Possible names for this feature:

  • "Suspended"
  • "Under review"

I am sure newbies find it quite confronting to ask a question and then have it "closed". A suspend state would be more friendly:

  • "Suspension" feels less "permanent" than "close"
  • A novice poster will feel like they have an opportunity to rectify it (unlike the feeling of "closed")
  • A novice poster will feel more welcome in the SE community
  • Those with fewer credibility points may have right to moderate suspensions, adding more people to that review queue, leading to faster response after a novice rectifies
  • More automation should be possible, because false-positives of "suspension" are not as confronting as a false-positive of "close". Thereby, more suspension/unsuspension can be actioned faster with smaller queues for moderators, and a fast response for novices, being a friendlier experience.

I think it would be simpler if there was a "suspend" state for questions instead.

What other feature requests could be nullified by this idea?


  • There should be fewer votes to suspend - making administration lighter
  • It should unsuspend after being edited by the OP or another editor
  • A suspended question MAY BE closed automatically by the system if left unedited after suspension for X days
  • The usual close rules will apply, but likely with fewer votes needed for closing/reopening, but more review queue work to be focused on the suspend/unsuspend than on closing/reopening
  • People should still be able to post answers. Such answers can help show a reviewer (who doesn't understand the niche technology) whether it is a more specialised Q/A or whether it truly is duplicate. The ability to still get answers for a "suspended" question would be much more friendly to novices and those answering alike

Is this a good design?

  • Downvoted already - gotta love StackExchange culture. There are always a few downvotes on YouTube videos too, I wonder who does that. Jul 6, 2020 at 17:21
  • 14
    Well, once you position yourself as hostile to critique, not to mention post this proposal as an answer to a number of different questions...you're sending off vibes that your solution doesn't have any problems.
    – fbueckert
    Jul 6, 2020 at 17:24
  • 7
    Usually, those who disagree with the post... Jul 6, 2020 at 17:26
  • 1
    @fbueckert "...position yourself as hostile to critique," - a downvote isn't a critique, it's anonymous and void of detail. "you're sending off vibes that your solution doesn't have any problems" - that seems to be the opposite of the time, care, and detail I put into writing this up; not to mention the section that shows the related problems it solves, and improves the novice user's experience (mine included here). Jul 6, 2020 at 17:29
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    "Downvoted already - gotta love StackExchange culture. There are always a few downvotes on YouTube videos too, I wonder who does that." -- There's the hostility I mentioned. You're taking the position that disagreement is hostile and petty. It says everything critics need to know about how to respond. That is, to not.
    – fbueckert
    Jul 6, 2020 at 17:31
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    Design flaw: People more often edit their post to add "achoo" or "dhdhdherfhbb i got answer" or similar nonsense. To un-suspend a question automatically just reverses the time that went into suspending it. Another one: What use is the feature to curators if it practically does nothing? We're not French customs officers, if moderation is ineffectual, then we should spend time doing something else.
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 6, 2020 at 17:38
  • @M.A.R. Thanks for the critique. You'll find in my OP that I address that. With a more friendlier mechanism for "suspend" or "under review", an automatic system is more feasible with less harshness from false-positives. "What use is the feature to curators if it practically does nothing?" - my aim is to improve the user experience, that's something. Jul 6, 2020 at 18:01
  • 7
    Well, if I just vote to suspend a question like some grouchy bureaucrat and people can still answer, my experience suffers. I don't get a kick out of ringing out questions, nobody does. Not everyone is going to be happy interacting with the site, not when you have folks that feel entitled to get an answer. This proposal does not assume the lazier posters would have to do any actual work and makes it even easier for them to post a question, get a quick (in)accurate response, and disappear. How do you address that?
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 6, 2020 at 18:19
  • 9
    Generally, any suggestion that requires more effort from curators is going to be a non-starter; we have enough to do,
    – fbueckert
    Jul 6, 2020 at 18:32
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  • 5
    @Todd - You asked a question that was answered by multiple existing duplicate questions. You disagree with the closure of this question. That doesn’t mean the closure isn’t the proper action
    – Ramhound
    Jul 7, 2020 at 4:05
  • @ramhound my question isn't duplicate. I am introducing important new design elements, calling it something new (language is important), asking for it to be implemented differently, measuring different outcomes. I certainly have not asked "why are questions closed immediately?", I know why, rather this question is about changing that policy and improving newcomer experience. Jul 18, 2020 at 1:37

2 Answers 2


We've actually already tried doing something like this via an "on hold" state. While that change was active, closed questions would instead show as "on hold" for the first five days to encourage users to edit questions and be more friendly to new users.

However, further research showed that none of that actually happened and that the "on hold" label had little to no effect. It was recently removed with the post notice changes because it was not a useful feature.

Your request essentially wants to do the same thing, and for the same reasons, but with even more complicating factors integrated into it. But past experience has shown that it will not achieve what you desire.

  • I used an answer so I can reason about how I see this suggestion as being different. Jul 6, 2020 at 17:36

There is another Q that deals with something similar: Every "close" has its thorn: replace "close" with "on hold" for the first five days

They confirm the anecdotal and peer-agreed notion that "closed" sounds final:

The word "closed" sounds final. Now, we don't mean it to - but right out of the gate, we're leading with a word that tends to evoke finality. Sure, things can be "closed" for repairs, but that's not the most common use of the word. Think of when someone says they've "closed" an issue, or an application, or or a real estate purchase, or a forum thread.

The mechanics for this idea differ to the "on hold" idea:

During the [on hold] period, the only difference is the temporary verbiage change; all the closing mechanics remain the same, so it still can't get new answers, etc.

In this idea, people can still post answers, and editing changes the review status.

Even the name of the feature could impact success (of both user experience and reopen queues): "on hold" has a particular connotation, "suspend" might have a totally different impact even though the meaning is similar, "under review" might be the best. In marketing, multivariate testing is used to gather information across multiple options. Essentially we want to test the "user experience" question once and for all, and we don't know what the best solution is.

From @animuson:

Closed questions would instead show as "on hold" for the first five days to encourage users to edit questions and be more friendly to new users.

This question intends to improve the user experience for novices. Was "niceness" measured for the "on hold" experiment?

From New Post Notices are live network-wide:

"On Hold" had been used to label recently closed questions. The idea was that this language would imply less permanence to the current state than "Closed". However, user research showed that this distinction was generally found to be confusing to users at all levels, and did not seem to have an effect on reopen rates. So we have removed this label. All Closed posts are now labeled as Closed but only the label has changed. Edits within the first five days will still put the question in the reopen queue.

The intention of this feature is not to primarily reduce the queue size. I can tell you now the OP for "on hold" and my post here about the adverse user experience appears to be widely accepted.


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