Yesterday I asked about the processes involved in handling a contentious situation in EL&U that had spiralled out of control. High-rep users were able to see the deleted posts that I was asking about, but users with less than 10,000 rep don't have this level of access.

The answers given were sufficient to address my concerns about process. However, there were two other quite specific issues that I'd raised, and I want to explore them independently of the actions taken. This is the first of those two issues.


This answer by Barge Simpson has been locked, and the revision history shows why this was the appropriate action to take. The "content dispute" notice added to the post says:

This post has been locked while disputes about its content are being resolved. For more info visit meta.


Is the wording and/or link inadequate in suggesting that "more info" can be found on this meta site?

IMHO, if it's supposed to mean that you can find out what locking involves, or how disputes are resolved, then it should point to this information directly rather than just referring the person to meta and leaving them to try to find this information using the search function. I've spent nearly an hour reading through the Help Centre and searching in EL&U Meta, and it seems there's almost no "info" about locked posts, other than this meta answer which usefully and concisely explains the difference between locking and closing a post.

Another view is that "for more info visit meta" is intended as an invitation to (1) ask a question on meta re why the post has been locked, or (2) check on meta to see if someone else has asked this. This indeed was the position taken in the answer to a similar question on SO Meta regarding an identical content dispute notice (except that the "info" link was to SO Meta rather than EL&U Meta). All I can say is that if this is the intention of the link to the respective meta site, the wording fails to convey this, and could easily be interpreted as misleading or dismissive.


  1. The wording of the "content dispute" notice needs revision to make it more transparent what the link to Meta is intended for.
  2. It would be useful to add an extra line or two in the Help Centre regarding content disputes.
  3. Perhaps an EL&U Meta post could bring together the available information about locked posts and resolving content disputes, so that the content dispute notice then links directly to that post.
  • 3
    There is something so ignorantly quixotic (or perhaps quixotically ignorant) about Barge -- 3 days on the site, with rep 1, holding one badge, for editing the locked answer, with no activity except the locked answer -- giving as the reason for the edit tchrist♦ is an oppressor!
    – deadrat
    Aug 28, 2016 at 5:48
  • @deadrat I have a feeling that "Barge" is a sockpuppet. Mods might have realized that.
    – NVZ Mod
    Aug 28, 2016 at 15:10
  • 1
    @NVZ You're probably right, but I hope not. Because otherwise it has such a misguided purity. I'm considering making that the reason for all my edits.
    – deadrat
    Aug 28, 2016 at 16:57
  • Barge's true identity is a red herring. The post was locked due to persistent rollbacks. Barge was also personally abusive which I don't think any of us would condone - but that's a separate issue with different processes available to the mods. Aug 28, 2016 at 21:12
  • As much as watching drama shows is fun, the message isn't supposed to inform you of anything. Things mods handle are best dealt with quietly.
    – M.A.R.
    Aug 31, 2016 at 8:04
  • @DEAD: well yes, I certainly expect that mods are also taking positive action behind the scenes. On the other hand, even at the liveliest convention, if I have a problem and I follow a sign saying "Help Desk this way", I don't expect to find myself in an empty corridor. The message is also visible to others who might have an interest in the post itself and want to find out what's happening to it. Aug 31, 2016 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


Your question is whether the following message is adequate:

This post has been locked while disputes about its content are being resolved. For more info visit meta.

No, it isn't adequate - at least, not yet. The natural sense of the message is that the link would bring the reader to some information about the dispute. Instead, it simply brings the reader to the Meta site. I say not yet because, with questions like this, sufficient information may accumulate to satisfy the natural sense of the message, at least with respect to publicly available information.

I agree that the message would be more helpful if it linked to even generic information about locking and disputes. Natural curiosity would prefer that the invitation was to ask a question on Meta, but I support Stack Exchange's policy of protecting privacy and holding real personal reputation (as opposed to rep points) in high regard.

  • Thanks @Lawrence, +1 for your response, but I can't give it the Big Tick because it is more a positive recital of my question than a solution. So: if the message is inadequate, should my question instead have been a proposal? I'm not familiar with how system change is best approached. Aug 30, 2016 at 9:43
  • Hi @Chappo, sorry for missing the thrust of your question. I thought you were mainly interested in the answer to the question you put in italics, on its own paragraph, under the heading "Question" :) . I'm now not sure what you're looking for in an answer. I support all 3 suggestions you made at the end of your question, though - clarity, transparency and aggregation. Can I trouble you to ask your question again using different words? I seem to a bit dense these few days.
    – Lawrence
    Aug 30, 2016 at 9:59
  • Thnx for feedback. My error in emphasising that one line (which you've succinctly answered), when what I really wanted was a discussion on potential solutions. I'll edit the question so that it's more direct. Aug 30, 2016 at 10:09

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