Some questions are easy to formulate and can stand as they are.

Some are complicated. They tend to attract a mix of comments asking for clarification together with hasty answers that haven't been thought through or simply make assumptions.

Instead of the complications of using a sandbox or getting put on hold by vote or by moderator, I suggest the following:


A. Automatically put every question on hold for 24 hours. This allows comments asking for clarification but stops ill-thought-out answers.

I don't believe that anyone's question on this site is so urgent that it can't wait for 24 hours.


B. Allow the user to put their own question on hold immediately. I would certainly use this facility. It would allow me to carefully consider others' comments and edit the question accordingly. It would prevent me having to deal with premature answers.

The problem with the sandbox

Some people say that the sandbox avoids clogging up the main site. I don't believe this is true.

(1) Many questions are put on hold by the community without being tested in the sandbox. These already clog up the main site.

(2) I'm not convinced that this 'clogging up' is actually a problem. We're living with it already.

(3) A lot of people don't spend time looking at the sandbox in order to help others. I personally never do. I believe it is inefficient and doesn't guarantee that a question will succeed on the main site.


  1. Is there any technical reason that would prevent my suggestions A and/or B from being implemented?

  2. Is there any logical flaw in my proposal?


I'm sure I"m not the only one who tends not to ask for clarification before answering. Why? Because answerers are punished for waiting.

  • Some badges encourage you to be the first to answer.
  • Once one or more answers have started to take off with upvotes, it's nearly impossible for a later answer to get more than a few.
  • There is no waiting time for a questioner to choose a "best answer" (I tried on Meta and the few voters/commenters didn't want to change this) and a large percentage choose a best answer in the first few hours (often before or even instead of going through the comments and responding).

Also, there is no way to get notified that someone has added to the comments on a question, unless you are specifically tagged. This means you can't follow a discussion in comments without remembering to check it later.

The system is not set up for using comments to clarify a question unless the questioner answers immediately.

  • $\begingroup$ You have made some excellent points that I hadn't thought about and/or realised were the case. I personally got my rep by posting questions. I only occasionally post answers and you are quite right that sometimes the first answer is accepted as the 'best' answer. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK 23 hours ago

The designed mechanism for that is Sandbox for Proposed Questions - if you need to use it, use it. If you feel you do not need to use it - write it right. Many people here write all, or most, of their questions in a way that requires little to no further clarification, holding them back makes no sense.


Is there any logical flaw in my proposal?

  • it punishes the users who put effort in writing questions "first time right"
  • it makes more abstruse the interaction with the site for new users, who have to wait 24 hours to get their answer and are going to be flooded by comments without having any clue if their question is fine or not (now only the non-fine questions go through this ordeal)
  • it requires every user to invest 24+ hours into a question before getting answers.
  • B: it is basically the same concept of the sandbox, just asking for more work to implement it. Moreover, if an user has no discipline to self-test their question before posting it, why would they have the discipline to self-hold their question? How would they be able to tell when a question is good enough to be released, and could they be trusted in doing so?
  • This basically takes away the role of the community as collective arbiter.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ None of the above are logical flaws. They may be procedural issues, but that's a different issue. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 3 at 1:17

Others have noted the logical flaws in this proposal, I'd like to point out the technical one. We don't have control over the underlying software that drives the "on-hold" system. That's SE-controlled, so we don't have the power to change that. While we could put in a , the large majority of those, especially for one-site proposals, get denied.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sure this is the ugly fact that puts the skids under any such proposals. However, It doesn't to stop people from thinking about how the system could be run better. Who knows? Maybe SE management will one day succumb to reason and implement the better feature-requests. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 3 at 1:20

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