I am new to Stack Exchange and would like to know how greatly having one of your questions closed is detrimental and if such possible "offenses" end up penalizing your account in any way (especially if multiple closed questions were to accumulate over time).

I have read that having a "closed" question is not a punishment, but I want to make sure of this, so that I can best suit my thinking to be tailored to the proper rules. I asked a bit of a stretch question that was voted as too broad by the community (even though I did not intend to and tried to avoid straying too far off topic). Despite asking the wrong question, I was still able to get helpful answers from stack exchange members and I am okay with having the question closed.

I now understand where I went wrong, but I do feel concerned about the potential seriousness of my mistake as a new user. I also feel ashamed and regretful about it and will do my best in the future to ask questions better pertained to the specific content of this stack exchange.

As of present, my question is "on hold". After it is "closed" will it disappear or most likely be deleted from the site? From what I read off of the help section, a "closed" comment should remain on the site with the same features as a comment "on hold", but as a new member I want to check that I am understanding this information correctly.

Any extra feedback for me is welcome. Thank you!


1 Answer 1


Your question was quite interesting! People liked it: it attracted 4 upvotes, along with a detailed, upvoted answer from a reputable user.

You should definitely not feel any embarrassment or shame that it was closed¹; you didn't ask a bad question, you simply asked a question that we (as a community, and as a site with a specific set of aims) are not equipped to answer. That is all.

In re: your larger question here: yes, an extensive and consistent track record of poorly-received questions (voted down or closed), can have repercussions, but even these are temporary and can be remedied by establishing a new track record of well-received questions.

In your particular case, I have absolutely no concerns that you will fall prey to these traps or be sanctioned.

First, the fact that you've even asked this question, here (on Meta) is, heuristically speaking, a sign of a bright future; it puts you in something like the 90th percentile of courteous and well-behaved users.

Second, the fact that you read the material in the help center, and then f'in referenced it in your question, puts you in the 99th percentile! In fact, even being concerned about how you're perceived here, at all, had already put you in the top quartile. You'll do fine, kid.

Also worth pointing out that you asked another question, previously, which had a net positive score and had to be answered with terms like "attributive" and "participle", which is more than anyone can say about questions I've asked :) You'll fit in with the word-nerds quite nicely.

And finally, I can't speak for the guys over at Linguistics.SE, but it occurs to me they might welcome your "exact science" question over there. And if not them, Philosophy.SE sometimes answers questions about the philosophy of science ("what is a science, exactly?").

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    ¹ Oh and PS: "closed" and "on-hold" are synonymous. The former description was changed to the latter to emphasize to querents that question-closures don't have to be permanent, and that judicious edits (usually supplying more information or evidence that you've put effort in yourself) can get them re-opened (not applicable in your situation for this specific question).
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 17, 2015 at 1:12
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    Thank you for the very kind feedback! I feel proud to be a apart of this cultivated community and I am eager to both learn and contribute to it. I understand that this site with all of it's systems and checks in place ensures that all content everywhere remains of the highest quality unlike looser less strict Q&A sites. Stack Exchange from my observation truly stands out from the crowd in this area of online content! If I am unsure of any decisions I will make in the future regarding the site, I will most likely utilize this Meta to ensure that what I have to offer is appropriate there.
    – slyfin
    Apr 17, 2015 at 4:32
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    Finally, thank you very much for taking the time to revise my question including the punctuation and terminology used. That is very useful feedback to help me improve my clarity and accuracy as both a speaker and a writer. I need to work on my comma placement! Everyday, as my mind expands with new knowledge of English I am constantly reminded that being a native speaker certainly does not grant one clearance as a language expert! In some ways, the more I attempt to understand my beloved English on the smallest of levels the more of a foreign and confusing language it becomes to me.
    – slyfin
    Apr 17, 2015 at 4:47
  • What's with that f'in in your final paragraph? Is it a "super-euphemistic" version of effing = fucking? Apr 17, 2015 at 17:58
  • @FumbleFingers Not so much super-euphemistic as super-abbreviated, but yes, it means fucking.
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 17, 2015 at 20:14
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    Well, if @tchrist ever stops by this page I can imagine him writing a long diatribe against the overuse of different typefaces. But apart from very slight misgivings about that one heavily-disguised "three-letter word" I'm right behind everything you say here. I must admit I feel more misgivings over the fact that I was the first one to closevote OP's question - but apparently on that occasion I failed to follow my own oft-repeated recommendation that people should add a comment when they closevote, unless the relevant reason has already been posted by someone else. Apr 17, 2015 at 20:44
  • @FumbleFingers Heh, three-letter word.
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 17, 2015 at 21:56
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    I wanted to call it an inventive four-letter-word, but I didn't think the Grammar Nazis would accept an apostrophe as a "letter". :) Apr 17, 2015 at 22:06
  • This is a very good answer, but it sparks a (possible) ELU question for me. When I read “in the 99th percentile” (or 90th, for that matter), I immediately think ‘in the top 99%’, which is nearly everyone. Clearly, it’s meant to refer to the top 1% here, and the first lines in the Wikipedia ‘Percentile’ article shows that your usage is perfectly correct. I wonder if my being a numericostatistical analphabet has just made me completely misknow the word, or if my intuitive understanding is commonly found … Apr 19, 2015 at 20:13
  • So I'm considered a word-nerd now? I guess there are worse epithets :P @JanusBahsJacquet I think your form of numericostatistical illiteracy is actual quite common. I've come across many cases of people proudly claiming to be in the 1st percentile... or the incredibly ambiguous "I'm in the top 10 percentile". Then again, anything with percentages seems to confuse people :)
    – oerkelens
    Apr 21, 2015 at 13:32
  • @oerkelens Well, I was including myself in that designation as well, but given that I've never used the words "numericostastical analphabet" in casual conversation, now I'm no sure I rank :(
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 21, 2015 at 13:44
  • +1 Dan, but the footnotes are so small as to be indecipherable (for me), is the font size fixed?
    – user98990
    Apr 23, 2015 at 17:06
  • @LittleEva I used two-level <sub>s; the size should be "normal minus two" relative to the device you're on. Are you on a phone?
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 23, 2015 at 17:11
  • @LittleEva You can hit the "edit" button to see he raw markdown source of how I did it. In this case, I used <sub> tags. I don't have the link handy but search Meta Stack Exchange for "Markdown".
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 23, 2015 at 17:16

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