Looking through the questions today, I see, rather disappointingly, that of first 4 questions one is a duplicate and 3 are on hold and absolutely cannot be saved.

But further down, I see this question, posted by a new user: Convert integer to string preserving order

There was much discussion about what was actually meant by "string" and the asker finally settled on UTF-8 (far more interesting than 8 bit ASCII.) However the reason this is on hold is because it does not have an objective winning criterion.

But the stated winning criterion, with a few minor edits as indicated below to iron out inconsistencies, would be quite clear:

VictoryWinning condition

The answer must fulfill the conditions above

The main goal is to make f(X) to represent the number in the least number of bytes UTF-8 unicode characters, assuming X is distributed uniformly.

In case of draw, smallest code wins (sum of code of f and code of g)

So really, this is a code-golf question in disguise. The existing answer produces 5 unicode characters. Unfortunately I don't know enough about Unicode to confirm that is the minimum required (though obviously there is a fixed number), so the least-characters criterion should stay, making code-challenge the right tag.

Then we have this question: How many paths are available?

The question was already showing a small number of downvotes, I believe because people thought it was a lot of tedious effort to handle the big numbers. So I suggested hex to make it easier. The OP then allowed basically any form of output format which was too broad. A couple of close votes came in, but even after the OP fixed the output format, close votes still kept coming in. Why? The text is now as follows

Output will be the number of possible paths in either a string or hex

Admittedly this can be improved on. I would prefer the following, with or without the hex:

Output will be a string containing the number of possible paths in decimal or hex format.

I now regret mentioning hex, because of what happened. Also, regarding the linked question big integer multiplication I found a way to answer the question without multiplying. My entire ungolfed C program (posted in the comments on the question as I am unable to post it as an answer) is actually shorter than most of the answers on that linked question, proving that it is not a duplicate. (In fact, I would love to see if someone can beat me using big integer multiplication in any language!)

Now, the two questions I mention here (and many that have gone before them) have potential. So I will go ahead tomorrow and make the minor edits I propose. But are the close voters ever going to come back and re-evaluate? The problem is, once the questions are closed, they receive very little traffic and no-one is around to reopen them. Even the question askers seem to have given up. Is there anything that can be done about this?

Another issue is that many people (including me) do not know how to cancel a close vote once cast.

By the way, the fact that a question seems hard (but not impossible) is not in my opinion a reason to downvote. The Alphanumeric Hello World question received a lot of downvotes before the rules were relaxed, and although it is now very popular, it still carries a fair number of those downvotes, because people have not re-evaluated. The top two answers, while not sophisticated in terms of algorithm, are both very clever in terms of syntax.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I can't speak for all voters, but the queues here are so empty that most of the time if there's anything in the queue I'll check it out. I imagine others are like-minded, because not much stays in the queue for long. So, once it gets the first reopen vote (to put it in the queue), traffic shouldn't be much of an issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    May 26, 2014 at 2:07
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just ask yourself, "If this question is so easily fixed, why didn't someone edit it before it got closed?" The answer is that you are one of few who actually want to work tediously to save a boring challenge, and you came to meta to try and argue that they are technically salvageable. I feel like you were trying to spark an attitude change with this post, but instead you just argued two specific cases and then didn't make an actual point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rainbolt
    May 26, 2014 at 7:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Im the one that asked the question in the second example, what happend here, and I see this with many questions, is that people downvote a question and vote to close it but they don't say why. Sometimes I can simply guess the reason but this also happens a lot with people that joined a few moments ago and ask their first question. They just wont to close it and never explain why. I think it's much better to write a comment and help the person who asked the question improve the question. That way they will learn from their mistake. \$\endgroup\$
    – Teun Pronk
    May 26, 2014 at 8:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TeunPronk codegolf.stackexchange.com/help/closed-questions disagrees with what Geobits says. According to that, it's only OP edit that triggers the review queue. Leave it a few hours to see if anyone answers the question in my comment to xfix's answer (is this actually in anyones review queue at the moment or does it really require an OP edit?) Possible edits: You will always start at [0,0] and move to [N,N] is not strictly true if you take the Y you no sqr bonus. Include these links wolframalpha.com/input/?i=4000C2000 amd wolframalpha.com/input/?i=18000C9000+hex \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2014 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


When your question is on hold, try to improve the question by editing. This will add the question on the reopen queue where users can reopen the question. If the question after improvements is good enough, it will be reopened.

In fact, the post you are linking to already has four reopen votes, which means it will be soon reopened after changes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I did edit both these questions (neither is mine.) My point is: 90% of the editing required was done by the time the question was closed, and the edits I have made are extremely minor. In the 2nd question, the edit I made was an improvement, but in my opinion unnecessary. The OP had fixed the issue but the question still received several more close votes. I still don't understand why. \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2014 at 12:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also according to codegolf.stackexchange.com/help/closed-questions the only way for an answer to get in the review queue is an edit by OP, not another person (or a reopen vote as mentioned by Geobits above.) That 2nd question is certainly not in my review queue (maybe because I already cast a reopen vote.) Is it in anyone else's, or does it truly require an OP edit as stated in the help centre? Can someone have a look? I'm curious. No move was made to reopen either of these questions before I was proactive about them. I want to know if it's my edit or this post that made the difference \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2014 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @steveverrill Following the link on that page to "How can I reopen it?" shows that any edit within five days of closure (when it's "on hold", not "closed") will also put it in the queue. It won't show in your queue, as you guessed, because you already cast a reopen vote on it. The queues are desgined to only show you things that you can take action on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    May 27, 2014 at 3:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Geobits Indeed, the two pages do say different things The one I linked says If a question is edited by the original poster when it is marked [on hold], it will automatically be placed in a review queue to be considered for reopening. The one you linked indicates editing is a first step, but regarding the actual reopening, it circles back to the page I linked. Anyway I'm interested in what actually happens, not the text Certainly, after I edited the questions the first one (which had an OP edit after closing) reopened faster than the second one (which did not.) I'll keep an eye out in future \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2014 at 4:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ As someone who used to hang around the reopen queues, I can confirm that you can put a post directly into the reopen queue by editing it. (In fact, they often get fairly spammed by people who correct minor problems with their questions an edit at a time, without touching the major ones which was the cause of closure in the first place.) \$\endgroup\$
    – user62131
    Dec 17, 2016 at 23:08

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