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When a question gets improperly closed, it seems much harder to reopen it than it was to improperly close it. From the FAQ (Scroll to "Is closure the end of the road for a question?"):

Closed questions can and should be edited to improve them and address the reasons why they were closed in the first place. Once this is done you might need to either flag the question for moderator attention or raise a meta question to bring it to everyone's attention so it can get the necessary views that might translate into reopen votes.

Some ideas to improve this process are below.

But first, please refer to this question and consider:

  • A newbie posts a question which contains complete, concise, self contained code that demonstrates the problem. (Heck, I'd almost upvote any newbie's question for that alone).

  • The question also states the specific problem -- but perhaps in a way that confused some into thinking it was a feature request, rather than a buggy-behavior question.

  • Nevertheless, the question was perfectly clear to some of us and should have been obvious to anyone who actually tried the code.

  • The timeline doesn't say when the close-votes happened (might make a nice feature request), but 4 of them were before the question was edited for clarity and successfully answered. The fifth close-vote came half a day later from a user with negligible expertise in the question's subjects (, , , ) -- at least according to the final voter's tags.
    This last user has 20.5K reputation, but only scores 26, on 46 posts, in the question's tags. More on this, below.

It seems lamentable that a newbie does most things right in his question (Self-contained test-case-code; and a single, specific problem are pretty big in my book), but gets penalized for suboptimal phrasing.

If you agree that that is the case here, please vote to reopen the question.


Possible improvements to the close/reopen process:

  1. It's been shot down before, but with the intervening change in management, can we please reconsider a question-specific "Do not close" vote?

  2. Perhaps if a question gets all of the following, it should count as one un-close vote:

    • At least 1 upvote
    • Is marked as answered.
    • The answer gets at least 1 upvote.


    So, it would take six votes, not five, to close such a question.

  3. Restrict the ability of people to close questions outside their expertise. Plenty of bad questions can be recognized by anyone with a head on their shoulders, but some questions require a familiarity with the subjects. I remember seeing several questions that illustrated this, here on meta, but I cannot find them again (so far).

    So perhaps, in order to vote to close someone else's question, a user must meet one of these additional requirements:

    1. Have a combined score, in the question's tags, of say, 100.
    2. Have a combined score, in the question's tags, of say, 2% of his current rep.


    So, for example, suppose the question had the tags: and , and you had 4 users like so:

                                             Nominal
                            Score in tag     Rep from
    User        Reputation  jQuery  Firefox  Q's tags  Percent
    ----------  ----------  ---------------  --------  -------
    Alfred          5600       72      39       1110    19.82
    Beatrice        5600       13       2        150     2.68
    Concepción      5600       10       1        110     1.96
    Duong          57000       72      39       1110     1.95
    

    Alfred and Duong could vote to close by criteria 1.
    Alfred and Beatrice could vote to close by criteria 2.
    Concepción could not vote to close that particular question.

    The exception:
    Suppose a bad question had nothing but rare tags. In order to allow it to be closed, consider the sum of all points scored by all users against that tag.

    For example, the tag currently has answers with a total score of 7, while has a total score of a few more than that. (^_^)

    So, if the sum of the scores, of the tags, of a given question are less than, say, 2000; then anyone can vote to close that question (if they meet the old requirements).

    Thus, any 3K user can help close questions tagged with just , but only users with a minimum, demonstrated subject-knowledge can help close questions.
    (Not quite fair, perhaps, but a necessary compromise to guard against bad questions in rare subjects.)

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1  
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/114286/… –  PengOne Sep 11 '12 at 5:37

1 Answer 1

can we please reconsider a question-specific "Do not close" vote?

I think you're missing the real problems at work here. The question got four votes when it looked lousy. Then it got edited into shape. Then it got a fifth vote. You're asking for a tool to negate one of the previous four votes, but...

...The problem is still that fifth vote.

So you cast your "do not close" vote, it gets the fifth vote anyway, and now the question sits open... With one more vote needed to close. The next day, it gets a sixth vote, and now it's closed. You can tweak the behavior of that "do not close" vote and adjust that timeline a bit, but there's a pretty good chance that if one person piles on with a vote then two people will as well.

So, the two problems here are:

  • The four initial votes became obsolete after the edit.
    IF the folks that cast them agree with that assertion, allowing them to retract their votes could account for this without actually increasing the number of votes needed to close legitimately poor questions.

  • The final vote closed the question anyway.
    Well, so what? Closed questions can be re-opened! Voting, flagging, posting here on meta, etc. can all get folks' attention - but if voting to re-open bumped the question into a dedicated reopen review queue, that attention might be a bit more focused.

Your per-tag-rep requirement strikes me as unworkable, I'm afraid - while I'm all for making it easier for folks to help moderate areas of the site where they have specific expertise, I think forcing this would end up creating islands where nothing gets moderated at all.

Also... It's easy enough to edit [my-favorite-tag] into a question before voting to close it. You can probably think of a way around that, but this is getting horribly complex already.

share|improve this answer
    
The question got 3 up-votes before it was closed. It's not unreasonable that it would have got some DNC votes as well. The 4th guy was maybe piling on, but it took half a day to do it. It's not perfect, but perhaps the other close votes would expire before someone else blindly piled on. –  Awesome Poodles Sep 11 '12 at 5:05
    
That's the problem though - every time a new vote is cast, the timer is reset on all of them. Even if you only get one vote every four days, that's enough to keep them from ever expiring. Re-opening deletes all of them at once... –  Shog9 Sep 11 '12 at 5:08
1  
I like the "retract votes" idea. The review-queue is too obscure. I didn't mention these because they had already been proposed and were either shot down multiple times or have not proved useful (yet). Except for the heavy hitter (an unrestricted DNC vote), I wanted to propose new ideas. –  Awesome Poodles Sep 11 '12 at 5:08
    
Re: I think forcing this would end up creating islands where nothing gets moderated at all. Hence the exception I built in. That proposed rule would only apply to tags that got sufficient traffic. –  Awesome Poodles Sep 11 '12 at 5:12
    
Re: Voting, flagging, posting here on meta, etc. can all get folks' attention - but if voting to re-open bumped the question into a dedicated reopen review queue, that attention might be a bit more focused. Voting has been less effective to reopen questions on low-traffic tags. Maybe that review queue will make it better? Posting here on meta is a seldom-win proposition. These kind of "reopen" questions seem to attract a large ration of undeserved downvotes. That just leaves flagging -- which seems rather inefficient. –  Awesome Poodles Sep 11 '12 at 5:22

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