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The review queue for close votes is very large, currently just below 54k (!) questions to review. This means that up to 200k votes have to be cast to empty this queue. At the current limit of 50 reviews per day this means 4000 reviewers going to their limits. Also, according to this meta question, 1000 are flagged each day.

I have gained the privilege to review close votes only recently, and decided to give it a try. However, I was discouraged when I was presented questions that were last active months ago, with four close votes. Those could be, in my opinion, closed automatically, without human intervention. I wonder if it would be possible to relax the conditions under which a question is closed if it reaches a certain age (=time since last activity). This could substantially prune the review queue, thus encouraging more participation from potential reviewers.

Your thoughts?

EDIT: Missed 26,000 questions have close votes, now what?, but now it's even more :-)

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Related:… – Oded May 31 '13 at 13:28
Welcome to close vote privilege, at times I found questions from 2011 !!! – Anoop Vaidya May 31 '13 at 13:32
Or is there a way to look up those with 4 close votes so we can manually clear those up? – Antony May 31 '13 at 14:01
"200k votes" = 200 golden Steward badges. These badges are dead easy to obtain if one filters queue correctly. We've got 200 golden badges laying in front of about 10,000 eligible users, badges that could be obtained by spending 10-20 minutes daily for less than a month (1000 review actions, limited by 40 per day -> 25 days). Why doesn't this happen? – gnat May 31 '13 at 14:20
@gnat: To me, keeping a place neat and tidy is a much larger incentive than eventually getting a golden badge. 0 is tidy. 5 means "I can clean it up myself". 500 is like "Now I throw in some effort, and with the help of a few others we'll clean this place". 50k means "No, this place is messy, and with no amount of time I invest this will ever change". – krlmlr May 31 '13 at 14:28
@krlmlr well I have 5x more reviews than badge requires, meaning I am in it not for badges. And I think I have about 0 failed audits (mods can check if I missed here), meaning I do that job fairly well. And, what is important, I spend very little effort on that (5-10 min/day). That makes me wonder, why is it that other reviewers can't do that, even motivated by golden badges? – gnat May 31 '13 at 14:50
@gnat It takes me much longer to evaluate the questions. So to spend 40 close votes in the queue, adding in the skipped posts, make it something like an hour and a half. I don't have too much drive to spend that much time in the review queue (and I vote to close more from the 10K tools, sadly those don't count for the badge). – Daniel Fischer May 31 '13 at 14:59
@DanielFischer your approach is also reasonable, I work like that at Programmers (where I barely crossed Steward because it's hard). That takes much effort (and no filtering by the way), and I understand both why some users prefer it, as well as why others prefer to abstain, fine. My point is, at SO there is also an easy option; why isn't it popular? Once again, there are 200 easy badges, 10,000 eligible users and so little progress, how comes? – gnat May 31 '13 at 15:23

Just because something is in the close votes queue doesn't mean that it needs to be closed. I think people are losing sight of the forest for the trees here, and focusing on driving that number down without thinking about why questions should and should not be closed.

This is one of the reasons why audits were recently added to the close votes queue, because there was a large number of folks who voted to close 99-100% of everything they saw there. I had to reopen a number of good questions that got closed with four votes from that queue simply because they had the bad luck of having an initial vote cast against them.

We may get a large number of close vote flags, but that does not mean those flags are all correct. There's a reason why we have oversight in the form of requiring five votes to close something. As a moderator, I'm hesitant to cast my lone binding close vote in all but the most obvious cases, and it sounds like we're going to be offloading even more of those close vote flags to the community soon.

Making close vote flags automatically close posts would lead to abuse, and I think it's bad idea.

If we're really concerned about the size of the close vote queue, I suggest making "leave open" votes on review items carry as much weight as close votes. This would allow people to counteract incorrect close votes much faster than we can now. Currently, it takes a number of "leave open" votes to actually remove something from the queue, so people find it much faster to simply vote to close everything, even if the questions don't really deserve to be closed.

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