Question: https://security.stackexchange.com/q/121611/61443

@schroeder close-hammered this question as "unclear what you're asking" within 20 minutes of it being posted.

Sure, it's not a great question, but it wasn't unclear to me, and I thought there were points to be made. Moreover I had spent the last 15 mins typing up a multi-paragraph answer, which SE deleted the draft for when the question was closed.

Do bad questions really need to be closed? Isn't that what comments / downvotes are for? If an OP takes the time to come here and craft a question, they clearly want some information. Just because a question isn't going to get a good answer, should we deny it from getting any answer?

The broader theme here is that I have started to develop a bad habit of posting a placeholder answer like

Placeholder ~~ edits to come.

and then I start googling / typing. I really don't like doing that because it looks bad, but if questions are going to continue getting closed on me mid-answer, then I'll keep doing it!

  • 2
    I had asked a clarifying question within seconds of it being posted, then waited 15 minutes. My assumption was that the OP was still online and could have responded. Perhaps I was too quick.
    – schroeder Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:01

3 Answers 3


Regarding that specific post, it isn't a good fit. It would require an awful lot of work to take it from entirely opinion based to something that can be accurately answered.

The recommended way to get this done is to put the question on hold straight away, so that answers don't get posted based on assumptions that may turn out to be completely wrong, edit the post, and then reopen.

Putting a question on hold does not close it, or stop the OP improving it.

I agree that functionally, there should be an improvement on how draft answers are handled (and I'm pretty certain there is a post on meta.se on this) as it catches me out reasonably often too.


I'd have to say even in the case of being a moderator, starting a close vote might still be the best option. This will give them time to get notifications that it's being down voted to be closed, comments, feedback, and a chance to improve it.

Of course in the case of a moderator if the question is only close or not close, maybe a moderator should have the ability to do that alongside being able to start a vote and a feature request needs to be submitted. Can schroeder or avid or rory comment a bit more on that?

Of course there's also the problem of votes to close happening too fast like here: Why is Linux considered more secure than Windows?* many easily searchable questions that, sadly, could be much more directed and made in a much better question with just some simple editing that actually has a valid answer to it to get rid of misconceptions to a common question, and then have to wait for a vote to open.

*: My first search for duplicates yielded very few results, but later yielded many. This is a bad example

  • 1
    One quick point on closing - they are not closed. They are put on hold in order to be edited. This is correct according to the SE model - if the question needs editing, best option is to edit if you can, but if you can't, let's get it on hold, then it can be edited into a good state and reopened.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 9:07
  • Also that feature request has been discussed many times on meta.se. There are good and valid reasons not to go that way.
    – AviD Mod
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 10:20
  • 3
    That question was not closed quickly enough, IMO. There is no possible way to make that question even close to being an actual question. Not to mention how many duplicates already exist.
    – AviD Mod
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 10:24
  • Wow yeah there are a lot of duplicates. Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 19:16

Normally I wait at least a couple hours or more and see how things transpire. I had hoped to catch the user online so that the question could be improved right away.

  • I imagine that results may vary in that regard. ex) Some new users might have no idea where to / how to check their notifications on SE. Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:11
  • Wondering: If a user never refreshed the page, would the [On Hold] change be pushed in the same way that "A new comment/answer has been posted for this question" gets pushed without refreshing? Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:12
  • @WorseDoughnut that's true, but there is the big red on dark blue box along the top
    – schroeder Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:15
  • Agreed, it's very obvious. But I mean like, super-duper new. Like, really-don't-understand-the-straight-forward-UI-of-a-basic-website-layout/design kind of new. It's an edge case, but still possible IMO. Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:19
  • 1
    In this case, it was an unregistered user anyway. So notifications are not really helpful.
    – AviD Mod
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 10:18

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