This meta-question results from the closing of this question in less than 48 hours. I do not argue that the question should be reopened. I do argue that by closing it so quickly we closed it for the wrong reason.

The real problem that OP has is that the function he/she wants to define needs to have the attribute HoldFirst. Not understanding that is a simple and frequent beginner error, so the question is likely to be a duplicate of a previously answered question. In fact, I would say it is a duplicate of this question

However, it was not closed as a duplicate, but for being off topic, which I find unfortunate. Therefore, I bring up two meta-questions:

  • Should we make an effort to reopen the question that provoked this post and then re-close it as a duplicate of the question I referenced?

  • Should we commit to an on-going effort to leave questions open somewhat longer, say a week, before closing them for falling into the catch-all categories of simple-mistake or too-localized?

  • 5
    Another proposal: if you believe a question has been closed for inappropriate reasons (but should have been closed anyway), you could flag it for mod attention with a custom flag. (Re-open appeals are of course not what flagging is for.) Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 1:37
  • @J.M. I did not know moderators could change the reason for which a question was closed. I will flag the question I cited as you suggest.
    – m_goldberg
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 1:54
  • @m_goldberg We can't "change" the reason as a single operation with the same 5 closers appearing on the banner. What JM was referring to was reopening and closing again immediately with the right reason (and the moderator will appear as the sole closer). It would take non-trivial coordination and effort for just changing the reason if it were a community led effort, but since moderators can take actions unilaterally, it is easier for us to do it.
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 3:08
  • Such as my this post.I don't really agree with the current reasom of [duplicate].But I have not might to voice.
    – yode
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 7:43
  • @yode, are you saying that adding the attribute HoldFirst to your symbol ui didn't solve the problem you described in the question?
    – m_goldberg
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 8:29

2 Answers 2


About that specific case:

More precisely, the closing reason was that it was too localized.

I knew there are duplicates about HoldFirst and friends that could be linked, yet my impression was that, with its Graphics/LocatorPane context, the question is useless for future visitors.

I've asked OP if he could reduce the problem (also suggesting the solution). After two days I've decided to cast a closing vote. Which lead to the closing.

Of course it was a subjective decision but I feel it was fair.

OP's questions:

Should we make an effort to reopen the question that provoked this post and then re-close it as a duplicate of the question I referenced?

In general this is a subjective matter so I'd say, do that if you feel so but let's not create any general policy.

I don't mind leaving it as a duplicate even though I'd rather delete it. There are probably more who think your way, so it will be useful.

Should we commit to an on-going effort to leave questions open somewhat longer, say a week, before closing them for falling into the catch-all categories of simple-mistake or too-localized?


There is only a small group of people around who care about finding duplicates etc (checking review queue doesn't count). So there is a high risk that if someone holds with a reaction, the topic will be forgotten.

In Novemeber I was looking through old unanswerd questions to find interesting cases. Meanwhile I was editing questions I thought could be interesting for others or casting appriopriate close votes. Some votes even lead to answers but after two weeks around 150-200 old questions were closed. Which supports my claim about the problem of crappy forgotten questions.

To be clear, I don't think one should try to resolve questions problem asap. I just don't think we should hold on if there is no specific need to.

  • 1
    +1 Fully agree.
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 6:39
  • 4
    +1 I agree - leaving questions open also dilutes the site over time, which makes it harder for visitors to locate answers and makes it harder for us to find valid duplicates. Of course we have the voting process to prevent unwarranted closures, and I think it works fine.
    – Jens
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 15:49

Yes we definitely close questions too quickly. For example, this question was closed for "unclear what you are asking". But in what way is it unclear?

People are quick to click the "Close" button whenever it seems that the OP didn't put sufficient effort into writing the question. But if it is clear to someone, and they put in the effort to formulate a decent answer, it's kind of a slap in the face to close the question (I know I'm being overdramatic here lol).

I think people should downvote rather than vote to close.

How else am I supposed to get my Reversal badge if people close rather than downvote?

  • 1
    The closing reason in case linked by you was wrong, it should be closed as "additional code is needed". OP hasn't shown any research effort and provided no equation. So to answer the question you had do his job of reading about the gose problem with addition to MMA related help. While in this case question was interesting enough for you, in general it may get no attention, additionaly it doesn't fit MMA.SE format. tbc...
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 13:06
  • 1
    I'd say closing was appropriate action while others should hold on with casting votes after seeing good answer. But at the end you can always trigger reopening as it is now. In my opinion it's better to close and reopen than to leave unanswered question which shows no research effort.
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 13:08
  • 1
    But if you go to sort the question by "Hot" or "Month" you see that a good many of the most popular posts on this site are of the "How can I make this figure in MMA?" variety, often without any code. Like this or the one with the butt
    – Jason B.
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 13:10
  • I'm encouraging you to go through unanswered stack, many of "how can I solve this" or similar are there. If there is anyone eager to answer, great, let's keep it open/reopen. Otherwise close it (in case if there is a reason to ofc).
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 13:13
  • 1
    I do go through it on occasion, when no one is asking anything interesting, and it's harder to find a fun question than it used to be (now I try to restrict it to tags, and have gotten some interesting comp geom questions or physics questions). But yes, often times there really is no valid way to answer without additional info. I wonder if they have this drive to clear the unanswered queue on the more populated SE sites.
    – Jason B.
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 13:17
  • Moreover, I'd agree with you in case where OP would've tried to make it better. But here it is just "here's the link, do that for me". I wouldn't mind making that slap then :)
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 13:22
  • This one was unclear at the beginning, which is why I think I voted to close in the first place.
    – Yves Klett
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 14:58
  • 1
    Do you want my Reversal? But yes, I was a bit of a scoundrel to get it...
    – user21
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 6:44
  • @user21, I do covet it, and I suppose I'm not above a bit of underhandedness....
    – Jason B.
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 7:11

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