I think it would make browsing easier.

I'm mildly dyslexic so I sometimes miss those statuses at the end of the questions..

  • 1
    Do you mean on the front page, for when you're scanning question titles, or somewhere else? – Monica Cellio Mar 9 '16 at 15:52
  • 1
    When you're scanning question titles. It would just be easier to skip if the link, or even the text showed up as red, or something that would identify them quickly, or even an asterisk to the left... anything, really. – Old_Lamplighter Mar 9 '16 at 15:54
  • Don't all of those questions already say "[on hold]" or "[closed]" or "[duplicate]" at the end of the title? – David K Mar 9 '16 at 18:48
  • @DavidK yes, they do, at the end. I just think it would make scanning easier, especially with 50-75% of the questions ending up in this status, depending on the day. – Old_Lamplighter Mar 9 '16 at 18:53
  • A mod can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing this kind of functionality does not exist for individual sites and is something you'd have to petition Meta.SE for. – David K Mar 10 '16 at 3:19
  • I suppose putting the "[On Hold]" status at the front of the title line rather than at the end would accomplish the same thing, without introducing a new color scheme. – Joe Strazzere Mar 13 '16 at 14:29

Theoretically, yes, this is possible. Practically speaking, it isn't something that we are likely to do because:

  1. It will make as many people upset as it will make happy
  2. It is pretty easy to do with a user script if you're motivated


There tends to at least be a vocal minority whenever we change anything on the site who complain. That's why doing awesome things like making question navigation easier take a whole bunch of iterations and still get downvotes despite us trying to minimize the impact on people who hate us moving the cheese.

So while you personally may love the idea of having closed/on hold questions change color on the front page, other people won't like it so much. When we started greying out low scoring questions, there was a non-insignificant amount of people who had trouble reading the lighter color to the point that we made the color change back on mouseover.

This can be done automagically

If you write a simple browser script, you can make closed/on-hold questions look any way you'd like. Anything that has the words [on hold] or [closed] that isn't on a child meta site (where people sometimes use those in titles) could be colored mauve if that's your thing.

That way rather than expecting everyone to deal with the preference of one user, users who are bothered can fix it for themselves in 95% of cases (we realize that people browse on multiple devices, etc.).

And if enough people start using the userscript, we may just implement it because we can see that it may not just be a matter of taste but usability for a large segment of our users.

This was a long way of saying "sorry, not this time", but hopefully helps explain how we tend to go about things like this.

  • @404 that's what edits are for! – jmac Mar 10 '16 at 15:32
  • Any idea where to go to learn browser scripts. I'm a fast study, but I don't know where to go. I'm also mildly dyslexic so it would help me a bit. – Old_Lamplighter Mar 11 '16 at 19:10
  • I don't want to move this too OT, but "doing awesome things like making question navigation easier take a whole bunch of iterations and still get downvotes" gets my downvote because it breaks functionality and my workflow by breaking the back button. Sorry :-( I feel this is not a good comparison, as changing the colour of links does not break any specific functionality or workflow. – Martin Tournoij Mar 12 '16 at 21:33
  • @RichardU I have no idea to be honest -- try asking in The Workplace Chat? – jmac Mar 14 '16 at 2:53
  • @Carpetsmoker Noted on the back button breaking. So if you want something a bit more similar... Or how about this one (note: these are two occasions when I was on the wrong side of history). Point being, people don't like things looking different. Regardless of what example you want to use, the point is that many people are scared of change. Myself included. – jmac Mar 14 '16 at 2:56

Building on what jmac said, there are also many user scripts in Stack Apps which could be easily modified by someone so they don't have to write from scratch. I have one that makes the badges in the navigation clickable to take you right to the badges page in the user profile, so that could be easily modified to instead loop through question titles, read [closed]|[on hold] and apply new CSS styles.

Jeff Atwood once said the team doesn't like to implement user preferences and instead use "sane defaults", which keeps the Stack Exchange codebase and UI much simpler, so in addition to jmac's points, relying on a user script helps keep core Stack Exchange more stable and usable.

If you're looking at getting started writing user scripts, this could be a good exercise to get started.


Users are used to seeing two different link colors on a site: unvisited and visited links. We all know what those mean, so once we learn what the styling of any given site has done with those colors, we can use that signal and browse normally.

This change would introduce two more link colors, which would be pretty confusing. (I realize you only asked for one color, but you can't break the visited/unvisited distinction in the process of doing this.)

You might do better to ask that the "on hold" (or "closed") notification be moved to the beginning of the title for easier scanning, though I don't know if that would fly either. We don't want people to systematically ignore these questions, after all; some might have been edited and have pending reopen votes, and some might have been closed in error and should be given a glance. And in some cases you yourself might be able to contribute the edit that fixes the problem and gets the question back on track.


Yes. And we should also add a lock icon next to closed questions which have less than a -4 score.

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