It's recently been mentioned in some chat conversations that low-reputation close flags are given too high an importance for moderators and should be directed to the community instead. It's been suggested that on Stack Overflow, close flags should go to the 10k queue rather than the mod queue (this may in fact already be implemented).

While I don't entirely disagree with this, I think it only speaks to one head of a two-headed problem. The more pressing issue - especially on Stack Exchange sites, as opposed to the trilogy - is that close votes don't reach the moderators often enough.

On a site like Programmers.SE, for instance, where there are still a lot of historical questions that need to be cleaned up or closed - it's almost pointless to cast a close vote because no one will ever see it. Better to just flag for moderator attention and not waste your vote (and get some of those lovely flag weight points while you're at it).

One suggestion was to have the first close vote on a question automatically generate a mod flag. This was fairly criticized as creating more work where there should be less. However, the basic principle of the idea makes sense; diamond moderators and privileged users should have some way to be aware of new close votes, just in case the rest of community isn't pulling its weight.

So a better (IMO) proposal is to turf the near-useless "10k tools" close/delete pages and integrate their content into /review. This would give moderators (as well as privileged users) the ability to review close votes, on sites that need it (such as P.SE), without forcing them into an unwanted workflow on sites that don't (such as Stack Overflow). This also has the advantages of:

  • Showing an excerpt and tags along with the question titles;
  • Reducing overall clutter (the 10k page is pretty noisy with all its sections);
  • Displaying many more questions at once (/tools seems to have a max of 30, expanded);
  • Giving a realistic indication of how much material there actually is to get through;
  • Embedding action links (e.g. flag/close/delete);
  • Seamless integration of close votes and close flags in a meaningful area;
  • Generally giving reviewers the feeling that they're actually making progress.

It would also be incredibly useful if moderators in particular could dismiss questions from the closed/deleted review just like they can dismiss flags, in effect saying "I don't care, let the community handle this one."

Questions would appear in the closed/deleted review page after the first close vote occurs, and then sorted either by the time of that vote or by the total number of votes (or both). Dismissing (if implemented) would dismiss it permanently, ignoring any new votes, until the question is closed or reopened. Straightforward process with minimal noise.

Bottom line: I think that the /review pages encapsulate a pretty good workflow, and it's a shame that critically-important information is still being jammed into the old /tools clunker when we already have something so much better. My responsibilities as a moderator and/or a 10k user would be a whole lot easier if I could review close and delete votes through /review.

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    Would dismissing a question from review make it disappear for everyone or just moderators? I don't think either would be a good idea. Best to make dismissals per-user or unavailable entirely - whatever the current (or future) behaviour of other items on the review pages is. – Adam Lear Nov 1 '11 at 4:14
  • @AnnaLear: I was thinking it would be per-user. – Aarobot Nov 1 '11 at 13:23
  • partially complete, still need to think through re-open / delete – waffles Nov 14 '11 at 5:24
  • @AnnaLear dismissal of close is only per user ... – waffles Nov 14 '11 at 5:43
  • @waffles That's cool. I wasn't sure what Aarobot was originally proposing. – Adam Lear Nov 14 '11 at 6:46
  • @waffles Maybe "dismissal of close" by lots of users that have voted to close in the past should remove from review list. – Ian Ringrose Nov 14 '11 at 13:11
  • @waffles: Feel free to add an answer - I know that this doesn't take care of reopen/delete, but closing is probably the biggest chunk of the problem - and if you extend the feature later then just edit the answer. I'd like for people who come across this question to know the history and the solution. – Aarobot Nov 14 '11 at 13:24
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    @waffles Is that delete tab not going to happen or is it merely deferred? – a cat Feb 6 '12 at 14:20