I just watched the question

turn around from being fundamentally ill-posed, under-researched and essentially unanswerable in its initial formulation, to successfully going through the full close → fix → reopen cycle and getting a suitable answer, through suitable input in the comments and an OP that was willing to listen to the problems and fix them as they were pointed out.

This stands in contrast to a fairly common view that closed questions are unfixable and doomed to obscurity, deletion, and censorship. While it's true that some questions are just too far off the grid to be fixed, for a large majority of questions this is not the case: the purpose of closing questions is so that their problems can be fixed, instead of wasting answerer time on flawed formulations. Very often, the reason questions stay closed is that their askers abandon them, are unwilling or unable to understand the problems that make them a bad fit for this site and its format, or are unwilling to put in the work to fix them.

As such, I thought it would be nice to have a gallery of examples where this process does work out as it's meant to, as a reference for when other questions run into more troubled waters. Here's one - please add more in answers as and when you run across them.

To satisfy the nitpickers: this post uses "closed" and "on hold" interchangeably; they are essentially equivalent in this context.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I wonder if Data Explorer could be of any assistance in identifying past cases? There should be some gems in there! $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    May 7 '17 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic The Data Explorer can point out candidates but choosing good examples requires subjective judgement (and often the comments that help fix the question are deleted anyway, as was the case in the current example). $\endgroup$ May 7 '17 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ Are you using "closed" and "on hold" interchangeably? Or do you mean they were put on hold, then closed, then edited and reopened? $\endgroup$
    – tpg2114
    May 8 '17 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg I'm using closed and on hold interchangeably. $\endgroup$ May 8 '17 at 7:07
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 A question can't get put on hold and then closed, because putting on hold and closing are literally the same thing. Yes, the indicator text added to the title changes from "[on hold]" to "[closed]" after seven days of being on hold, but that's fully automatic and entirely a consequence of the time passed - there is no process of closing a question that is already on hold. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    May 8 '17 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ Except time -- it could sit idle before it gets edited and reopened. I think it's better to always refer to them as "on hold" rather than "closed," because "on hold" implies it could be reopened with effort. I think that's why the terminology was changed anyway, and it does help soften the blow/suggest a way forward. But it's probably overly-pedantic of me to want that difference clarified. $\endgroup$
    – tpg2114
    May 8 '17 at 16:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 and @ DavidZ Is this really the place for that discussion? $\endgroup$ May 8 '17 at 16:27

My question How can a black hole reduce the speed of light? has gone through this cycle when I raised its closure on meta: Why more than a thousand views for my 'closed' question?


Some examples I've found that I can think of (one so far):


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