My question is about how the moderators decide on the questions and comments.
Every person has the right to express his opinion. In case of the questions posted on this site, the opinions can be either in favor of a comment or question or they may not be.

Moderators have that much access that when they feel that a question is out of the policies of the site, put the question on hold. But, this should happen in case that they find a question in direct conflict to the policies of the site, not in direct conflict to what they prefer or their emotions.
Because of the level of access these guys have, when they find a question either in conflict to the policies or what they like, they immediately put the question on hold. So, how the website minimizes the moderators' faults and tries to avoid them from emotional decisions. We are all human and we all may make mistakes in our decisions.

I think that putting the questions on hold or locking the questions should not happen immediately and this level of access should be decreased.
Moderators should express why they think that the question conflicts the policies, put their opinion on poll and if some number of other users and moderators agreed, (for instance, two moderators and two users who are not moderator's access) then they put the question on hold. The site can even put some keys on each comment that the users tell that the question is broad, the comment is impolite and this way moderators can be informed what other users think about a question.

I am posting this because something like this happened to a question of mine. The moderator put a comment that this question is too broad and subjective. In this link we read:

Constructive subjective questions:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”
  • tend to have long, not short, answers
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references
  • are more than just mindless social fun

When you read that question, If we consider and accept that the question is subjective (while I do not think so), it can be assumed that it is a Constructive Question because; It inspires answers that explain “why” and “how”; tends to have long, not short, answers (as some answers were discussed on the page); invites sharing experiences over opinions (as users answered the question with their experiences); and is more than just mindless social fun (the question is not for fun at all!).

That is why I think the question has never had to be locked and put on a hold. I explained this to the moderator and they did not pay any attention to this comment.

I do not think that this question needs any edit for being completed and come out of the hold. It is a complete question.

This is what happens to the similar questions: One moderator marks the question as problematic question, two or three other moderators come and give minus mark to the question and use their access to put the question on hold. Nobody even thinks about that their decision (even it is the decision of two or three moderator) may be wrong and can be discussed more.

I think that the way moderators lock a question should be revised, their access on locking the questions should be limited and become dependent on a different policy; moreover, they should be advised to be more polite to the users (regarding to the words they use and they way they treat them and their actions).

After discussions:

The post on Academia edited thoroughly based on the discussion made here on Meta and the title of the question changed to How to encourage researchers to make more use of online resources to improve their career?; however, with respect to the people who talked about the problem here and made policies more clear; I am still not convinced by the behavior of the moderators who acted on that question.

  • Just to clarify: the question was put on hold because two people (not me) voted to close it as "too broad," not for being subjective. (I still think the question is subjective, but it wasn't put on hold for that reason)
    – ff524
    Jul 2, 2014 at 19:13
  • Two moderators (not two ordinary users), of course, with full access to do whatever they want with the questions.
    – enthu
    Jul 2, 2014 at 19:15
  • 5
    One non-moderator and one moderator, actually.
    – ff524
    Jul 2, 2014 at 19:16
  • I think the immediate unfair action of the moderators without any respect to the user's excuses matters here, not counting the number of people.
    – enthu
    Jul 2, 2014 at 19:18
  • 6
    @Parsa One thing you should consider is that this is a community-driven site. While there are rules, we, the community, agree with them and debate them when we disagree. Your concerns are always welcome, as long as they are reasonable. It does seem like you are trying to re-shape the site to your liking but you can see from all the votes (against your original question and in favor of the answers and comments here) that there is general agreement from the community. NOBODY here is against YOU. We are happy to have you here but you should consider the recommendations to improve your question.
    – earthling
    Jul 3, 2014 at 5:38
  • I'll edit the question because it's broad and needs more examples; but, still I insist that moderators' action was problematic; besides, they have never expressed what where the points that they come to put the question on hold. In the case of such questions, if they be specific, talk about their reasons and not just being silent won't only help the users to become more familiar with their way of judging the questions, but also the discussion between the users will lead to shape a friendly community, not a police and citizen website that users should obey the moderators in anyway they behave.
    – enthu
    Jul 3, 2014 at 6:39
  • I just thanks StrongBad and aeismail who patiently explained site policies in this specific case.
    – enthu
    Jul 3, 2014 at 6:41

4 Answers 4


Coming to the question, I would have likely voted to place it on hold because I don't understand what your question is. Let's look at the last paragraph, which I think is where your question is defined:

Keeping in mind that each academic person has some careers and responsibilities, but he has to be up-to-date and pay enough attention to online life and internet; does being online improves our career or is it just a waste of time and the person will be more successful being focused on hard copies of the publications; how much is it normal for an academic person to be online?

You're asking us to answer way too many different questions: should one be online at all? Should we avoid internet use? How much should someone be online, if they're online?

Asking people how much they're online is a poll question, which is not what the Stack Exchange question-and-answer format is designed for. Similarly, there's no "experience-based" answer for if being online is a good thing—unless you're looking for a list of useful activities (which is also against the general guidelines).

The question is not a bad one in general principle, but it is a poor fit for this site.

  • Dear @aeismail, I agree that some changes should be applied so that the question fit the website; but the way the moderators treated the question is so upsetting to me and I do not understand this policy.
    – enthu
    Jul 2, 2014 at 22:11
  • 15
    Actually, putting questions "on hold" while they're being edited is recommended SE practice.
    – aeismail
    Jul 2, 2014 at 23:22

There is a lot in your question and I am only going to tackle a bit of it now. There is a big difference between locking a question and putting a question on hold. Any user with sufficient reputation can vote to reopen a question that is on hold even if the question has not been edited and was closed by a moderator. This is a nice safety net in case the moderator acts in a manner that goes against the views of the community. Your question currently has no reopen votes or up votes, so it seems the community thinks your question should stay on hold until it is improved. At this point you should consider using the comments, chat and meta to look for ways to improve the question, or rally support to reopen the question. All you need it 5 users to vote to reopen it.

That said one moderator and one regular user voted to close the question, another moderator voiced support in the comments that the question needed to be improved, and a third moderator is now chiming in that the question seems too broad. That said the 4 of us could be wrong, and if you can find 5 people to support your cause the question can be reopened.

The question seems too broad to me because "online" really encompasses a huge number of activities. I search for research online, I mark papers online, I teach online, I review papers online, I do committee work online, I waste time on AC.Se, etc. trying to sum up the time spent on all these activities, doesn't seem right. I think the question would be better if it was narrower and only focused on one online activity.

  • I can not imagine when somebody doesn't check his emails, then spend time to teach online courses or to do e-reading. Some questions are inevitably about broad disasters. In case of that question, it is asking exactly about the people who don't pay attention to internet as a mean to update themselves, and how this adversely have some effects on their careers. The question is not about being online itself. I think thinking about questions like "what are the benefits of being online?" will show the difference between a broad question and the thing which is being questioned in that post.
    – enthu
    Jul 2, 2014 at 19:58
  • @Parsa but I still think it would be better if you focus it on benefits of email, or online literature searches, or online feedback, or some other focused aspect of online presence.
    – StrongBad
    Jul 2, 2014 at 20:03
  • When you use "it would be better" statement, I think we came to the point that the question is not that much broad but better things can happen. We can say that some examples of being online can be added to the question. But counting the question as a broad one without any patience was so so unfair. Moderators should hear the users, be specific and pay attention to comments and excuses of them. Give some time to the question and discuss these neat examples; not going straightly to their "put on hold" access just to say that we are so strong to make your question off!
    – enthu
    Jul 2, 2014 at 20:10
  • 4
    @Parsa No, what I am saying is the question as it is currently framed is too broad in my opinion and also that in my opinion it can be fixed.
    – StrongBad
    Jul 2, 2014 at 20:19
  • The question is about the academic people who do not pay attention to update themselves being online, it is not questioning about "being online" itself.
    – enthu
    Jul 2, 2014 at 20:23

One of the issues raised in this post is

they should be advised to be more polite to the users (regarding to the words they use and they way they treat them and their actions).

Since I have cleaned up comments on the original question, I am posting them here for the sake of transparency, so others can decide if anybody needed to be more polite here. See image below.

comment transcript

  • Please pay attention to third comment from top in which I have written excuses to your warning but no answers have posted to this logical statement and comment. Moderators only insist their decision that the question is too broad and subjective. I insist that the action of the moderators of not being patient enough to discuss their reason to put the question on hold and not hearing their excuses are rude and impolite action towards a person who is seeking academic discussions in this website.
    – enthu
    Jul 2, 2014 at 20:19
  • 10
    @Parsa: Stack Exchange is a question-and-answer site, not a discussion site. If your goal is to provoke a discussion, then this should be done in a chat room or other online forum, not as a question here.
    – aeismail
    Jul 2, 2014 at 21:43

Asking questions on a Stack Exchange site isn't obvious. And it's not a right. It's a privilege; and there's a right way to do it, and many wrong ways to do it.

In order to maintain the site's usefulness and purpose, there are a bunch of moderation tools available; in order of increasing access: to low rep users, high rep users, moderators, and SE staff.

When questions aren't a good fit, then a question is put on hold, giving the original poster, and the community, chance to put it into shape.

Warning signs that the community might choose to put a question on hold are:

  • several questions in one: indicating that the question is too broad, meaning that it should be split into several concise separate questions, posted one at a time;
  • a lot of text in the question, little of which pertains to a specific question: indicating that the OP has used the privilege of asking a question to post a rant that would be better put as a blog post;
  • or soliciting opinions: indicating that there won't be a right answer, and that this would be better asked in chat or on a forum, not a Q&A site.

Your question has managed to trigger all three of those warning signs for me. Others agree that the question should be put on hold. If it's not edited into shape, it will get deleted.

And please don't read into other people's intentions or motivations. You're not telepathic. Accusing others of acting on emotional responses is unconstructive.

  • Where is the reference for those precise instructions? Pointing these specific instructions may help the users to better frame their questions. Moreover, when there is no response to the excuses of the user, the chance of assuming the actions as emotional rises up. However, one of the moderators (@ff524) precisely reads the question and the things she mentions are so constructive that I have to thank her so much. The answers of other moderators in this page is also appreciated.
    – enthu
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:17
  • 12
    @Parsa it takes a lot of time and effort for others to give extremely detailed feedback on your questions. Therefore, you should try to learn about the community standards independently by reading the help center, looking at other questions on the site, asking on meta if you're not sure about something, and not getting upset when your question is put on hold - it's all part of the learning experience.
    – ff524
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:46

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