This post is somehow related to this one, but I believe it focuses on different part of this discussion.
I have been an active member in the stackexchange community for a while and I have seen quite a few cases where
close question does not work as well as intended I think.
As there are several options when you vote to close a question I would like to focus on some of them and propose a way to improve them.
Exact duplicate. We see this one quite often and I believe in most cases this is fair reason to close a question. Still, after the question is closed I believe it should contain more information. When a user votes to close a question as an
exact duplicatehe choose the original question that this one is duplicate of. What I find really strange is why once the question is closed this information is not available. I would like to see some text like
closed as exact duplicate of <link_to_thread>. In fact I do not care that much for the usernames of the users that voted to close the question(which are listed) as for the question it is a duplicate of. Also I believe sometimes it is worth it to somehow "merge" the two questions or at least their answers. I have seen cases where an answer to the duplicate question is better than any in the original question, but this answer is somewhat "lost" once the duplicate is closed. I would even say that it is better to always merge the answers of the two questions and thus risking to have some low-quality answers to the original question, than never to merge them and risk to loose a really good answer.
Off topic. I have seen many times a question that I find really interesting being closed because of that reason. There really are many questions that are "off topic" but sometimes I think users tend to close questions as off topic just because they don't understand what they are about. I believe there are two main reasons for a question to be closed as "off topic" if it is meant for another stackexchange site or if it is totally unrelated to any of these sites. In the first case I propose the appropriated site be indicated in the message that the question is closed as off topic. For instance
The question is closed as off-topic, please use http://superuser.com/.
Too localized - this suffers from the same problem as the case above. Often a question that is too localized for user A may be perfectly good question for another user B that has better understanding of the matter. I will propose a solution for this problem below.
It seems to me that reopening a question happens quite rarely(in fact I don't remember a question ever being reopened). I think this should not be so, but somehow a question gets "forgotten" once it is closed. I would like to propose using something I would call "unclose vote". A user that has enough reputation that sees a question has close votes, but thinks the question should not actually be closed may vote to "unclose" it. Off course casting such vote makes no sense for exact duplicates but could work for almost all the other alternatives, I believe. I would propose that a question is only closed if the number of close votes is no less than the number of unclose votes plus 5. And also same rule could work for reopening a question - a question is only reopened if the reopen votes are at least 5 more than the close votes. I believe that by introducing the unclose concept question that are wrongfully closed will be greatly reduced, while at the same time I believe questions that are really low quality or not suited for the community will still get closed as before.
I understand that the above suggestions will not be easy to realize but I believe they could improve the concept of closing a question significantly.