After a question is put 'on hold', the first time it is edited (if within 5 first days after closure), it is automatically sent to the reopen review queue (see How do you reopen a closed question? and What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen it?), where it receives a greater chance of getting attention and being reopened.

But I have observed, frequently, this automatic sent to the reopen queue comes with an irrelevant edit to the motive the question was put 'on hold' (example, someone else than OP remove 'Thanks'), hence, it remains closed. If the OP (asker) later edit his/her question, it won't automatically be sent to the queue, and will depend on >3k rep users casting a reopen vote to sent it again for review.

I have expressed this concern before in this post: Is there a limit to the number of times a question is eligible to vote on to reopen after it has been edited?

I would like to know what the community thinks about carrying on edits in 'on hold' questions, where such edits do not address the reason the question was put 'on hold'? Are they ok?

Because I believe the benefits of such types of edits (better readability) do not overcome the possibility of a question not getting reopened. Another downside is that editing 'on hold' questions (when the edits are irrelevant to the the close reason), bumps the question to the active page and reduces time of visibility from new answers.

Important: I am not referring to edits like removing 'thanks' and other kind of noises, fixing typos and grammar, editing tags, better title, etc, to questions which are opened, but only the ones with 'on hold' status.

  • 3
    I agree and try to not to edit On Hold questions knowing that it'll put them in the reopen queue (and likely have them not reopened due to the close reason not being fixed). I believe that edits to On Hold questions should be to satisfy the close reason in order to reopen. If the edit is not an attempt to fix the question it should not be edited. – Midavalo Aug 14 '17 at 20:41
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If I understand your question then it can be summarised in these three dot points:

  • You are wanting to provide guidance principally to those with the privilege to edit questions, i.e. a reputation of 2,000+ (less experienced users are much less likely to be ready for nuanced editing), for when they see a question that needs improvement, but has already been placed On Hold.
  • You are not talking about questions that are Open, fully Closed or already in the Review Queue.
  • Your answer to Should 'Hi', 'thanks', taglines, and salutations be removed from posts? for any question containing them would be "Yes, but in the case of questions that are On Hold, there should be additional effort expended to also address directly the reason for the question having been placed On Hold, or they are best not edited at all."

My workflow when encountering any question has been based on the assumption that demonstrating the removal of "'Hi', 'thanks', taglines and salutations", so that users quickly cease to include them (creating later work for all of us, and setting a poor example for new users), should be the first teaching goal. I do this to reinforce that SE is wiki-style, and not a forum, as early in a user's engagement with focused Q&A, as possible.

Adjusting my workflow to one where I do one of the following for On Hold questions seems feasible:

  • edit out any "'Hi', 'thanks', taglines and salutations" and also make a more substantive edit to try and address the reason their question was placed On Hold
  • don't edit, and instead comment to say that "'Hi', 'thanks', taglines and salutations" should never be included in their posts
  • don't edit or comment

The above should be a fallback because I think we should try to always remove thanks, other chit chat, spelling mistakes, confusing grammar, etc from a question body, and make its title more concise, before voting to place On Hold, so that any "irrelevant to the On Hold reason" issues are no longer present by the time a question goes On Hold.

  • First bullet (mainly >2k rep users, but why not any type of users? Suggested edits also counts). Second bullet (yes; editing from the Reopen review queue would be ok, because the question was already triggered for review anyway). Third bullet, also yes, but with the caveat that in most cases only OP will be able to address the close reason. I think the adjusted workflow is reasonable. – Andre Silva Aug 15 '17 at 16:45
  • What do you mean, with your last edit? I am not sure if I understand the keyword 'fallback'. Like 'fallback' = 'exception'? – Andre Silva Aug 17 '17 at 14:52
  • @AndreSilva I'm simply emphasizing that the best time to educate on question structure (i.e. this not being a forum, no chit chat, etc) is before anyone votes to place a question On Hold. That way the beginner temptation to look for and find the +2 reps in easy ways does not find, and disrupt resolving the content issues in, On Hold questions that are the subject you raised in this Meta Q&A. – PolyGeo Aug 17 '17 at 22:22

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