I have made a question very clearr (and interesting) as the answer and comments show (Why publishing in a journal instead of arxiv or in my blog?), but 4 users flaged this as unclear. I feel that this is a censorship strategy because the question (and answers above all) are not to the liking of them. May be that those people work for editors or have their own interest in censoring that question.

Is there any mechanism in these forums so that this does not happen?

  • 1
    I did not vote to close the other question. I doubt people voted to close unclear because of "HIP". If you mean High Impact Paper by HIP, please go back to that question and edit it to make it clear. We can't read your mind when you use HIP for High Impact Paper. It could be Hip
    – Nobody
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 6:52
  • @scaahu I clarify what is a HIP in comments, but ok I will clarify it in the question. I hope you vote to unhold this now.
    – Ixer
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:07
  • I see no indication of censorship. The original looks unclear to me even after editing by a more experienced user; the present thread also looks strange. These reflect on downvotes as this platform is interactive.
    – Scientist
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 11:35

3 Answers 3


I did not find the question particularly unclear, but there were certainly some problems that led to it getting closed. A wish of our members to censor this discussion was certainly not one of them, as we have many questions in similar spirit that were highly upvoted:

  • It's a duplicate. Notably this question contains more or less the same discussion.
  • It sounds like a discussion prompt rather than question with a clear answer. Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum, and questions in the style of "I identified this problem with academia, what can we do?" are not in scope of this website.
  • Somewhat relatedly, it probably triggered the "rant alarm" of many of our community members. In this Stack Exchange, many members are wary of questions that are asked in bad faith, or meant to provoke or trigger discussions. Again, Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum. It's simply not the right place to brainstorm alternative ideas to academic publishing. It certainly is the right place to ask why the publishing model is the way it is, as the question linked in the first bullet item shows, but your question did not sound like that.
  • You are asking a number of questions at the same time. The question of why to choose a journal over arxiv has already been answered, but you also ask about publishing a blog post instead. You also ask why it's not better to not care so much about scientific rigor and try to get it out of the door quickly, and there is also something related to IPR and patenting in there. The Stack Exchange model really only works well if you ask one, fairly narrow and specific, question at a time.

It's an unfortunate reality that one really should not read too much into the specific closing reason here. Oftentimes, what exact reason the community members choose to close a question on is a bit random. Going over the comments in the question (or asking a meta question, as you have done) is more instructive in learning how the question can be salvaged.

Further, note that putting a question on hold does not mean that people want to kill it with fire. It purely means that we think the question needs some editing before it becomes a good fit to the site. Oftentimes, fairly small editing to the question is sufficient to bring it in scope, at which point it will be re-opened.


TL;DR: If users say that your question is unclear, please consider the possibility that this is because it is actually unclear – and not because of censorship.

There were several problems with your question as it was closed:

  • It was not understandable due to using an acronym (HIP) that is not in active use. In the ten thousands of questions and answers on this site, nobody ever used this acronym. The first results by Internet search engines are from some exotic company. (This issue is now fixed.)

  • It asks several questions at once, which is something not suited for our question-and-answer format. Please take the tour to learn more about how this site works. A specific problem that already arose from this is that the existing answers addressed different aspects of the question and thus are not comparable.

  • You tell us very little about want you already know, why you want to know what you are asking for, or why you are skeptical about certain things. This is not a forum where you just throw a topic into the ring and everybody writes an essay about it.

  • Some of the questions you were asking were already addressed before or are very broad themselves and we have several questions around that topic.

Note that the primary purpose of putting a question on hold is to prevent further answers while giving you the opportunity to fix the issues with the question. It does not result in deletion and unless users vote to delete your question, it will not be automatically deleted. If you edit your question, it will automatically be sent to a review queue, where users can decide whether the issues are fixed and it can now be reopened.

Finally note that the right to put questions on hold is a privilege in this community and it takes five users to agree on this, so it’s not that easy to abuse this function for censorship. Also note that the privilege of closing requires much more reputation than the privilege of downvoting, and so far nobody downvoted any of the answers that you presume they disliked.


Welcome, Ixer. This is a feature, not a bug. The Stack Exchange system is designed to make it easy to remove low quality questions. If you do not like this, try a different website.

If you want an example of how to ask a higher quality question, you might like this:

Why are journals used in modern scientific academic research?

  • My question is not a low quality question as you can see. There are only 4 that think it is unclear but a lot of people are interested on it.
    – Ixer
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:03
  • @Ixer questions that people are interested in get hundreds of upvotes - that does not seem to be the case with your question...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 8:11
  • 8
    "a lot of people are interested on it". No. It has a score of zero and 139 views. Its pretty much the opposite, very few people are interested in it.
    – Polygnome
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 8:32
  • 2
    Note that the question in question is closed, not removed. If the status quo is not changed, it will not ever be deleted.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 9:08

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