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A moderator said in comments yesterday

Putting a question "on hold" is the same thing as closing questions. When I say they should not be closed, I mean they should not be put "on hold". I'm pretty sure that most of the users I've interacted with are the same.

This was in response to a comment where I said:

I think these questions should be put on hold until they can be fixed to not ask for the impossible.

This is not how I understood SE to work. The intent of putting a question on hold was that we could prevent the bad question from attracting answers that would make it impossible to edit the question to make it approriate, with out invalidating existing answers.

So is this community going to handle that differently than I have experienced on other SE Sites? Should we not try to put questions on hold so that they can be edited into shape before they get bad answers?

To be clear I am not asking to rehash the discussion from yesterday and simply looking to address the On-hold or not aspect.

TL;DR; Should we be putting questions on hold that are not currently of a quality to attract good answers, if they have the potential to be edited into good questions?

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When a question is submitted, it isn't always perfect. If you cannot fix any problems right then and there (a quick edit or typo), you always want to put a question on 'hold' until the problem can be addressed.

Putting a question 'on hold' prevents folks from answering it while it's not clear if the question will be clarified, changed, or morph into something else entirely. You don't want users to start guessing when the underlying question is not complete.

A workflow of "hold" > fix > reopen is better than simply assuming a question can be fixed or that the author will return and address the underlying issue.

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When users cast close votes they think the current version of the question is close worthy and intend to close the question.

If the question is later fixed while the question is "on hold" that's great and obviously a preferred outcome.

Effectively "closed" and "on hold" are the same thing, for a long time we didn't even have the "on hold" step, questions were just closed directly. "On hold" was added in the hope of encouraging users to edit rather than abandon their problematic posts.

TL;DR; Effectively "closed" and "on hold" are the same thing, if you can't salvage the question yourself, don't hesitate to vote to close.

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  • 2
    And "on hold" changes to "closed" in a few days, tops, if it isn't reopened in the meantime. – NVZ Aug 25 '17 at 15:47
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Is being on-hold the same as closed [?]

The answer of apaul34208 is absolutely right in saying

When users cast close votes they think the current version of the question is close worthy and intend to close the question. (...) Effectively "closed" and "on hold" are the same thing, for a long time we didn't even have the "on hold" step, questions were just closed directly. "On hold" was added in the hope of encouraging users to edit rather than abandon their problematic posts.

No TL;DR: 'On hold' is exactly the same as 'closed', but the wording is possibly more useful to OP: 'closed' seems to have a connotation of negative finality which can discourage constructive editing. 'This question has been put on hold....please edit it so that members might consider voting to reopen' (paraphrase) gives OP a much more positive message.

...and should we avoid putting questions on hold if they can be salvaged?

The way SE works, any question that does not fit the 'on-topic' guidelines is voted closed first and ask questions later. Some voters are rather quick to close-vote (less so at IPS.SE) but Stack Exchange websites are scrupulously fair and reasonable: if OP has the committment and the patience to edit it into acceptable shape it is very likely to be reopened. This is my personal experience as OP on multiple sites.

If OP or someone else cannot convince the voters the question will never be reopened.

Is this harsh and does it intimidate or demotivate a new user? That may well be another meta question. What I know as a new member everywhere on SE is, it works to weed out bad questions pos(t)ed by a lazy OP.

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