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From Close vote seeding in PHP chat:

And it is that [vote-to-close] request, not the persons, with which I take grievance. . .

Is it an acceptable practice to ask for votes to close a question?

Stack Overflow is a highly democratic website, so I would assume it is perfectly fine. However, at least one user in the linked question thinks it is unacceptable to do so. I'd like an somewhat-definitive answer on this one.

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I'm neutral on this specific issue, but generally speaking usually there is no definitive answer on such questions - member A will say "X" and member B will say "Z". Sometimes even moderators disagree among themselves. The final voice belongs to Jeff of course, but he don't always speak his mind or use his Force. –  Shadow Wizard Jan 25 '12 at 16:03
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Personally I don't really see this as different in intent than Clean-up meta questions or Meta questions about a specific question. –  Some Helpful Commenter Jan 25 '12 at 16:46
    
Not unacceptable, just bad practice. Honestly, it's made me afraid to ask questions sometimes. Fear of being shot down/losing points. But you raise a good point. However it feels like it's easier to close a question than it is to open one/keep it open while close votes are being made. –  Steve Robbins Jan 26 '12 at 3:51
    
We've got a meta chat explicitly for a more high-level version of this in Posse comitatus, don't we? The main difference I see is Posse comitatus is about discussion and not just "close this question now" –  Ben Brocka Jan 28 '12 at 21:19
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3 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

There is actually an automated system that "asks" people to consider voting to close, and encourages us to dive in looking for content to give the axe to. Two systems, actually; The /review and /tools (available only to appropriate rep. users)

The dynamics are different, of course... but the overall point is that it is desired that users with close-vote ability will go and seek content to close.

What Charles Sprayberry and Popular Demand say is all correct too, of course. A user should be honest about said content, and users voting to close should always do so thoughtfully, no matter how they came across the question in the first place.

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Without looking at the specific case(s) mentioned in the linked chat, I see this behavior as positive. SE sites, especially SO, generate a tremendous amount of content. Since we allow anyone on the Internet to submit that content, some of it will inevitably be garbage. Every user with close vote privileges is responsible for cleaning and curating to keep our communities useful, and we should make that job as painless as possible.

The important thing here is that you can't force anyone to cast a close vote; you can only encourage them to visit questions with the suggestion of voting to close. If they disagree with you, they may just as easily upvote, or bookmark it for possible later reopen-voting.

Of course, it's possible to take this too far, but that's no reason to ban it. Every tool in the world can be abused. The proper response is to try to change the abusers' behavior, not ban tools.

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Like most things, its good until it is bad. –  Won't Jan 25 '12 at 16:47
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I see no problems with asking for a user to review a question and provide a close-vote, assuming that the question/answer is reviewed and the vote to close is not blindly given.

I would almost consider this to be a good practice to try to get bad questions closed quickly. Duplicative/inferior questions bring down the usefulness of the site and should be avoided; the longer they last the more likely they will get votes and become questions that show up in searches for a given term.

If the question is truly duplicative or inferior removing it from the site as soon as possible should be a goal. It ensures that the good information is more easily found and given more prominence, this is a good thing in my opinion.

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