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I have used stackoverflow and I love it. I see one area that needs improvement - the process of closing questions.

I have had two questions closed the same way, even though there were people who found the questions useful and were actively participating in exchanging ideas. But let me share an example that drove me to write about this issue. Anybody who has struggled with Facebook's documentation and subtle flavors of integration options, will agree that the question below has merit:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4193256/facebook-integration-giving-problem

However, the question was struck out with a very vague explanation about it being "localized to a geography" and "not likely to help future visitors". I frankly don't buy that because I am in the USA and I have seen variations of this problem.

I understand the need for peer review and I appreciate the role that forum watchers play. And, I know that the appeals process can be tedious to manage. I propose that people's closing votes be open to rating up-votes/downgrades by others (not the person who asked the question). Ratings should give people some power but let's have a counter check that allows other highly rated people to voice their opinion by voting on the close verdict.

What do you think? Do you agree that we should put in some accountability for people watching the forums will allow new people to participate without having to conform to the established way of thinking? Do you think we should subject close votes to up/down votes like all other questions and answers are?

PS: I will put this in a feature request if enough people agree with what I have proposed.

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But then should we not also have voting on the close-vote votes? –  hammar Apr 4 '12 at 15:47
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That example question has no merit and needs to be vaporized. –  user7116 Apr 4 '12 at 15:51
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To clarify my earlier comment, the policy on signatures and tagline applies to all kinds of sign-offs including sticking a "Thanks" at the end of your posts. You will thank people who actually help you with upvotes and acceptence. –  dmckee Apr 4 '12 at 15:58
    
Please read the entire close reason: it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. This is not about geography, it's a specific error message with no context that likely is resulting from a problem specific to the poster's code. –  JNK Apr 4 '12 at 18:05
    
@JNK - The error mentioned in the post has nothing to do with code but its related to FB settings. It may not be apparent to everyone but if you are messing around with FB, more likely than not you have seen that error and can help solve it. That was my concern - just because a question is not understood by everyone does not mean it should be yanked out. If you look at the background of the person, who closed out the issue, web integration is not his primary domain. I think that's not constructive. I already accepted Antony's answer, because it provides an option to address this problem. –  Tabrez Apr 4 '12 at 20:25
    
The problem is that you were "exchanging ideas". That's not what a Q&A site is for, and explains why your question was closed. –  Cody Gray Apr 4 '12 at 20:32
    
@TheEstablishment - my intention was not to hurt anybody's sentiments. I had not raised this question in relation to the question you are referring to. I already cited what made me write the post. But out of the two questions that were closed on me, the one you refer to, was correctly closed (I was very new at posting then). The second (about SSH) was closed as being "off-topic" even though there were active solution exchanges going on on it! So, obviously there were folks who found it relevant. But either way every place has its rules and I am happy with Antony and jadarnel27's responses. –  Tabrez Apr 4 '12 at 20:46
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2 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

We do not need additional public metrics to evaluate whether or not someone is using their close votes appropriately.

The recourse for fighting a closing is already well-established, and that is to simply vote to reopen and allow your peers to agree or, failing the capability, to flag for moderator review. It takes 5 votes to close (or one moderator), and 5 to reopen (or one moderator), so the system is already in place to allow you to override what you might think are invalid closings.


As jadarnel27 stated in the comments. the ability to vote to close and reopen is presently made available when you reach 3000 reputation points.

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Anthony - thanks for the answer. Is the option to vote for reopen only visible to users of a certain rating? How does one access that option? –  Tabrez Apr 4 '12 at 16:20
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@Tabrez You have to have 3000 reputation on Stack Overflow to cast close votes or reopen votes. –  jadarnel27 Apr 4 '12 at 16:30
    
@jadarnel27 - thanks! That and Anthony's response answer me. I can close out the discussion. I think it would be nice to have that information displayed on the closed questions pages. But that probably is a different discussion. I will wait until I hit 3000 before floating that discsussion:) –  Tabrez Apr 4 '12 at 16:34
    
the merit of capturing metrics on close votes is that you will have some measure of what is important to users of stackoverfow. we should be listening to the users, right? –  SHC Nov 30 '13 at 13:20
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The question is very low quality - it describes an error code and doesn't even ask a question.

It is not a good question and has been closed as result.


The cited reason could have been the one for Not a Real Question (NARQ) instead of the one given:

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.

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I think that's a valid assessment of the example question, but that's not what this post is asking about. –  jadarnel27 Apr 4 '12 at 15:45
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@jadarnel27, no, but if the OP's premise that the question was incorrectly closed is faulty, that weakens his argument. –  Shog9 Apr 4 '12 at 15:49
    
@Shog9 Definitely, I was just pointing it out because it seems like this answer misses the point of the question. But since Anthony's answer covers the other part very nicely, all the bases are covered =) –  jadarnel27 Apr 4 '12 at 15:54
    
Thanks for the response. I agree that the example question may not have all the information to make sense to someone who is not working on facebook integration. But that was the point. The question was not closed for the reason you are citing, and there should be a way to challenge it instead of assuming that the person thought what you are citing. Anthony has provided the answer that I was looking for above. Just waiting for a follow up on some details and I can close out the discussion. –  Tabrez Apr 4 '12 at 16:23
    
Because of my comment, I also want to mention that I didn't cast the downvote on this answer (not that it would bother you Oded, I just wanted you to know). I think it's very relevant to the discussion, and thus certainly not deserving of a downvote. –  jadarnel27 Apr 4 '12 at 16:25
    
@Oded - As I noted in my post, I understand that questions need to be closed. But the reason needs to make sense. I am not sure if people are open to allowing comments that supplement the canned reasons. But if a question is closed without a proper reason, it serves no constructive purpose. If the example question had been closed with the proper reason, the author could have asked a question with a more pertinent description. So, that's the premise of my discussion post. –  Tabrez Apr 4 '12 at 16:30
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