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I nominated this question to be closed as a dup.

I see that two other people upvoted my comment, so they might have voted to close it as well.

Now, we didn't gather enough votes, and all close votes expired ... and I can't re-vote to close.

What is the motivation behind expiring close votes ... especially for close-as-duplicate?

Update: Please take into consideration:

  1. Beta Stack Exchange sites have a fewer community, and less people with voting privileges
  2. Closing as a duplicate is "usually the right thing" IMHO - much less controversial than closing as off topic.
  3. After a vote is reset, the original users can't vote again. On a small site, this makes it even harder to get a consensus of five votes.
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Incidentally, I wouldn't call "committers" equivalent to "board". RMS is in a position I'd call "board" on GCC (though with less influence than before) though it's been a while since he's done much committing. –  sarnold Feb 1 '12 at 0:51
    
One could argue that beta sites' low traffic means fewer questions, and thus the users are more likely to come across any given question. In other words, #questions scales nicely with #users. The VTC privilege has some scaling built in based on the stage of the site as well. –  Matthew Read Feb 1 '12 at 1:01
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Note the logic in this wildly popular answer. If allowed unlimited time, all questions would reach the close / delete / reopen threshold. –  Anthony Pegram Feb 1 '12 at 2:44
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2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

The system has actually been reworked recently to take into account low-traffic beta sites:

  • If the question has less than 100 views, the votes never expire
  • If the question has more than 100 views, close votes expire at a rate of one every 4 days.

But closing is supposed to be a (mostly) spontaneous action by the community to deal with closures on their own. If a community can't muster up enough votes even given these generous expiration rules, there's something that needs resolving in the community:

  • Do people know how to close questions?
  • Are there enough people with the ability to close questions?
  • Is the question really a duplicate, or are you perhaps mistaken (which is why nobody else joined you in voting to close it)?

If you think a question really needs closing and the community isn't stepping up to the plate, consider doing one of two things:

  • Ask about it on your meta-discussion site. Hash out why it's not closed with your fellow community members. If there's a consensus the question should be closed, it shouldn't be hard to get enough people to throw in their vote.
  • Flag it for a moderator. That's what they're there for: exception handling when the community can't act on its own. If they agree, no expiration rules apply to them: their close vote is binding.
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+1 for flagging. –  ripper234 Feb 1 '12 at 8:16
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Why must closing be a spontaneous activity? I understand expiring them in order to avoid the inevitable heat-death of the question due to infinite accumulation, but we currently take the extra step of denying users to ability to vote for a question they voted on even if the vote was ultimately ineffective due to expiration. Why not allow them to re-vote to close if their vote previously expired without closing? Why must a group of users vote at the same time in order for it to be effective? –  Adam Davis Mar 1 '12 at 22:40
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If you come along to a question with 3 existing close votes, you may be tempted to vote to close even if:

  • You don't necessarily agree with the sentiment
  • The user has reworked the question to make it clearer or more on-topic
  • The question has been answered in a fashion that makes the question-answer pair on-topic (for example, an answer to an odd question which explains why that is the wrong sort of question to be asking may be very helpful for future readers as well as the asker)

Having only 3 close votes over four days means the community was unsure but didn't reach even a minor consensus as to whether the question should be closed (considering daily traffic on SO and the fact that you only need 5 votes or 1 mod vote). In this circumstance I think it's very reasonable to reset the votes so the question is looked at without the bias inherent in seeing close(3) there already.

In terms of duplicates, flag it for moderator attention as a possible duplicate and if they agree it'll be instantly closed.

EDIT: Beta sites may be handled slightly differently, but this answer is intended to apply to the average Stack Exchange site. It may be worth differentiating how close votes should work during a site's beta period since I can see that it's going to be hard to muster enough attention to keep everything on-topic.

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1. Beta SE sites don't have that much traffic, nor people that have voting rights. 2. Do you arguments apply to close-as-duplicate? 3. The reset would make more sense if users could vote again after the reset ... in the current state of events, it's possible that 4 users vote to close every period of time, only to have their votes reset ... and then the next 4 users votes ... until we run out of users who care enough to vote, or have the privilege to. –  ripper234 Feb 1 '12 at 0:31
    
1. Isn't there at least 1 mod who can instantly close questions? I would have thought there had to be. 2. To make a duplicate question on-topic (you can), you just have to rework the question enough that it doesn't cover the same ground, even if the answer points to a similar or the same place. It's possible to have 2 different questions with the same answer. 3. While I can see your point, I think if that repeated vote expiry scenario happens then the question is probably marginal enough to NOT be closed. –  darvids0n Feb 1 '12 at 0:35
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The expiry period (at least on SO) is 100 views plus 4 days. Escalation of closure to moderators in low-visibility areas (including for old questions) is valid; the problem with that being that a) moderators are sometimes reluctant to unilaterally close in borderline instances (the case for closure would certainly be helped if expired close votes were visible) b) on sites without many high-rep users, this means that moderators are intervening in a very high percentage of closures. –  Josh Caswell Feb 1 '12 at 0:39
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