I've been working the First Posts review queue and I am often finding questions that do not provide enough details to permit a helpful answer. (E.g., "Why is cold air coming out of my vents?")

Many times we add comments prompting the OP to add sufficient details, but until they do the question is a waste of anyone's time.

IMO, this is one of the reasons Stack Exchange has an "On Hold" feature. But the two closest canned flags are "too broad" and "unclear what you're asking," neither of which is exactly the problem that occurs so often on DIY. Is there a convention on how (or even whether) questions with insufficient details should be flagged?

1 Answer 1


The "Unclear what you're asking" includes the text:

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

And in off-topic because..., there is the close reason:

Not enough information was provided to answer this question accurately. Please include the make and model of all devices and equipment, photos, diagrams, drawings, and any other information that might help people provide an accurate answer.

Either of these would be valid for a question that doesn't provide enough detail.

If you believe it is a clear case that needs to be placed on hold immediately, or the question has clearly been abandoned by the OP and unlikely to be acted on by the community, flagging as such would alert a moderator to step in. If we feel that it's a border line scenario, we may decline the flag in favor of letting the community make the decision. I personally try to give a new member to the site 24 hours to respond to comments asking for clarification before taking a binding mod action. A non-binding vote by community members is good to use as you come across these questions.

  • To clarify: If a mod reviews such a flag and selects "Leave Open" then the flag is removed. So presumably if a mod wants to give the user time to act while still leaving it queued for community vote to put on hold, the mod show elect to "Skip" that item in the Close queue?
    – feetwet
    Mar 11, 2018 at 16:29
  • The mod flag queue is a little different since our choice of action also gives feedback to the one posting the flag. I mention the possibility of having the flag declined in some situations because many like to keep their helpful flag ratio high.
    – BMitch Mod
    Mar 11, 2018 at 20:56
  • We typically take action on the flag when we see it. We can put the question on hold/close it, decline the flag with a reason, or take no action but indicate the flag was still helpful which I believe gives the person asking the question an automatic -1.
    – BMitch Mod
    Mar 11, 2018 at 20:59

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