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As there is a consequent number of questions getting the "On Hold" state (for good reasons) I was still wondering how it would possible to increase the number of questions reopened.

The "On Hold" problem, and its fixes, are probably known by most people reading this.

Still, a lot of questions, after the first moderation comments, ultimately finish their route on IPS as Closed.

                 Action                  Moderators Community¹
---------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Questions reopened                               28        179
Questions closed                                351      1,063

I don't have any statistics, but I would bet a big part of "On hold" questions which are not reopened come from new users or one question users. I've even found some cases of new users trying unsuccessfully to edit their questions.

As I agree users need to respect and apply the rules, there are still several reasons which makes me think something more could be done:

  • Someone is coming here and asking > needs help
  • They are unclear about what they want > structure it can help makes it clearer
  • They are unable to properly follow the structure requested by the site, but still give a "possible worthful IPS question" > editing can be done by someone else
  • Other people might face the same issue > A "proper" written & answered question would add itself in the pile of knowledge and discussions

My idea would be to create a new sorting category, which would include "On hold" questions with a minimum score. Those questions would be good clients for editing as I guess a lot of people can make such editions.

Here what it could roughly look like New Questions Sorting

Several members found a quick way of doing it (doesn't mean they want it to happen) but I guess it means it's doable.

  1. What should I do, [mh mh] I mean, what do you think?
  2. Are there other ways to increase the number of editing/questions reopened?
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    Note that even if the community here agrees that this would be a good feature, this is the type of feature that would affect the standard site design, so I think it will be unlikely to be implemented unless the developers consider it worthwhile for the network as a whole. – Alex Jan 3 '19 at 21:14
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    For those who missed it in chat, here's a couple searches that you could use to check out what such a tab might look like: Closed questions, sorted by "active", Questions on hold – Em C Jan 3 '19 at 22:30
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179 questions reopened by the community out of 1,063 is a 16.84% reopen rate.

Conversely, looking at the rate of reopen events on non-deleted questions vs. total closed questions on StackOverflow with some quick SQL magic1 shows they have a lifetime of 47,965 reopen events on undeleted questions and 3,145,501 total closed questions. Or a 1.52% reopen rate.

I think that--with that in mind--we're doing preeeeeeetty well with our reopen rate. I don't think there's any cause for concern or a need for new features to attempt to change things.


1. For those curious, I ran the same query on IPS to see the rate for the lifetime of our site. We have a 276/2,372 = 11.64% reopen rate for our lifetime. I would also encourage you to change the site for the query and take a look at other sites--both graduated and Beta. Our 11.64% seems to be pretty amazing in comparison.

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  • "314,5501" looks really strange. is that 3 million-something, or 314 thousand something with a typo? if the millions, could you fix the commas? (can't suggest edits) – Federico Jan 11 '19 at 8:22
  • @Federico yikes good catch! That's what I get for trying to speed edit. – scohe001 Jan 11 '19 at 14:51
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I don't think adding a tab for on hold questions will make much of a difference to the number of reopened questions on this site.

There are already mechanisms that are designed to increase the visibility of on hold questions, mostly focused around drawing attention to them once they've been edited. This is based on the assumption that as long as a post is in the same form as it was when it was put on hold then it obviously isn't in a state where it can be reopened.

When a question or answer is edited it automatically gets bumped to top of the "Active" tab which improves the visibility of the post. This is the default tab for users of this site so you'd get more "eyes on" a newly edited on hold answer than you would with a dedicated tab for it.

There's also the Reopen Votes review queue. Questions that have been put on hold are automatically added to this queue after they are edited for the first time. This directly puts them in front of users with sufficient reputation to vote to reopen them.

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    Note that edited questions only get sent to the review queue within the five days on-hold period. Once five days have passed the question switches to "closed", and edits don't send it to the review queue. Also, questions with a sufficiently negative score (below -4 on main site and -8 on Meta site, I think) do not appear on the "Active" page even when edited. – Alex Jan 3 '19 at 21:11
  • @Alex the negative score (below -4) only applies for the homepage, not the /questions. – Andrew T. Jan 4 '19 at 15:27
  • @AndrewT. True. But that's what this answer was talking about. I think most people operate from the homepage rather than the questions page. – Alex Jan 4 '19 at 15:32

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