I've seen this happen a couple of times: It's going very fast to put a message on hold, but taking very long (if at all) to revive it.

As with this message, which needed some more seconds of thinking in the original version. Somebody did understand and answer it, but others didn't and voted to put on hold. This is okay, you can expect people to post a better question if they want good answers.

But the problem is, although I reworded the question to be understood more easily, it didn't get enough votes to be reopened. And that's what I observed before. Users struggled hard to improve the quality of their question, but it didn't get rewarded. This is frustrating, as you can see from a couple of questions in meta.

I don't have the 3000 reputation to be part of close voting, but obviously flagged posts draw a lot more attention to get close votes than on hold questions get to be reopened.

What could be done about that?

P.S.: This is not about the given example! That man has his answer and I don't care. Let's not argue about a specific case, but about the general problem.

  • The question you linked to shows no effort on your part to answer it yourself. I would have voted against reopening it.
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 7:21
  • @jasonwryan You didn't even read that it's not my question. I provided an answer. The question was put on hold because it was unclear, not because there wasn't enough own effort. And this isn't about this specific question, it's a general problem.
    – Philippos
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 7:38
  • It is still a "I need an answer, but I'm not willing to do anything myself to get it" type question. Coupled with the fact that it is a generic text processing request, there is nothing about it that warrants reopening.
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 7:47
  • @jasonwryan The first part is true for 90% of all questions. Go and put all of them on hold! And I would not have edited the question if it wasn't an interesting problem where you can learn a lot about text processing. But I don't want to discuss those thousands of questions put on hold that didn't get reopened despite clarification. You can argue about any specific case, but that won't solve the general problem.
    – Philippos
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 7:55
  • My point is that there is no "problem". And your claim that 90% of questions on the site show a similar lack of effort is ludicrous.
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 8:00
  • 2
    I admit I also have the opposite impression. I've always felt that this site is particularly good at reopening questions. The specific one you show was only closed yesterday and already has 3 reopen votes, for instance. Could you perhaps show us some more examples?
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


Let's not argue about a specific case, but about the general problem.

In general, over the last 30 days, 588 questions were closed. 24 of them were reopened, which sounds low, but only 93 of them were ever edited after being closed; most are just bad questions that get abandoned.

Users with 3000 reputation that can vote to close/reopen also have access to review queues that highlight questions that are good candidates to be closed/reopened. Closed questions that have any reopen votes, or are edited by anyone within 5 days of the question's closure, or just have lots of views, are automatically put into the reopen queue to be reviewed. 372 votes were cast in the reopen queue in the last 30 days, but 2/3s of them were to leave the question closed.

In the specific case you listed, the question was reviewed, and it was an exact tie between "leave closed" and "reopen", so it stayed closed. Of all the reopen reviews in the last day, every one was unanimous except that one, so you seem to have found an edge case. If you have a particular suggestion to help reopen good questions, we can look into that, but it seems like in most cases the questions are closed for a good reason.

  • Thank you very much for the statistics! It seems my experience was not typical. For some reason none of the questions I helped to improve or edited myself got reopened. That's why I supposed there is a general problem. If only one out of four edited questions gets reopened it's still disappointing, but I can't judge whether the edits did solve the original problems of the question, so it might be okay and I accept your answer.
    – Philippos
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 16:22
  • As for a suggestion: The comments of jasonwryan suggests that he wants the question to remain close for a different reason than the reason it has been closed for in the first place. That may be frustrating for the OP struggeling to reopen it, but working on the wrong reason. Maybe instead of voting to close it one could vote to keep it closed for a different reason? Thank you.
    – Philippos
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 16:26
  • I don't want to speak for jasonwryan, but if I'm interpreting his comment/stance correctly, it's "VTC as unclear because the OP has not shown where they failed to achieve their goal", which is similar on the surface to "VTC as unclear because the problem is not fully specified" (which is the part that you tried to help fix)
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 17:26
  • @Philippos That suggestion is posted on the main Stack Exchange meta here Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 17:30

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