I seem to notice while browsing the questions list that there always seems to be a question or two containing some reason (almost always broken code) for it to be put on hold. From the last hour as of this post, here and here are the two latest such questions. While the moderators do a very good job of putting these questions on hold within 10 minutes or so, it seems like a problem that could be prevented before it is allowed to take effect.

Since they are almost always new users posting these questions, I would suggest some sort of message in the sign-up process, or a one time mandatory page to read explicitly telling users that this is NOT the place for fixing code (perhaps directing them to SO instead). Thoughts?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean something additional to what's explained on the Tour? \$\endgroup\$
    – Phrancis
    Sep 10, 2015 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phrancis Well evidently that isn't acting enough as a deterent, so yes I do. Is reading the tour page even mandatory? \$\endgroup\$
    – jess
    Sep 10, 2015 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ The main problem is: people don't read. This is certainly not limited to our site, either. Even if you show this info to a new user, they'll just skip it and continue. We just have to continue slamming questions shut and giving them the info again. If they don't wish to comply, then there's not much else we can do. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Sep 10, 2015 at 20:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ When "How to Ask" is too subtle attempts to address the issue of too much broken code. Could this work? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2015 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ no the tour page is not mandatory. on the other hand there still will be users that scroll through anything mandatory without reading it and then just post their off-topic questions anyways. Or do you read the EULA of everything you install?? Deal with off-topic as it comes in, not before, I say :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    Sep 10, 2015 at 20:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related post: Too much broken code \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2015 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


On Server Fault, for example, new users see a click-through warning when asking any question.

Considering that Code Review puts 30% of its questions on hold (though many questions are eventually reopened), it may be time to consider adding this minor obstacle.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This sounds like a good idea, especially considering the stats in the post you linked in the comments. Do you have any information on what effect this had on the number of off topic questions posted over on serverfault? \$\endgroup\$
    – jess
    Sep 10, 2015 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @200 I vaguely remember seeing the source of that "40%" stat once, do you happen to know where that data can be found? \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Sep 10, 2015 at 23:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RubberDuck Users with sufficient privilege can see Question Close Stats. Actually, the long-term average is closer to 30%. Sorry about quoting the wrong statistic. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2015 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aha! That's where it is! Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Sep 10, 2015 at 23:21

I wanted to give you some stats to back up your claim that questions put on hold are "almost always broken". This data is from the moderator tools (2k + link).

Over the last 90 days

  • Questions Asked: 3777
  • Question Closed: 1208

Giving us a percentage of questions put on hold of 31.98%.

Of those 1208 questions put on hold, 653 were closed for being broken. That's over half of the questions we've closed and roughly 16% of all questions asked during that time. So, your observation is correct. This lets us focus our efforts on the chunk of questions/users that's most likely to give us a bang for our buck.

I for one would love to see SE help us out with a title filter along the lines of what was implemented here.

When "How To Ask" is too subtle

I can't say for sure that it would help, but it couldn't hurt.

Without the help of SE staff, there's little we can do but continue to hammer these closed and leave helpful comments pointing to the help center and relevant metas. Many of us use the list of frequently posted comments to make life a little easier.


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