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On our food beta, for instance, there are currently less than 20 users with sufficient reputation to close questions. Since the beta went public, there have been several new users and questions - which is of course mostly a good thing! - but some of them don't appear to have paid much attention to any of the Area 51 definition questions, the meta chatter, or the proposed FAQ thread, and are asking questions that have almost unanimously been declared off-topic.

Unfortunately, with so few people able to "moderate", compared to the shortened duration for questions staying on the front page, it's almost impossible to get a question closed because too few people actually see it. And obviously none of us have the "closed questions" link because that requires a much higher rep, even in beta.

I propose that close votes take a full 5 days to age away during public betas until there are no fewer than 50 users with close privileges.

It's unreasonable to expect just 15 people to all visit the site and open the same questions within a 48-hour period when questions no longer stay on the front page that long. However, these questions do get bumped, so if the aging period were temporarily extended, then I think it would help a great deal in letting the community work its magic.

Alternatively, you could provide access to the close votes link in the 10k tools. With such a small number of community "moderators", I don't see how it could hurt, and it would make it easier for people who visit fewer than 10 times a day to find close candidates.

Thoughts?

P.S. I'm hearing that the aging period is actually 4 days, and that's what it says in the FAQ, but I'm almost positive I've seen one or two votes age on questions that are only 2 days old. If it turns out I'm hallucinating, I'll just delete the question, but regardless, we need to do something to make it easier to close questions during the betas.

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Is only 1 extra day going to be enough? I would think that once a question goes off the front page, the number of subsequent views goes way down. Did you consider proposing that the number of close votes it takes to close a question be reduced? –  Jon Seigel Jul 18 '10 at 17:41
    
@Jon: What do you mean 1 extra day - it's 5 days vs. 2 days? As I mentioned, these questions do get bumped (either for editing or retagging or because they're polls and thus easy), so they will eventually get seen, but maybe not for a day or two. I'd be in favour of reducing the close vote requirement too, but somehow I just didn't think that the team would go for it. –  Aarobot Jul 18 '10 at 17:52
    
Close votes normally decay after 4 days... unless that is different on the Stack Exchange betas? (I could be wrong -- I haven't participated in any of the betas yet.) Regardless, I do support making it easier to close questions -- with a much smaller user base than, say, SO, it makes sense to make moderation more accessible. –  Jon Seigel Jul 18 '10 at 17:56
    
@Jon: That is what it says in the FAQ, you're right, but it sure looked like they were aging after 2 days, and I could swear I heard Jeff or one of the team members recently say 2 days... –  Aarobot Jul 18 '10 at 18:01
    
I just searched Meta using every method I know of (mods' recent activity pages, by tags, by text in both questions and answers), but I couldn't find any reference to a 2 day decay period for close votes. Not saying you didn't see that, but I can't find a reference. –  Jon Seigel Jul 18 '10 at 18:21
    
@Jon: Well, there's here, although that's obviously not the authoritative answer. –  Aarobot Jul 18 '10 at 18:53

2 Answers 2

If there are three (or even two in extremis) close votes on a post and they are in danger of expiring why don't the sites mods step in and cast the final vote?

Having 2 or 3 regular names before the moderator's shows that it's still a community decision.

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This is all well and good, but as a rule, the sites I'm referring to don't have moderators. The temp mods generally don't get chosen until about a month in, and elections don't happen until the end of the public beta. On Cooking, the pro tems were selected on July 29th; I posted this on July 18th when the situation was already starting to get out of control (we fixed it, but it wasn't easy). –  Aarobot Sep 16 '10 at 20:02
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Not that I blame you for missing that; so much has happened since I first asked this question, I really need to clean it up because half of it makes no sense anymore... –  Aarobot Sep 16 '10 at 20:06
    
@Aarobot - perhaps the call should be for the Pro Tem mods to be chosen more quickly - but then there's no time for people to formulate a view on who'd be good at the job. –  ChrisF Sep 16 '10 at 20:20

Could it be made so that users who fulfilled their commitment keep their close votes for the duration of the public beta?

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