So today while working on bad tags (Looking at you delete!) I found two questions on hold


which I believe add nothing to the site by being left to exist. They aren't marked as duplicates linking to an answer for other users who may come across them.

The name 'on hold' makes me think this means that the question will at some point have a decision made upon it - does this ever happen? Does anyone ever go and check the questions on hold and make a decision about them?

These questions will never get a good answer, as they are bad questions (hence being placed on hold), why are they not just deleted as the user has shown no interest in fixing them?


2 Answers 2


Does anyone go and check questions on hold and make a decision about them?

They are deleted, subject to a specified set of conditions.

There is a automated cleanup process for this. The script is known as the roomba:

  • The system will automatically delete closed (not as a duplicate), unlocked questions with zero or negative score having no positively scored or accepted answers or pending reopen votes, that were closed 9 or more days ago and haven't been edited in the past 9 days.

  • The system will automatically delete unlocked, unanswered questions that have negative score after 30 days.

  • The system will automatically delete unlocked, unanswered questions with score of zero (or one if the owner is deleted), fewer than 1.5 views per day on average, and fewer than two comments after 365 days.

Source How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion?

Note that individual sites may be their own customised criteria. The specific ones for Super User can be found at The Community user deleted my question! What gives?

What does it mean for a question to be on hold?

If a question has been closed (except as a duplicate), then for the first 5 days, it is marked as “on hold” rather than “closed”. This is meant to convey that the question requires improvement and may be reopened if improved. During this period, if the question is edited by the asker (now by anyone), it will be added to the reopen queue. Other than this, there is no functional difference between “on hold” and “closed”.

Source What is a “closed” or “on hold” question?


Questions that are still termed "on hold" (not "closed") are not automatically removed because we want to allow users time to revise their question to get it reopened. After five days, the status text changes to "closed," but there is no functional difference between the two states. Shortly after that, questions that received sufficiently negative feedback and provide negligible value will be torched as RemoveAbandonedClosed.

For what it's worth, 10K users that feel strongly about removing a question can vote to delete it once it has been on hold or closed for just two days. 20K users don't have to wait if the question has a score of -3 or lower.

  • Always wondered what the criteria were for that evasive "delete" link finally showing up. Thank you! Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 14:41

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