I thought about the appropriate location for this question before posting, and I came to the conclusion that it is, at its root, a problem of diction and rhetoric... We would, certainly, like to convince question writers to edit their question, rather than to incite their frustration.

The [on hold] message became the norm for English-speaking Stack Exchange websites following a movement to hurt people's feelings less with "close".

For a number of reasons brought up in the past and the present, a suitable alternative may be in order.

What is an alternative that

  • is succinct
  • conveys a need for revision
  • is sufficiently passive (and thus minimizes anger)
  • (preferably) conveys a sense of limited time

and, most importantly, is clear to most readers?

NOTE: This is an English question. Not meta. That said, off-topic is a possibility. That said, I don't think on hold brings any clarity to off-topic in the slightest.

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, user66974, Misti, dwjohnston, Bravo Jul 7 '15 at 21:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Awaiting Revision? – jejorda2 Jul 7 '15 at 18:37
  • 3
    Urgently Awaiting Revision? – SomethingDark Jul 7 '15 at 18:54
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    Needs Revision? – Blubberguy22 Jul 7 '15 at 19:01
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    Can not be answered unless revised within five days Is a little verbose, but tells what needs to be done, why, and when. A countdown with a resolution of days wouldn't be too fiddly, would it? (within four days, within three days...) – jejorda2 Jul 7 '15 at 20:28
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    The ultimate irony... It's been placed on hold... If you believe it's more appropriate, perhaps a kind moderator would migrate this to meta? – ZX9 Jul 8 '15 at 15:42

What about needs improvement or something along those lines. Variants like needs to be improved could be considered too, but the key concept is that the question is not ready yet, but can be changed so it is ready.

  • On ELU, it should of course be needs improved. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 7 '15 at 20:13
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    @JanusBahsJacquet: Really? 'Needs to be improved' perhaps, but not something as ungrammatical as 'needs improved'. – Jonathan Leffler Jul 7 '15 at 20:15
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    There have been several questions on here about the dialectal feature needs/wants X’ed (it's quite grammatical in some US dialects); that's what I was referencing, jokingly. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 7 '15 at 20:17
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    @Avon Whatever advantages the replacement for "on hold" may have, it is unlikely to be shorter. – GetzelR Jul 7 '15 at 20:35
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    @JanusBahsJacquet: Sorry for not being enough of a regular here to have picked up the jocular intent behind your tongue-in-cheek suggestion. – Jonathan Leffler Jul 7 '15 at 21:02

I suggest needs fixing

Certainly succinct
I think it conveys a need for revision
I think it's about as passive as it can be within the bounds of the other requirements. It's not accusatory at any rate.
I think it conveys a sense of limited time.

  • Fixing implies it's broken in the first place. That might be true, but the whole point of this is not to antagonize the asker. The implication should just be improvement on the current post. – Tushar Raj Jul 7 '15 at 20:17
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    @TusharRaj I agree "improvement" is better in that respect but I think it's too long. Short synonym for "improvement" anyone? I don't think there is one. I don't think "fixing" is particularly antagonizing. – Avon Jul 7 '15 at 20:24
  • You gotta look at it from the perspective of the askers. Closed, which is neutral in tone, was done away with because it's hurtful. You really think fixing would fare better? – Tushar Raj Jul 7 '15 at 20:27
  • @TusharRaj "Closed" was rejected for different reasons to that: To quote the article linked to in the OP: "The word "closed" sounds final" That was the problem with it. Not that it was antagonizing - it was off-putting. – Avon Jul 7 '15 at 20:30
  • I didn't say 'closed' was anatagonizing. I said it was neutral and still deemed hurtful. Closed implies it's rejected. Fixing implies it's broken. Not better. You were on the right track with a shorter synonym of improvement. (PS - Use backticks in the comments for code formatting) – Tushar Raj Jul 7 '15 at 20:35

Pending review - universally recognized and inoffensive
cutoff UFN - acronym for until further notice
on ice - (fig.) short for suspended temporarily

  • The first two make it feel like the owner of the question don't need to take action. I like on ice, though... – ZX9 Jul 7 '15 at 21:18
  • I like "pending review", but it's very slightly imprecise: the question has already been reviewed, and now it's pending revision. +1 either way. The problem I have with most answers on this page is they don't make clear that it's primarily the OP's responsibility to make the needed changes; I know we want to encourage the community as a whole to dive in and fix problematic questions, but that absolves OP of too much of his obligation to fix his own question, IMO. – Dan Bron Jul 7 '15 at 21:19
  • @DanBron What would you suggest? Please Revise? – ZX9 Jul 7 '15 at 21:21
  • I'd suggest pending revision over pending review in the first place. But I don't know what to suggest to signal to OP that it is primarily his mess, and no-one else's to clean up. If I can think of something, I'll let you know. – Dan Bron Jul 7 '15 at 21:23

incomplete question

is succinct - somewhat

conveys a need for revision - definitely

is sufficiently passive (and thus minimizes anger) - possibly

(preferably) conveys a sense of limited time - fail (but this one's hard)


not having all the necessary or appropriate parts

not full or finished

  • This completely ignores that a lot of "on hold" questions are closed because they're off-topic. No amount of completion will make these questions OK. – Catija Jul 7 '15 at 21:28
  • @Catija - Other than entirely substituting with a different question, wouldn't that hold true for any term that suggests revision is needed? – hatchet-inactive Jul 7 '15 at 21:33
  • Which is why I've made a similar comment on the question. – Catija Jul 7 '15 at 21:34
  • I'm not saying that it isn't. The fact of the matter is that the question is bad. "On Hold" doesn't always mean "needs revision"... in fact, most "on hold" questions, are off-topic. – Catija Jul 7 '15 at 21:37
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    @ZX9 Clearly not. That is not the site policy as it stands. If you want to recommend a change, then you should recommend it on Meta Stack Exchange. – Catija Jul 7 '15 at 21:56

How about something like ' (in) redraft(ing) phase'

The redraft says that the question needs to be edited/corrected/expanded to be on topic.

The phase says that it's a phase that will end at some point (after which the question will be closed). I can't think of any shorter way to denote urgency.

  • A bit 'obscure' , I don't think it immediately conveys what the issue is with the question. – user66974 Jul 7 '15 at 19:04
  • @Josh61: Well, I gave it a shot :) – Tushar Raj Jul 7 '15 at 19:05
  • Other users may like it, just my personal view. – user66974 Jul 7 '15 at 19:07

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