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This question is about to be closed again and I think people will re-open it again once it's closed. (I will vote to re-open it again!) You can wonder if it's programming-related or not, but in a way, it is, in my opinion. If you want to write programs for low-powered systems, keeping track of energy usage is important, thus the Q is valid, although borderline.

Still, it shows the endless loop that can occur when people open-close-open-close-open-close-open-close-open-close-open-close-open-close-open-close-etc questions. Can we do something about this? (E.g. lock the open/close vote)

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

I think you should be able to vote to reopen once a single close vote is cast. This would negate that close vote, resetting the close count back to zero. This way we can have the "war" without the post actually closing and reopening. If there are that many more people who want the post closed, they will win - just as soon as they defeat the reopeners.

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I'm sure many users support this suggestion. It has been appeared and discussed before on meta. – xmm0 Oct 9 '09 at 14:53
This would have the benefit of allowing new answers while the "war" is still ongoing. It's often the presence (or absence) of good answers that sway my opinion in these things. – Bill the Lizard Oct 9 '09 at 14:55
It would also give a sense of finality to things: you could make it so you can't cast re-open votes once a question is finally closed, except perhaps moderators. Then it's closed once and done. Personally though, I think they should remove all the close reasons except "duplicate" and "belongs on X", and use regular voting to control it instead. – Joel Coehoorn Oct 9 '09 at 15:11
@Joel - I disagree with making closed final. In some cases the votes may be spread out over time. A gang of closers could quickly crush a question, allowing no chance of reopening without a mod. – user27414 Oct 9 '09 at 15:16
I disagree with the entire idea: a gang of contrarians could effectively hold a question open long enough for it to fall out of sight, making closing much more difficult. IMHO, duplicates already stay open far too long in many cases. Joel hints at this, i think... the voting system already works this way, yet only the very worst questions stay below 0 for long if at all... – Shog9 Oct 9 '09 at 15:22
Th "contested" questions would then just be switching even more often between open and closed, since every single vote up or down could switch the state if the question is at the zero score "border" between open and closed. – sth Oct 28 '09 at 19:58
@sth - The question wouldn't close until a close count of 5 was reached, and wouldn't reopen until 5 reopens were cast. The whole idea is to make it harder to change the state of the question without sufficient momentum. – user27414 Oct 28 '09 at 21:22
@Shog9 This is what democracy looks like. Question should only be closed if number of people wishing to close is significantly greater than number of people wishing to keep it open, unless a moderator intervenes. – MarkJ Feb 15 '10 at 12:39

I can think of several ways to stop the war - I doubt any would be to your liking... at the moment it is sat closed, and I'm content with that as a community decision - but if it "kicks off", it is more likely to be deleted than anything else. It isn't really a programming question, and by definition if it causes unnecessary angst, it is a problem to the site. Problems get... fixed ;-p

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Marc Gravell: The Fixer. – user27414 Oct 9 '09 at 17:11
There are some coworkers that need fixing. Could I call you later? – perbert Oct 9 '09 at 18:58
I've been advised by "legal" not to delete real people. No more, that is - it is getting harder (read: more expensive) to explain. – Marc Gravell Oct 9 '09 at 19:44

That's called a "close war." It's kinda fun. Participate in it :)

In this specific case, I have yet to see a "war." It's just closed a couple times. I consider this post a sneaky method to attract re-open votes ;)

By the way, theoretically, since you can't cast a close/reopen vote on a single question more than once, pigeonhole principle states that it'll eventually end.

My personal opinion regarding the validity of the post: While power conservation is related to programming, I doubt this specific post relates at all to conserving power in software. It's merely a physics question stated vaguely. At best, it's related to hardware design, not programming.

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Should the question then be moved to say rather than closed? – mlk Oct 9 '09 at 15:22
mlk: It depends on your definition of If you consider it a "trash bin" for all not-programming-related and not-it-related questions from SO and SF, then probably yes. However,'s official definition does not accept this question, IMHO. – xmm0 Oct 9 '09 at 15:24
Really, I it sounds superuser-y to me (a general computery question). But then I don't visit SU all that often. – mlk Oct 9 '09 at 15:47

in a way, it is, in my opinion

And in a way, it's not, in that it doesn't ask a programming question. This is borne out by the answers, including your own. It's very sad that, rather than encouraging the poor confused asker to visit a site dedicated to explaining this subject, some users have instead attempted to keep the topic alive on SO (and, near as I can tell, further confuse the guy).

Can we do something about this? (E.g. lock the open/close vote)

No. But if you have a good reason why that should happen, you can ask a moderator to lock it. As Mehrdad notes, this can't go on forever - we only get one open and close vote per question now.

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Again, that's your opinion... Don't try to make it personal by mentioning why I would like this specific Q to be open. Focus on how to resolve this "close war" from getting worse! I can have all the worst reasons to keep a Q open, while you can have bad reasons to close it. That just doesn't matter, since it's a war that needs to be ended, not opinions. – Wim ten Brink Oct 17 '10 at 13:51
@Work: We "ended it" by deleting the question. Is that what you were looking for? If your only concern was seeing the "war" come to an end, then this solution satisfied your needs. But that's not the impression I got from reading your question here: you seemed frustrated that your vote could be overridden, not that your vote could override someone else's. Which makes it all a matter of opinion... To achieve an end wherein the question stayed open, you need to make a compelling argument in favor of your opinion, not just assert that you have one. That isn't a technical problem... – Shog9 Oct 17 '10 at 16:15
Yep, deleting the Q is one solution. But it's a dirty way to end a debate about the validity of a question, and is always in favor of those who wanted it to be closed. Everyone can express opinions but when opinions don't match, you get these kinds of battles. And with opinions, no one is right. It's all just a matter of opinions. The thing I dislike is that those who vote to close ultimately end up having a stronger vote than those who want to keep it open. – Wim ten Brink Oct 18 '10 at 10:20
@Work: Keeping a question open is, in general, far easier than closing it. And that's ok - much as I hate saying it, the present closing system works poorly as a quick "don't respond while this is being discussed/fixed" status, and therefore should be avoided for these situations. It's the edge cases that end up frustrating, questions that at first glance seem like they should be on- or off-topic, but... appear differently to different readers. So you make your argument, cast your vote, and move on to something else. – Shog9 Oct 18 '10 at 14:36

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