This is the question:

Verb do + verb to be + ing form

Definition of proofreading: "Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified."

The specific concern in the text is more than clearly identified and specifically asked. What's the explanation for it?

  • 1
    If wasn't clearly identified and specifically asked until after the question was closed. If you feel your edits have corrected the problem, you can nominate the question to be reopened.
    – Hank
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:31
  • The text was the way you see it before it was closed.
    – Luke
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:40
  • 3
    Not according the the edit history
    – Hank
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:41
  • 1
    It was still on hold when I edited it. Maybe your system confuses the closing date with the holding date. In fact I don't see the holding date in that history.
    – Luke
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:44
  • 3
    They are essentially the same date. A closed question will appear as "on hold" for the first 5 days and automatically added to the reopen queue on the first edit. This means that your edit automatically sent it to be reviewed for reopening. To understand the difference, see this Meta post.
    – Hank
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:46
  • During this period, if the question is edited, it will be added to the reopen queue. Then the question just becomes: why wasn't it added to the reopen queue? And if it was, why wasn't it reopened?
    – Luke
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:50
  • 2
    It probably was added to the queue. The queue can get quite long and relies on users to vote. You can't demand urgency from a community when there are loads of posts to vote on. I currently have 111 in my queue and they only let you vote on 30 a day. All I can tell you is that it currently has 2 votes to reopen. I believe you need 5 to be reopened.
    – Hank
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Some of the moderators of this site like to use the "proofreading" close reason when they really mean something like either "I don't think this has enough research" or "I don't think it's clear enough what you are interested in (syntax, natural-sounding usage, etc)". See Andrew Leach♦'s answer to my related Meta question here: Does the “proofreading” close reason cover questions that do identify specific words or phrases?

I'm not a fan of this, because I agree with you that it isn't obviously indicated by the special text for the "proofreading" close reason: "Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified." I would prefer using the "unclear" close option (if it's actually unclear considering the context), or the "show research" close option. But anyway, one person like me cannot control the close culture of this site. The moderators are leaning harder on the "clearly identified" part than I would like (or than you realized).

In practice, this requirement seems to be interpreted by the moderation team to mean that you must explicitly state what subject (like pronoun use, verb tense etc.) your question is about in the body of the question; don't just leave it implicit from the title, tags and examples.

I wouldn't worry about it too much more with regard to this particular question, since it seems to be on track to being reopened, but in the future, I would advise that you avoid using phrasing like "What is the correct version of this sentence" in your questions, since some people will likely interpret this as meaning your question is a request for "proofreading", even if you think you have provided enough context to indicate that your question is really about syntax, word usage etc. Try to use more specific wording like "Should I use an infinitive or -ing form in this grammatical context" (Yes, I realize that you have had "Verb do + verb to be + ing form" in the title since the first revision, but as I said, even if you think you have provided sufficient context elsewhere just avoid using "correct version of this sentence" wording. It's like the proverbial red flag in front of a bull).

  • Eminently sensible answer @sumelic, which will be good learning for new members how 'not to' phrase a question if they should avoid being closed down for proofreading. However, regarding your reference to 'moderators team' in this answer, may I point out that (the first) 4 out of the 5 close votes were cast by non-moderators: may I presume when you say 'moderator' in this answer you refer not just to elected mods but anybody with close-voting privileges. I was curious to know if a moderator can reopen a (technically) erroneously closed question with a single vote? Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 2:21
  • @EnglishStudent: Yes, moderators can close and open unilaterally and as many times as necessary. I made reference to the moderator team because I don't know how the other people voted; my understanding is that when a moderator closes a post, the moderator has the final say on the close reason. I have also seen similar questions closed in the past by moderators with the "proofreading" close reason.
    – herisson
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 2:24
  • Thanks for the clarification, @sumelic. It is good to know that a single moderator can reopen a deserving question. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 2:26
  • @EnglishStudent They can unilaterally reopen but most only do that when the question was unilaterally closed. I would think it's rare for a unilateral reopen to come from a community closure.
    – Hank
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 15:24
  • Thank you @Hank; it is still good go know that Stack Exchange has empowered moderators with the ability to unilaterally reopen questions in exceptional cases, which I am sure they will exercise with discretion. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 15:39
  • 1
    @Hank It could happen few times, but it happens. If a closed question it is flagged from a user that is asking to re-open the question, and the moderators see the question was closed for the blatantly wrong reason, or the reason doesn't apply anymore, then they could also unilaterally re-open it. This doesn't mean they go hunting for questions closed by 5 users, indeed. (I am writing this wearing my Drupal Answers' moderator hat. I am not sharing the point of view of moderators on EL&U.)
    – apaderno
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 6:18
  • @kiamlaluno I know it does happen and there are exceptions to all situations. That's why I said rare :)
    – Hank
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 11:57
  • @Hank Flags on a closed question that ask for its re-opening are not so rare as you could think. Since those are flags for moderator attention, other users are not aware of which questions get them, but as moderator I can say they aren't rare.
    – apaderno
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 20:49

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