Often in the 10K queue I'll see a question with 3 or even 4 flags for low quality, but with zero close votes.

My understanding is that after I vote to close, all those flags get dismissed as helpful, and the question is no longer flagged, thereby removing it from the queue. In the above example, assuming my understanding is correct, the question is likely to sit around with one close vote even though it's clearly pretty bad.

Should some fraction of those flags get converted into close votes? Possibly 2:1? So if a question had 4 flags, and I respond with a vote to close, the question would get my vote, plus two more generated by the 4 flags?

I do understand that once I cast my vote to close the question will enter the close queue, but pretty far down on the list. Why not expedite the removal of crap?

  • One issue to think about with this is that it is imbalanced - non-mods can't dismiss the flags and you can't vote NOT to close, so it's biased towards closing.
    – JNK
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:19
  • 1
    Interesting idea. I would say it should require something like (closeVotes >= 2 && flags >= 2*(5-closeVotes)) || flags >= 15, to increase the requirements if no "real" close voters agree.
    – user154510
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:21
  • @JNK - I can throw up an invalid flag flag if I think the flags are bogus. Wouldn't that send all those flags into disputed status? Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:21
  • @AdamRackis - it would I think, but how would you want it to be handled then? Basically one 10k user can block a multitude of close votes or create them based on flags?
    – JNK
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:22
  • @Matthew - I'd agree with that. Or you could just put a hard ceiling—say, 3—on the number of close votes generated from flags. Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:23
  • @AdamRackis No, that doesn't dismiss the flags. It just sets the outcome to "disputed" when they do get dismissed.
    – a cat
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:24
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    @JNK - Well currently nothing happens from the flags except the flagger gets a little closer to deputy. The above would only add a bit more force to accepted flags. Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:24
  • The hard limit could work too. Disputed flags could just not be counted in the calculation, it's not worse than the current behavior (not counting any flags at all).
    – user154510
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:25
  • @lunboks - so if I throw up an invalid flag flag, the moderator can still come along and dismiss the original flag as helpful? (that would make sense to me) Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:25
  • @AdamRackis Moderators can still dismiss them either way, but they can't override you (i.e., it'll still be disputed no matter what the moderator does). They can send a message, though, if they decline the flags.
    – a cat
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


My understanding is that after I vote to close, all those flags get dismissed as helpful, and the question is no longer flagged

This is correct. However, it's not as if the close request is hidden afterwards. Anyone who can see flags, can also see statistics for live close votes. Flags are meant to point it out to people from those who don't have the capacity to flag, but once you have people that have the capacity to flag, it's essentially a different place to look. One might consider some method of condensing the two groups (and indeed, there have been suggestions to that effect), but that's getting distracted.

Converting flags straight into close votes would present some measure of conflict for information and understanding the system. As it stands, we have a hard and simple rule when it comes to community action - it takes 5 votes from users with at least 3000 reputation to close a question. Any deviation from this is because a moderator stepped in.

In order to convert the votes, you'd have to do one of two things on the displayed close message:

  • Attribute the close votes to the sub-3000 users who flagged it, which betrays the reputation requirement.
  • Attribute the extra close votes to the first voter, which betrays the requirement of 5 voters.

This makes the entire close system suspect and brings in a lot more confusion - nevermind that X number of users with as little as 15 reputation (and thus, likely, little to no field experience) would be able to close questions as long as there was at least one 3000 user that agreed. In essence, this one 3000 user is getting the voice that otherwise requires multiple 3000 users. Thus you're not just empowering the lower reputations, but also the 3000 reputation users are being empowered. It breaks the hierarchy established by having reputation limits.

Remember that 3000 users are also the only ones who can properly mark a question for reopening - you can't even flag to mechanically reopen (as there are no prebaked messages for reopening). To keep the balance between closing and reopening, anyone who can close must be able to reopen. This is why allowing sub-3000 users to mechanically contribute to the closure is not feasible. At best, they should be able to point it out to those who can do the job - and the current flag mechanism works off of that.


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