I recently asked a question (edited: I've removed the link because I would like an answer that is not specific to only one question). It has been placed on hold as too broad - which is fine, I think the question in its current form is too broad and I am not appealing against the decision.

What I want to know now is what do I do next? Is it my duty (maybe a too strong word) as a stack-exchanger to clean up the question and leave it as a non-closed question so that others who have the same question can get an answer? Shall I just let it go from On Hold to Closed? Are there any reasons why it would be bad for me to have a question Closed (rep loss, less likely to get good answers in the future, ...)?

I am happy that I have an answer. I have learnt something, I have been forced to rethink some concepts and to get a more rigorous understanding of a few terms. I just want to make sure that I am giving back to the community as much as I am taking.

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    You have a good attitude. Perhaps fix the question to make it more focused while keeping the answer valid. Then, it would be ripe for reopen votes.
    – Sabre Tooth
    Dec 4, 2014 at 10:22
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    I doubt that it can be reopened due to its broadness and opnion-based character, although I'm not a seasoned user of programmers.se to tell for sure. I guess it will only fly if you add actual environment requirements, explain that the GC based solution didn't work and what you should do to solve that (if that was the case). Now it is more of a theoretical excercise. And although you're free to ask here but the meta of programmers.se might be a better place as most users will visit that instead of MSE...
    – rene
    Dec 4, 2014 at 10:37
  • I hate to link to that, because it does take a more...let's call it "defensive" approach than it sounds like you're looking for (like Sabre Tooth said above, you have good attitude with this), but it does have good points contained in the answers. Dec 4, 2014 at 11:25
  • @MatthewHaugen - I've removed the link to the original question. I would argue that this is not a duplicate - the "What is a on hold question?" focuses on why a question is on hold - I am asking what to do about it, or even if I need to do anything.
    – Jonny
    Dec 4, 2014 at 12:02
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    @gnat - Not really. I can find out how to reopen a question easily, I am asking should I aim to get the question reopened.
    – Jonny
    Dec 4, 2014 at 13:27
  • do you ask in general or about specific-question?
    – gnat
    Dec 4, 2014 at 13:27
  • In general - as I have stated in the original question "(edited: I've removed the link because I would like an answer that is not specific to only one question)"
    – Jonny
    Dec 4, 2014 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


Are there any reasons why it would be bad for me to have a question Closed (rep loss, less likely to get good answers in the future, ...)?

Having a question closed does not impact your reputation at all.

It's unlikely that having a single question closed will make it more difficult to get answers in the future. On many sites, no one will particularly notice. Having a bunch of questions closed might get you labeled a crank, but one question is unlikely to draw notice. You might get a better answer from the meta of the site where you posted, as I don't know what the community is like (even if you told me what site, I might not know).


The next step after closure is a delete vote. This won't automatically delete the question, but it might.

There is also no general penalty for having a question deleted, but having a question deleted will reverse your reputation changes from that question. If you currently gain reputation from the question, you will lose it if deleted. Note that the question does not need to have a positive score to give you reputation. Upvotes give more than downvotes take away, so you may gain reputation from a question with a negative score.

If you have no answers and negative reputation from the question, you may want to delete it yourself. That will save the community from a delete vote and will give your reputation back immediately. You don't have to do this though. If you're satisfied with the current state of the world, it's fine to let things go.

If you currently have positive reputation from the question, you may want to try to salvage it. Editing a question to make it more narrow is perfectly legitimate and will kick off a reopen vote. Or you can do nothing and let it go. You won't lose any reputation but what you gained from that question.

A lot of this calculation depends on the specific question. Is it easy to salvage? Is it likely to be controversial even if changed? How much do you need the answer?

I wouldn't get too caught up in altruistic reasons to salvage the question. Is the question useful to you? If so, you might want to try to salvage it. If it's not that useful to you, then it's probably not that useful to others. If it is useful to someone else, let that person ask it. Note that salvaging a "Too Broad" question will tend to make it less useful to others, as the focus will narrow to cover less of the subject.

Stack Exchange tends to work best when questions are driven by need. If you need an answer, then it's likely that someone else will as well. If you don't, then perhaps no one does. If someone else does, let that person ask. That way, the question will better reflect what that person needs.


What I want to know now is what do I do next?

Well firstly, you got it right.

  1. You should add more details which can help the others to understand your issue.

Add more code to it if you just asked random question like "I tried something for achieving this task but that didn't work." Post stacktrace of error if any.

  1. If its a broad question, you can try to break it down in points. And elaborate at which point you are facing confusion.

E.g: You ask is array better or arraylist? (Too broad.) Elaborate what you want to do. Why have you faced this question? What did you find in your research? Add links wherever applicable. Add images where ever necessary.

  1. If that's not a very clear question (put on hold as unclear), then you can probably try improving your explanation and making it clear.

After that you can nominate question for reopen and if you get enough reopen votes from reviewers (5, I think), the question will get reopened, and you may get a clear good answer. Which may help community i future.

P.S: All said, and written, you should still target to write a well formatted question in the first place, which doesn't get put on hold ;)

  • 1
    I would add that when a question is edited by the original poster after being put on hold, it automatically goes into the queue to be reviewed for reopening.
    – David Z
    Dec 4, 2014 at 14:26

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