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On low-traffic tags, a bad question may pick up one or two close votes, but simply hasn't been viewed by very many people with the close-vote privilege.

So, after 4 days, the close votes expire, and SO remains cluttered with poor questions.

Possible examples which all meet one or more close reasons:

Q#5037300, Q#6015594, Q#3315186, Q#4546611, Q#6543834, Q#6444752

Also a good chunk of these Google results probably could be closed.

Note that this phenomenon can also cause undo "churn" and fallback to the flagging system.

For example, see What Happened Here? Voted to Close 4 Days Ago, but No Close Votes Today? (and similar questions)...

  1. A user notes a question that needs closing, votes to close it, and then later notices that the evil question has escaped justice.

  2. The user then opens a question on Meta and/or fires off a few flags.

  3. Only after lots of community involvement and moderator intervention is the bad question closed.

Proposed solution:

Close votes (and probably reopen votes) only expire after all of these conditions are met:

  1. 4 days have passed since the last close vote.

  2. The question has received 100 views. (Note that the 6 example questions were viewed: 64, 54, 95, 121, 56, and 50 times, respectively, before this question was posted.)

  3. The question was viewed by, say, 20 people who had the close-vote privilege.

share|improve this question
kind of strange that we allow a 7 and 30 day time range here: – waffles Jul 6 '11 at 2:51
@waffles: I (¿and probably all non-mod users?) cannot see that link. Perhaps a description and/or screenshot for us plebes? – Awesome Poodles Jul 6 '11 at 3:00
It's a page that shows all pending close votes, recently closed and recently re-opened. – random Jul 6 '11 at 3:25
@brock the link waffles posted is a 10k privilege – Jeff Atwood Jul 6 '11 at 10:29
see also… – Ian Ringrose Jul 6 '11 at 11:22
@Ian Ringrose: Thanks, I swear I searched for similar questions before posting. I would have linked to yours if I'd found it. – Awesome Poodles Jul 6 '11 at 11:34
This is only a partial solution for uncommon tags. First of all, uncommon tags have less persons that have access to moderator tools, so 5 votes are really required. Second, there are far fewer people that look at the questions, let alone cast close votes. This means that we now have a huge backlog of questions waiting to be closed, and questions that really need to be closed are not actually closed. And they need to be closed, just saying that there are less people interested in the question so it does not need to be closed is a terrible, horrible argument. PS did vote UP. – Maarten Bodewes Jan 3 '13 at 18:47
up vote 51 down vote accepted

Brock, this is GENIUS!

I am hereby using my super-upvote on this :

Close votes (and probably reopen votes) only expire after all of these conditions are met:

  1. 4 days have passed since the last close vote.

  2. The question has more than 100 views.

(#3 is kind of impossible to implement, and anyway, I think these two changes are huge.)

share|improve this answer
Am I right to assume that it is "more then 100 view since the last close vote"? – Ian Ringrose Jul 6 '11 at 11:20
@ian no, it is 100 views period; we don't track views over time, views is literally an i++ counter. – Jeff Atwood Jul 6 '11 at 11:37
@Jeff, you could put the "current view count" as well the the date on the "vote to close" record when a vote is cast. – Ian Ringrose Jul 6 '11 at 12:29

I seriously support 2. and 3. They are genuinely good suggestions. If we need to flag, then what are close votes for? No offence to @Robert Harvey.

share|improve this answer
#3 is actually not that great of a suggestion (even it was easily implementable, which it isn't); just because 10 users with 3k rep viewed the question doesn't mean those 10 users know or care about how to cast close votes -- or are even paying attention. – Jeff Atwood Jul 6 '11 at 8:17

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