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There are currently 47.5k questions with close votes.

This seems to be quite a problem in my opinion and I think the close vote policy needs to be reviewed.

A few suggestions:

  1. Higher reputation users get more votes (apparently already happens)

  2. Votes of higher reputation users are more significant (e.g. 2x or 3x)

  3. Higher reputation users are allowed multiple votes per question

    Very similar to more significant votes, except that casting additional votes has a cost.

    Related to this (+48). My comment there suggests a safer option - 50k = 2 votes, 100k = 3 votes and no question can have more than 2 additional votes (i.e. max 2 users each 2 votes ((2-1)*2=2) or 1 user 3 votes (3-1=2)) (thus absolutely no question can be closed with less than 3 users (except maybe with mods))

  4. Any of the above 3 suggestions, but rather than using high rep as judging factor, using reviewing ability (how to judge this?)

  5. Increase reputation required to vote to close own questions (not sure how many of the questions this is or how much reputation is required)

  6. Voting affects reputation (for motivation) (sounds like a good idea for all types of review - it would stop reviewers that approve inappropriate posts)

    Increase if people agree, smaller decrease if they don't, though this isn't currently applicable to close votes, though maybe it should be.

    A negative voting reputation doesn't decrease your overall reputation, but significantly reduces the number of votes you're allowed (or simply disallows voting)

  7. Once-off flush. The number of questions appears to be pretty stable (from checking over the past few days / weeks), so a once-off flush may fix the problem.

    The reasoning is that it being that high looks bad (does it matter? I don't know) and may be demotivating to potential reviewers.

  8. Remove all the questions with closed votes from the queue and trickle-feed them back into the system, preventing the queue from building.

    Similar to the once-off flush, but doesn't into-the-void-ify votes. The reason to do this is probably more psychological than anything else, and possibly that tending to newer (presumably more significant) requests could get delayed (this doesn't seem to be such a big problem).

  9. Decrease the number of views required for votes to start expiring. Presumably most of these are those with less than 100 views (otherwise they would expire), so just decreasing this limit may work.

  10. Have the Community user poke questions with close votes more often than other questions

    This will get the question more attention to get up to 100 views (so votes start expiring) or for it to get more close votes to be closed.

  11. Lower reputation required for close vote privilege (this is a terrible idea, just included for completeness)

  12. Order by date / number of votes already cast on question

    Not so much a suggestion as a consideration. I don't know how questions are currently sorted, but one of the above or a combination of the 2 might be a good idea.

  13. Better interface for the review queue

    I find the current way of reviewing close votes unworkable for various reasons. I'm thinking a nice interface very similar to how you can currently browse questions.

  14. Decrease number of votes required to close a question

  15. An irritating little note popping up somewhere occasionally for 3k+ (4k+? 5k+?) rep users reminding them to use close votes if they don't already

UPDATE - 2013/04/04:

Rather significant edit.

I've seen a steady increase over the past 2 months. Sitting at 51k now. I think it's safe to say something needs to be done.

Data explorer queries:

Get open questions with close votes, sorted by most votes including a clickable link to question - useful for reviewing if you find the review queue unworkable (no badge for you, unfortunately).

Get count of open questions per number of close votes (maybe a little off).

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marked as duplicate by animuson Nov 21 '13 at 16:27

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
I find the amount of items in the queue oscillates, but (over extended periods of time) generally goes down. –  J. Steen Feb 11 '13 at 12:25
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Of course, the resent increase might be a sign that most badge-farmers have hit their coveted gold badge in that queue and have now left it for good. –  J. Steen Feb 11 '13 at 12:26
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I can imagine people saying "Oh, 45k questions still to be reviewed, I won't even make a dent, what's the point?" –  Dukeling Feb 11 '13 at 12:27
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Then people are selfish and narrow-minded, really. All they have to do is look at the review stats for that queue. 438,396 reviews all-time, of which 1,380 (so far) today. People are making a dent, and once we get back far enough (to the site's creation) they will inevitably start to drop off at a very fast pace again. –  J. Steen Feb 11 '13 at 12:29
    
And that above is my highly personal and judgemental opinion. =) –  J. Steen Feb 11 '13 at 12:30
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Related/possible dupe: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/151833/… and related (improving review queue): meta.stackexchange.com/questions/145665/… and a related shameless plug (change distribution of close votes): meta.stackexchange.com/questions/166217/… –  ben is uǝq backwards Feb 11 '13 at 12:31
    
Also, we see speedups as milestones are being approached. When it gets close to 45k or 40k you'll see the rate of reviews temporarily increase as people want to hit those milestones. –  Martijn Pieters Feb 11 '13 at 12:31
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@MartijnPieters It'd be cool if the site got badges for those kind of achievements. =D –  J. Steen Feb 11 '13 at 12:32
    
one possible solution would be to push SO mods to spend more on closing questions - with binding votes and capable of instant deletion, they could make some impact. As of now, only one of them is in top 20 reviewers. One... exactly one of sixteen, this is not even funny –  gnat Apr 5 '13 at 22:04
    
@gnat Good idea, not sure how big impact it would make. Also note voting to close questions outside of review doesn't increase your count in review, so we don't really know where the mods stands (unless someone wants to write a data explorer query to find out - maybe not, Votes.UserID = NULL for close votes). –  Dukeling Apr 5 '13 at 22:09
    
@gnat Actually, mods probably currently do enough. We can't ask them to do too much (especially something like closing questions, which many may consider very repetitive), it is volunteers after all (excl. SE staff). Maybe more mods or mods with specific roles or something. –  Dukeling Apr 5 '13 at 22:26
    
@Dukeling I somehow worry about the message sent to others. "Yeah we mods worry about CV queue, about 1/16"... not too encouraging. I wouldn't mind if they close less total "in exchange" of more of them being present in top reviewers list, that would show they care. Publicity matters, you see –  gnat Apr 5 '13 at 22:29
    
What's the point of a once-off flush? That doesn't achieve anything. –  Manishearth Apr 6 '13 at 5:23
    
Definitely don't lower the expiry view threshold. I want it raised instead. Just because there isn't currently the manpower to deal with the full-history of close votes doesn't mean that these questions should remain open. –  ben is uǝq backwards Apr 6 '13 at 22:24
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2 Answers

Huh? All of your suggestions are useless if not counterproductive.

Higher reputation users get more votes

This is already the case.

Votes of higher reputation users are more significant (e.g. 2x or 3x)

NO! The point of requiring multiple voters is to have several people review the question. It's bad enough that being in the close queue predisposes the reader to vote to close. Allowing a question to be closed with few votes is a dangerous privilege that is only granted to a select ♦few for good reason.

Increase reputation required to vote to close own questions (not sure how many of the questions this is or how much reputation is required)

Huh? What's the point? People rarely to vote to close their own question unless it's consensual.

Voting affects reputation (for motivation) (sounds like a good idea for all types of review - it would stop reviewers that approve inappropriate posts)

This has been discussed many times on meta (search a bit), especially with respect to duplicates. No one has proposed anything that looks like it might work. In addition, reputation is always given for content, not for cleanup tasks, and mixing the two throws a lot of mud into what is already very murky water. There are also alternate proposals that don't have this problem such as a citizenship level.

Once-off flush. The number of questions appears to be pretty stable (from checking over the past few days / weeks), so a once-off flush may fix the problem.

How does shoving the garbage under the rug help? You don't see the garbage, but it still causes a bump on the floor and it still stinks.

Decrease the number of views required for votes to start expiring. Presumably most of these are those with less than 100 views (otherwise they would expire), so just decreasing this limit may work.

On the contrary, the queue would be flushed faster if votes didn't expire for low-view questions, only for questions that went through the close review queue and got out because enough people voted “do not close”.

Have the Community user poke questions with close votes more often than other questions

How is this supposed to help?

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I agree with most of your points, but I think the OP's last idea does have a little bit of merit. Bumping questions with close votes would get more people to see them. Presumably some of those people wouldn't have seen them otherwise, since not everyone uses the review queue. –  Bill the Lizard Feb 11 '13 at 14:02
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(1) Now I know. (3) As I said, I don't know, just possibly worth investigating. (5) A once-off flush makes things more manageable, even though you're losing some older data (see question edit). (6) I presume you mean "did expire". I want the queue to be flushed faster, that's the point of that suggestion. (7) Community poke gets the question more attention to get up to 100 views (so votes expire) or get more close votes. –  Dukeling Feb 11 '13 at 14:03
    
@BilltheLizard We'd bump what are presumably the worst questions to people who for the most part aren't equipped to deal with them (<3k rep)… This could make sense if the bump was specifically for 3kers. SO's front page is already differentiated per user, so there's a precedent. –  Gilles Feb 11 '13 at 14:27
    
@Dukeling (6) No, I meant didn't expire. That's the point: lots of questions in low-traffic tags are old enough to have reached the 100 view threshold, but attract so little attention that the few 3k users who are active in these tags can't manage to all vote to close at the same time. Expiring close votes makes the situation worse. –  Gilles Feb 11 '13 at 14:30
    
@Gilles "We'd bump what are presumably the worst questions..." Yes, that's a pretty big down side already, even without taking into account the proportion of <3k users. –  Bill the Lizard Feb 11 '13 at 14:32
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@Dukeling The only “problem” that flushing the queue would solve is the number of entries in the queue. But the number of entries in the queue is not a problem: the problem is the number of questions that need closing but aren't closed (and the smaller number of other cases such as questions that don't need closing). You can't fix that by waving a magic wand. –  Gilles Feb 11 '13 at 14:32
    
@Gilles I'm saying let's put a pin in current items in the queue, let reviewers deal with new requests rather than these old ones, and, whenever the queue is (near-)empty, we add a few of the old ones back. As I said in my edit, it's mainly psychological or forcing priority to new questions (and possibly nudging users to look at questions outside of their tags?). –  Dukeling Feb 11 '13 at 15:02
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Like I mentioned here, the high number of active close votes is due to a boundary phenomenon, nothing more. What happened is that before the introduction of the review queues, close voted questions would be lost to the "void" if not immediately acted on. These piled up (sure, close votes decay, but that's pretty slow). Now, the queues are introduced, putting all CV-d questions in one place, and the pileup is apparent.

It's been reducing since then, which is what is important. It doesn't matter how high up it is right now.

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My problem with a high number is that the most recent ones may get skipped (even if they are presented in order), which is far from desirable. –  Dukeling Feb 11 '13 at 12:29
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@Dukeling: What evidence do you have that the recent ones are being skipped? –  Martijn Pieters Feb 11 '13 at 12:30
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@Dukeling: Nah, IIRC the CV queue presents stuff only psuedo randomly. Newer CVs pop up first. Or something like that. Anyway, a lot of the recent CVs get cleaned up by the respective tag chatrooms, outside of the queue. –  Manishearth Feb 11 '13 at 12:31
    
@MartijnPieters None, "may get skipped", speculation. –  Dukeling Feb 11 '13 at 12:31
    
@Manishearth: I have noticed that the number has risen again to 47.5k from <47k last week, which does suggest we're not getting through enough of them. –  Jon Egerton Feb 11 '13 at 12:32
    
@JonEgerton That is a short-term view. It goes up and down even during a day. Overall the trend is downward. –  Bart Feb 11 '13 at 12:33
    
@JonEgerton: Eh, it will fluctuate. A few weeks back it was >55k or something. The overall trend seems to be favorable, that's all we need. –  Manishearth Feb 11 '13 at 12:33
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“Pretty slow?” Compared to what, an active nuclear fission reaction? I’ve had lots, and lots and lots, and lots and lots and lots, of my close votes evaporate, so that when I go back to the question and it shows no close votes, it won’t let me close-vote again, saying that I’ve already voted to close that question. Did I mention lots and lots and lots and lots? –  tchrist Feb 11 '13 at 12:51
    
@Manishearth "few weeks back it was >55k or something" well to be precise, close votes were at 55K a few (~4) months back, at Oct 18 '12 - as reported in Huge Close Votes review queue on SO –  gnat Feb 11 '13 at 14:06
    
@gnat: oh, oops. Still, my point holds :) –  Manishearth Feb 11 '13 at 14:08
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We're at 51k now, is it safe to say something needs to be done yet? –  Dukeling Apr 5 '13 at 21:19
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This answer is simply incorrect. –  George W Bush Apr 5 '13 at 21:55
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Downvote because it's not been reducing since then (since ~October). It's actually somewhat abhorrent this answer has 6 upvotes despite relying on an incorrect fact, I request you delete it and reanswer accurately. –  djechlin Apr 5 '13 at 22:38
    
@djechlin: Sorry. Stuff fluctuates. The fact remains that it has reduced by ~10k since it started. It went down to 40-something-k,and came back up, but it's still on a net decrease. Look, either way, the new posts are getting dealt with first. It's fine if some old posts get stuck at the bottom of the queue (and, btw, close votes expire in a couple of months). –  Manishearth Apr 6 '13 at 5:21
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@Manishearth I'm just wondering when "it fluctuates" turns into "it's increasing". I haven't seen it below 50k in a few weeks, which is +-7% up from when I posted this question. And, maybe it's just me, but it being that high looks bad and is demotivating to potential reviewers. –  Dukeling Apr 6 '13 at 13:34
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