My request is simple: Many times, there will be a question where some people feel like it should be closed. At the same time, I'll feel like it's a perfectly legit question, and it should therefore NOT be closed. Right now, I have to wait till it gets enough close votes (which it always does for some reason, as soon as 1 or 2 people vote to close, e/o else decides to vote as well) and then vote to re-open. How about, as soon as there's one vote to close, there should be an option to counter the close vote, something like "vote not to close" or whatever. This would then bring the "Vote to close" number down by one. Only when the vote to close outnumbers the vote not to close by 5, that's when a question is indeed closed. Any thoughts?
I am definitively in favor of that process.
Of course, it has been proposed "numerous" time on UserVoice already:
Note: since 2014-05-13 ("When did I get close-vote superpowers?"), users with a gold badge in a tag for a question can immediatly reopen a question closed as duplicate.
This is a (very small) improvement, which doesn't address the initial issue: there is no way to be notified when a question get (finally) closed in order to cast one's own reopen vote.
As I commented before, notification is really broken or non-existent on Stack Exchange sites.
Don't forget also the trivial ability to reverse your own close-vote (e.g. in a case a question was improved significantly).
this seems to come down to adding another dimention to the voting system.
interesting ^ | | proper<------------>improper | | uninteresting
we already have buttons for voting on the intersting/unintersting axis
if close > x+open then mark as closed
As the Mechanical snail points out, this has now been implemented, though not quite as-requested.
The philosophy behind this is reflected in my response to Miles' bounty:
When you find a problem with the way in which folks are behaving on the site, try to correct it with a scalpel, not an axe. The "silent majority" can prevent such migrations:
We're also working on revamping the "review" tools to put questions on the path to being closed in front of those with the most expertise in their topics. I can't always tell if, say, an r question is better off on Cross Validated, but there are plenty of folks who can. This will also give us some better data for determining when the silent majority has actually reviewed a question, and the ability to then age close votes accordingly. Which is really what you want.
Requiring that "silent majority" to go around casting "unclose" votes wouldn't do anything but create more work within the system for the benefit of a few edge-cases and a rather larger increase in the ability for griefers to waste the time of those already going out of their way to review and moderate. It's a tool for creating gridlock, something Stack Overflow in particular doesn't need any more of.
It is already "possible" to do this!
Go to the new Review interface for close votes.
Click through the ≈ 60,100 questions (on SO) with close votes until you see the one you want to vote not to close.
Click Do Not Close.
The functionality already exists, but is hard to use. If you agree with a close vote, you can always cast your vote to close directly from the question. Why should it be harder if you disagree?
(Also, it seems the queue interface is biased toward more recent questions, so you wouldn't have to click that many times. And voting not to close doesn't literally cancel out a close vote, but if several people do it the question is removed from the queue.)
Shog pointed out that close votes come with reasons to close, and so contain more useful information. (Here we're not concerned about obvious duplicates and the like; people aren't going to be disputing those: only the more complex cases.) Shog is afraid that allowing no-close votes will lead to people canceling out close votes without providing a useful rationale. I'll grant you that's a problem, but the problem is symmetric: close vote reasons are vague and often require additional explanation for why they apply, and most of the time close voters don't explain exactly why they think it's e.g. a duplicate. Fundamentally it would be no harder to comment along with your no-close vote from a question, than to add a useful argument along with a your close vote for a non-clear-cut question. I therefore see the no-close-vote proposal as orthogonal to the problem of people not providing rationales.
For example, I have seen a fair number of duplicate votes for which the questions look subtly different; it may require a minute or two of reading to determine whether they really are dupes. In these I don't recall ever seeing comments like "This poster's underlying problem is xxx which is the same as the other question".
Because it's easier to get questions that should be closed out of the queue, the current system encourages questions getting closed and reopened repeatedly. Lack of explanation is a different problem; perhaps adding a comment field to the (no-)close dialog would help.
Would the same work for reopening too?
Would it reopen the moment the number of close votes dropped to 4, or would it have to gain a net score of 5 reopen votes to be reopened?
Sounds like you'll get a closing war: close it, no, yes, no, yes,... with a long comment thread why and why not. Than SO is the discussion group and not Meta. I don't like this scenario.
This is a splendid idea. But the whole concept must be as simple as possible: "Vote not to close" is in fact the same as open, so I think it could be simplified. The whole concept could be as in the case of score votes. There would be two buttons, available all the time, regardless the state (open/closed/on-hold) that would operate on current number of close votes (0-5):
This concept is very simple and easy to understand, and also has all the benefits we starve for:
Please leave the closing/reopening system alone. It works fine as is. There is a bias towards reopening, but most of the noise is getting purged properly.
Declining, because there's already a solution: track the question (favorite it, or leave it open in a tab in your browser) and if it reaches the close threshold, vote to reopen it.
Beyond that, the 10k rep tools include a report that will show you
(I plan to improve this a bit in the future.)
That gives you the ability to monitor questions that are on the edge either way and vote to close or reopen. But remember, you can only vote to close once and vote to reopen once on the same question.