A bit of background:

This question was locked to stop the cycle of close, reopen, close, reopen...
(The question is irrelevant. It's just an example)

But, apparently, you can still add answers to this question. I didn't even know that was possible. I thought the entire thread was locked down. I'm assuming a lot of people would make the same mistake.

Might I suggest that most people don't know what it means (or don't care) that a question has been locked. It could be confusing to users and potentially harmful to the question.

A Solution

The solution would be to remove the general notice and just show a descriptive popup if someone tries to click the link of a "locked function." In this case, clicking on the close link pops up:

A moderator has disabled closing for this question. [click to dismiss]"

It avoids the confusion and avoids "branding" the question in a negative light (everything looks "normal" to most users).

'Just a random thought about usability and the user experience.

  • Lock = you can only perform operations on this specific locked instance and not kill it nor spawn any new ones?
    – o.k.w
    Commented Jan 8, 2010 at 4:07

3 Answers 3


Yeah, I think that's a bit misleading too.

What about if instead of the currently:

This post has been locked; locked posts can't be voted on.

The system shows:

This post has been locked; you can still add answers

  • You can still mark it as a "favorite" too; should then be, "This post has been locked; you can still add answers and/or mark it as a 'favorite'. Also, you can edit and/or vote on existing answers. Comments on existing answers work too. Really, most stuff still works, except for the bits that operate directly on the question itself; you should probably just do what you want, and rely on a notification like this one to let you know if what you're trying to do is disallowed."
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 8, 2010 at 19:34
  • @Shog9 - That's why I thought it made more sense to pop up a notification if a user attempted a "locked" operation... rather than labeling the post with terminology most people wont understand (or even care): meta.stackexchange.com/questions/34815/… Commented Jan 8, 2010 at 20:21

Locked means no votes, edits, or comments may be added to a post. By "post" we mean question or answer.

Closed means no more answers may be added to a question.

They are totally different and independent concepts, at least from the SO perspective.

  • Is there a potential problem with users adding answers in lieu of comments?
    – Gnome
    Commented Jan 8, 2010 at 4:09
  • 2
    @Roger: that's always a potential problem. Even on questions that haven't been locked.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 8, 2010 at 4:22
  • 2
    I just assumed "locked by..." meant that the entire Q/A thread was frozen in time, forever. My bad. Commented Jan 8, 2010 at 4:38

If a popular question is locked to prevent closing or deletion, then it's probably a bit late to worry about discouraging answers. I'd love to know how many of the 29K viewers of that question you link to actually read the 100+ existing answers before posting their own...

I don't think anything else needs to be done. If the big "Your Answer" box at the bottom isn't a clue that answers are still accepted, it's probably just as well.

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