemlock I'm confused about your discussion about Meta. I may be misunderstanding something. What parts of the notice are common across StackExchange and what parts are specific to a site? Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 0:57
  • @freeradical, well, if you go on any other StackExchange, you will notice there is no "homework question" close reason..
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 4:04
  • @Gnemlock Ok, so to be clear, my particular problem is with the text, "If this question can be reworded [...]" which is not to do with homework. Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 21:12

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