Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I would like to see a soft-lock feature for 10k users. This can be considered a scaled-down version of Content Dispute lock available to diamond moderators (for the record, "mod lock" lasts for a week).

Purpose of proposed feature is, like that of other 10K-tools, as explained at respective privileges page:

assist our elected community moderators... in maintaining our community...

Programmers, and I suspect other sites too, has a number of questions roll through where the first presentation of the question is ... marginal at best. Some of the time, this is due to English as a second language issues, but in other cases there is a gem hidden within an otherwise off-topic or non-constructive question.

Due to the review queues, these questions quickly pick up close votes. And in most cases, I would say that's a good thing - the system is working as designed. However, it can be difficult to edit and clarify the questions worth saving before they have picked up a critical mass of close votes which almost guarantees the question's short-term fate. Oftentimes, I'll see a question worthy of clarifying but I won't have the time right then to edit and clarify.

Yes, I can always edit the question after it's closed and either vote to reopen or flag for moderator review. Reopening is hard as it just doesn't seem to attract the same level of attention despite the review queues. And it doesn't make sense to me that a community driven site should be pushing more work to the mods when there are a number of 10k users that can help carry that workload.

So I would like to request 10k+ users to be able to apply a soft-lock to buy the question time so it can be edited.

Here's what I'm envisioning with a soft-lock versus the regular lock a moderator can apply.

  • It's time-boxed to a day or so. A day is enough time for me to either make the edits; open the Meta question for discussion; or get a mod to review and apply a full lock.
  • The question can still be edited by 10k+ users during the soft-lock
  • An explanation field ("Soft-locked for clarifying edits") is available so other 10k users can see why the soft-lock was applied.
  • The soft-lock would prevent additional close votes from accumulating and / or would pull the question from the review queue.
  • The soft-lock could be instantly undone by a mod, the person applying the soft-lock, or some threshold of 10k user votes.
  • Whether or not new answers are fully blocked by the soft-lock is an open matter. I have seen some cases where they should have been blocked, but in other cases it wouldn't matter. When it's a hidden gem question then it's too easy for the answers to focus on the not-constructive part. At a minimum, the "protected question" functionality for answering should go into effect.
share|improve this question
I guess my only question is, how do you envision a closed question being any different from a soft lock question? And why would we want a means to allow one person to block a closure? – user7116 Mar 7 '13 at 15:00
So something like protection, but for the question itself rather than its set of answers? – AakashM Mar 7 '13 at 15:01
If you cast a reopen vote after the post is closed, it goes into another queue where it's very easy to get it reopened (if people find it worth reopening). This just seems like a lot of friction for closure – Ben Brocka Mar 7 '13 at 15:02
@sixlettervariables - once the soft-lock is removed, the closed vote count it had prior to the lock is re-instated. And it's then back to the community to review and keep (or not). It would not clear any close votes. Just pause the accumulation. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 15:02
@AakashM - yes, kind of like protection but with a much higher rep requirement – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 15:02
What about those questions after the lock expires? How to make sure someone handles them? – juergen d Mar 7 '13 at 15:03
@BenBrocka - yes, it's intentionally creating friction in the close process. In part because reopening is harder to have occur. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 15:03
@juergend - back into the queue it goes. If I fail to make the edits, then it's my bad and the question sees the fate it would have otherwise. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 15:04
I with Ben here, I have not noticed it being hard at all to reopen questions if they have clearly been edited to no longer be close-worthy, thanks in large part to the reopen queue. You just don't need to flag for a mod to get a post re-opened anymore. – Servy Mar 7 '13 at 15:09
@Servy - I don't claim that this is an SE wide issue; my experience is definitely limited to P.SE. If the soft-lock was available, it wouldn't have to be available for all SE sites. But I think that P.SE could benefit from it. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 15:15

There should be a review queue for these soft-locks so that they will be easy for someone with time to find them and deal with them. It should be restricted to 10ks or higher.

share|improve this answer
Or even 20k+ for the larger sites. – user7116 Mar 7 '13 at 15:00

once the soft-lock is removed, the closed vote count it had prior to the lock is re-instated. And it's then back to the community to review and keep (or not). It would not clear any close votes. Just pause the accumulation.

Anything that breaks the symmetry between closing and reopening is risky; close wars happen all the time. You've created a thing where one 10k user can just block close votes for an entire day because they think the question should stay open. Reopening posts isn't hard anymore now that they have a review queue; the SO reopen queue is currently empty, and it's had plenty of activity today. I see no reason to screw up close voting to fix a problem that doesn't seem to exist

share|improve this answer
I think the site's volume is a major factor for the relevance of this request; it doesn't sound like SO needs this at all. P.SE doesn't have the same volume as SO and it's a lot harder to get a question re-opened without mod intervention. I asked here on MSO about this request as MSO doubles as the Meta for all of SE as well as SO. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 15:53
From the sound of it the idea here is to close it for a day, rather than keep it open for a day. It makes it harder to close it permanently for that day, but at the same time, based on my understanding, it should prevent answers to the post during that time, thus effectively closing it for that day. – Servy Mar 7 '13 at 15:55
@Servy Well, it says "Whether or not new answers are fully blocked by the soft-lock is an open matter", but letting a 10k user single-handedly close the question doesn't seem great either, particularly when nobody can vote to reopen it – Michael Mrozek Mar 7 '13 at 16:03
@GlenH7 I can't see the PSE review history, but the reopen queue currently has 1 post in it, so I'm still not sure what the issue is – Michael Mrozek Mar 7 '13 at 16:04
@MichaelMrozek Yep, I don't think this is a good idea either, as I stated in my comment to the question itself. – Servy Mar 7 '13 at 16:04
@MichaelMrozek - my 5th bullet allows for an override of the soft-lock by high rep users. To me, that's an optional requirement as it increases level of effort to get it implemented. However, it would certainly be appropriate for SO. P.SE's review queue has items come through, but my impression is that the community is generally reluctant to reopen questions. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 16:07
@Servy and Michael - are you saying "not a good idea" for all of SE, or in particular for SO? I may have erred in opening on MSO instead of MP.SE because I may not fully understand MSO's scope. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 16:09
@GlenH7 Not a good idea in general. If you were having a problem with reopening questions because nobody sees them, that'd be one thing, but you're having a problem with people seeing them and voting to keep them closed -- it looks like you want this feature because you don't like that the community is voting to keep questions closed, so you want to block them from closing in the first place, which seems bad – Michael Mrozek Mar 7 '13 at 16:11
@MichaelMrozek - yes, it's the latter. I and others feel that there are some "serial close voters" who preferentially vote to close without really considering the question or if it could be edited and saved. Close votes also appear to have a snowball effect - after the first 3 the last 2 come in more rapidly. This is an attempt to interrupt that pattern and save some of those questions without putting more work on the mods. And no, I haven't generated the data to back up those feelings about voting, which is perhaps where I should focus next. – GlenH7 Mar 7 '13 at 16:16
@GlenH7 You shouldn't keep a question open just because it has the potential to be edited into a savable position. If the question should be closed as is, then you should vote to close. If it gets closed, and then edited into a position in which it shouldn't remain closed, it should be reopened. Rather than trying to stop content that should be closed from being closed, perhaps investigated if, and if so, why, content that should be reopened isn't being reopened, and look at way of addressing that more directly. – Servy Mar 7 '13 at 17:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .