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At the time I write this meta question, half the questions on the front page are marked on-hold. I have read every "Asking" document in the Help Center, and I am completely baffled why so many questions are held or closed (while other questions that seem to fit the same criteria are allowed). The instructions are clearly not clear enough.

Edit for clarity and emphasis:

IMO, when compared to the rest of the StackExchange network, You're Doing It Wrong. An SE Questions page shouldn't have that amount of active moderation unless it's under an acute deluge of newbies, like if it somehow became a viral fad. The fact that it's a chronic condition indicates that the problem is in the system, not the users.

A few possible ways to fix this:

  1. Explicit warnings on the Ask Question page for first-time askers, maybe a popup onLoad or a mandatory two-stage submit, that questions MUST be concise, on-topic, and objectively answerable, or they will be blocked.
  2. Just stop doing it. Write a comment with the same suggestion instead of placing a hold.
  3. A separate "website help" SE with lax rules, leaving this site to be pro-only. Actually, make it the other way around, change this site to the lax one, then add WebOverflow for pro-only questions.
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    Keep in mind that "on hold" questions can be edited and re-opened. This happens quite often. That is especially the case for questions that are marked as "unclear what you are asking". Those are usually not off-topic, but need clarification to get good answers. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 27 '15 at 0:20
  • Having looked through the on-hold questions that are on the front page, I'm not seeing many patterns. They are closed for a variety of reasons by a variety of moderators. Nothing jumped out to me as "needing to be fixed". Can you point to any questions or closed reasons that are problematic? – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 27 '15 at 0:30
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    I proposed some changes in the referenced previous Meta question, however since those changes might be considered significant for the site, I wanted to allow enough time for a consensus to be reached and give everyone an opportunity to have their say. If you have any input on that, it's probably best to add it to that Meta question so we can track them all in one place. Otherwise, I'll be making the changes to our Help Center's What topics can I ask about here soon. – dan Feb 27 '15 at 0:35
  • BTW- I keep seeing this title in the list and think it's on hold. I have been trained well. – closetnoc Mar 5 '15 at 4:12
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    I arrived here excited to get involved with a stack that directly fits my profession (for over 15 years) but the moderation criteria make no sense to me, in terms of both application (e.g. why one question is modded and another is not) and rationale (i.e. why some of the restrictions exist at all). – Foo Bar Apr 7 '15 at 1:42
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Two months after posing this question, I see that nothing has changed and the SE is still over-moderated compared to any SE site that I've used except perhaps MathOverflow.

Hence, I believe the solution is to open a new SE named WebOverflow, and move the existing charter and moderators to that group. WM.SE would become a more general WebMaster help SE with more relaxed posting rules. Then the WebOverflow mods could move offending questions to WM.SE instead of using hold/close/lock.

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  • Seriously, go take a look at the relationship between Math.SE (general questions) and MathOverflow (graduate-level only). I think the same model could apply well here. – Foo Bar Apr 7 '15 at 1:50
  • The funny thing here is that the excessive moderation moderates topics and topic content, including very minor text edits, yet leaves factually incorrect answers intact and even moderates out (deletes) any query or challenge to incorrect replies. Quite a shame really as this site could have been a good resource. I agree that moving everything over to a new group would be great news for this one. – user29671 Apr 29 '15 at 16:35

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