Currently users get a single re-open vote for the lifetime of a question, and that re-open vote will expire in 4 days. This 4-day limit can be extended if someone else votes to re-open within that 4 days, however this only resets the 4-day timer and once it expires, all votes expire at a rate of 1-per-day.

I find this makes it extremely hard to get a question re-opened on other SE sites. The smaller sites aren't like SO: you can't post on meta and expect a large number of 3K+ users to see your question, review it, and hopefully vote to re-open with you.

To add to my frustration, I am usually on Programmers.SE, where the site scope changed rather dramatically after the site was initially launched. It switched from being focused on programmers, to being focused on software development, and question standards and on-topic definitions became much stricter. The end result is a large number of good questions/answers got closed because they are written in a way that was on-topic a year or two ago, but are defined as off-topic, not-constructive, or too much like a poll now.

I made some attempts at editing some questions to bring them on-topic to salvage them, but I am having an extremely hard time getting questions re-opened. Most of the moderators seem to prefer to sit back and let the community decide if a question should be re-opened or not, however I am finding it extremely difficult to find 3k+ rep users who are active and have not already voted to re-open some of these questions in the past.

I've been a member of SE sites sites for almost two years, and have over 30k rep between sites, however I wasn't aware of the limitations on re-open votes until I saw another question with re-open votes and went to add mine, only to be told I had already voted to re-open the question in the past. If I had been aware of these limitations, I would have saved my reopen votes for when I see an actual effort made to re-open a question in meta, even though I don't think that's the correct way to use your re-open votes.

So please, can the smaller SE sites get one of the following added:

  • Ability to recast re-open votes once all reopen votes have expired - This would probably be my preferred choice

  • Ability to view total re-open vote counts on a question in SE data explorer - This could assist mods in seeing how many re-open votes a question has actually gotten, so we don't have to rely on getting five 3K+ rep users who haven't voted on the question before to all vote within a few days of each other.

  • An increased amount of time until re-open votes expire. SO has at about 35x the number of active users with re-open privileges than P.SE (which has a decent sized user base), so 35x4 would be 140 days. I realize this may seem to be an unreasonably large # of days on SO, so perhaps 30 days can be considered. The smaller sites get way less traffic than SO, and I have never seen an older question get re-opened by the community. I have seen a handful of new ones get re-opened by 5 votes (I could count on one hand the times I've seen this happen in the past 2 years), but I've never seen older ones reopened by the community.

  • Change the 100-views requirement before reopen votes expire to be 100 views since the first re-open vote was cast. It would be preferred if they could be 100 views by people who have the ability to re-open the question. All this would really need is a field to store the current view count that gets populated when the first re-open vote gets cast, and only make votes expire if questionViews - countWhenReopenCast > 100

  • Lower the number of votes required to reopen questions. This might not be such a bad idea, both for reopen and close votes. I was just realizing that a large percentages of our questions get closed by moderators, so perhaps having a lower vote requirement would reduce the amount of work our moderators have to do and allow the community to feel more involved. I would much rather see a question closed by members of the community instead of 0-3 members of the community + 1 mod.

I want to be clear that I do not want to change anything on SO. The current rules seem fine for SO.

Instead, I'd like to change things on the smaller sites, where I find it extremely hard to reopen a question without getting a moderator involved, and the moderators often prefer to defer to the community on questions they aren't sure of.

  • 3
    Note that the difficulty of re-opening is identical to the difficulty of closing in the first place. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:09
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    @dmckee I would disagree. If a question has less than 100 views, the votes don't expire. Re-open votes are almost always cast on questions that have over 100 views, while close votes are frequently cast on questions with less than 100 views, so the time at which the expiration timer starts is frequently different between open and close votes. Also, that is definitely not the case on P.SE where moderators are very active in closing questions.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:18
  • 4
    I'm wondering if this could be fixed by properly scaled privileges. Android struggled mightily after public beta ended because all our top users suddenly had fewer privileges, and we're only starting to regain our footing now (1 year after launch). If privileges were scaled to the size of the site, an appropriate portion of users would be able to act on this sort of thing.
    – user154510
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:43
  • 2
    @Rachel That is offset by the fact that questions start off in the open state. Further, that merely gives you a lot more time to add comments to questions with close votes to convince others not to add their close vote to the question. Again, you're going to have to convince the community that the questions add value - making it harder for them to close them isn't going to solve the root problem. The same people will still try to close the same questions, and raising the bar isn't going to have a large enough effect, unless you do so in a lopsided manner.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:48
  • 1
    @AdamDavis A very large number of questions on P.SE get closed by a single moderator vote, and that is what lead to the frustration over getting questions reopened and this question. I would not mind so much if the question was closed by 5 community members, however this is not usually the case.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:55
  • 3
    Rachel, you might want to have a look at this comment discussion
    – sbi
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:35
  • 1
    "you can't post on meta and expect a large number of 3K+ users to see your question, review it, and hopefully vote to re-open with you" Why not? Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:50
  • @CodyGray I was referring to P.SE meta, and possibly other smaller SE site metas. P.SE meta only has a handful of active users on meta with over 3K rep, and I could probably list the names of most of them without looking them up. I'd estimate there's less than 10 users I see on meta on a regular basis who are not moderators.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:56
  • 1
    @sbi That question further shows my argument. The fact that moderators have to step in and close so many questions means the community is not doing their job. I have seen many users work at closing/reopening questions, so I do not believe it is due to lazy users, but instead think it is because the site rules make it rather hard for smaller communities to self-moderate themselves. I believe lower-traffic SE sites should have lower standards for closing/reopening questions than StackOverflow.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:02
  • 3
    Out of curiosity, what is it that suggests to you that the community elected moderators are wrong, and the community is wrong, but you are right about the questions you believe should remain open?
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:12
  • @Rachel: Of course this supports your argument. That's why I was pointing it out to you. :)
    – sbi
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:28
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    @AdamDavis It is not any one particular question, but rather a chain of questions. Moderators encourage users to make edits to questions, praise the edits, but then decide to let the community decide if the question should be re-opened or not. Sometimes it is true that I am in the wrong, but I do not believe that I have been wrong every single time. As I said before, I have never seen an older question re-opened by 5 community members. Our user base is much smaller than SO, so we don't have the same number of active users in such a short timeframe that SO has.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:33
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    In addition, I will sometimes go to vote to re-open a question that already has votes, only to discover I have already voted at some point in the past so can not contribute to the current effort to reopen a question. This makes me feel like my hands are tied because I voted to re-open something without making a big fuss over it, and it is preventing me from taking part in someone else's effort to re-open the question.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:36
  • 1
    @Rachel Then I'll suggest one further tactic. If the question as-is was bad, and your experience is that it won't be re-opened once edited, then submit a new question that is correctly on-topic, well written, and move on. It will gain answers that are just as good as any answers on the older question, it will remain open, and it can't be closed as duplicate of a closed question. There will be some that may frown on this practice, but even they should agree that either this acceptable question should remain open if it's on-topic, or the old one should be reopened.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:40
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    @Ben: She says the mods aren't particularly interested in doing this: "Most of the moderators seem to prefer to sit back and let the community decide if a question should be re-opened or not" Now, one could certainly argue that if the community is not doing it, or not able to do it, then the mods should step in. But presumably this isn't happening. This has been a recurring theme in complaints regarding Programmers. As Jon Ericson suggests, the problem is that Programmers is made up of an audience of people with very different ideas/expectations for the site's scope. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:02

5 Answers 5


As a participant on a range of smaller sites, I don't find it difficult to reopen rehabilitated questions. All of Adam Davis' advice works for me—especially asking meta-questions. Reopening can take a day or two, but so does closing. On a small site, the process relies more on social interaction than on the mechanics of the site, since you have to rally support to obtain enough interested people. It's actually a pleasant thing that I suppose will be lost as the sites grow.

Which is to say, Programmers.SE is not a small site. It's the fourth largest stack with 43k users. That's the size of a small city!

If users aren't participating on meta, you've got really serious problems. Meta is your city council and policies like what sort of questions ought to be closed are decided there. If the group of meta-participants agree on a policy and they can't implement it, then the StackExchange engine should be fiddled with. If your moderators have clear marching orders about which questions to close and which questions to reopen, I suspect the problem will go away.

It sounds like Programmers is going through a period of social upheaval. If so, this isn't really a good time to change the underlying system mechanics.

To give you a taste of how the process works in a site with a few thousand users (the size of a town), here's how things normally go down:

  1. Someone asks a potentially close-worthy question.

  2. One of the usual suspects notices it and writes a comment explaining why they think it should be closed.

  3. If the commentor is also a ♦ moderator, they will usually ask for consensus by other users either in the comments, on meta, or in chat. Otherwise, they will vote to close.

  4. If consensus is reached, the question will be closed. Normally, the ♦ moderator will just do it to save time, but sometimes there are enough community votes to do the trick.

  5. If someone has pity on the asker and fixes the question (surprisingly common) or the asker fixes it themselves, the change will be noted where ever the original discussion took place and a new round of consensus building takes place.

  6. Nearly anytime a question is fixed up in good faith, the community will agree to reopen. Again, ♦ moderators will expedite the process if it seems like consensus is reached.

That's about it. Questions are normally left clearly open or clearly closed after the discussions in the comment, meta or chat. There might be a dissenter or two, but we move on with our lives.

Sometimes it will become clear to a participant that the community is not being shaped the way they hoped. That's not fun, but they usually figure out that the weight of the community's opinion is against them and move on to another place to ask their questions. The more active you are on meta, the better your odds that you will become part of the community.

(There's an on-going example of the process on Christianity.SE meta. I'm not sure how it'll turn out, but I think it's an example of a healthy site government.)

  • 4
    Great points all around, especially "the process relies more on social interaction than on the mechanics" and "a period of social upheaval...isn't really a good time to change the underlying system mechanics."
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:46
  • I think you may be correct. This might be a problem that is related to the site's community rather than the site's size. I just assumed it was related to the site's size compared to SO, however I have not participated a lot in other sites, so will defer to other user's opinion in this. Thank you.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:00
  • @Rachel: To be fair, SO is an order of magnitude larger than the next biggest stack. At ~1 million users, it's a large city. So there will be different problems there compared to everywhere else. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:05
  • @JonEricson Just to clarify, when you said you don't find it difficult to reopen questions, do you mean you don't have trouble getting a moderator to reopen the question, or that you don't have trouble getting 5 community members to cast a reopen vote?
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:26
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    Excellent answer. @Rachel, I've said this same thing several times on Programmers' meta. If you open a discussion on a specific question, present your rationale for why it should be re-opened, and it stays closed... Then the community simply doesn't want it. There are more than enough users on Programmers, including those who regularly visit meta, to re-open stuff they want. You saw this work on one of your own questions just yesterday.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:34
  • 1
    @Shog9 No, the question that I got re-opened yesterday was re-opened because I flagged a moderator who happened to agree with me. My meta question about it was downvoted and got very little attention, and the mod who answered there concluded that it was off-topic, and that "The advice is the same for every creative desk job, the question is blatantly off topic". And I disagree: there are not enough active/interested meta users on P.SE to get questions re-opened by the community.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:41
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    @Rachel: I can tell you that there are more than enough regular meta users on Programmers.SE. If they don't agree with your reasoning, that's beside the point. FWIW, it was one normal user and one moderator who closed the question, and the same re-opening it (plus you) - that doesn't really indicate much of a consensus either way.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:52
  • 1
    @Rachel: I updated my answer to show the usual process. To be honest, that's roughly how things worked on SO when I was active there as well. It sort of sounds like Programmers.SE is not the best use of your time... Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 21:15
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    @JonEricson Thank you. P.SE used to be a great use of my time as I could learn so much from it related to the soft skills a programmer should have, however it is slowly becoming a drain on my time and energy (not to mention my sanity). It's a shame, because it was a great site before they changed it's direction.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 21:18
  • 2
    @JonEricson I would be careful about sizing P.SE on User Count since its a migration target. Except for #of Answers its ranked lower than fourth (e.g questions/day, vists/day, #of questions etc.) Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 22:12

Most of these ideas have already been proposed at one time or another. Their merits will continue to be discussed and they may be implemented if truly needed.

I must dispute your premise that rushing to implement one of them is necessary, that the system makes it entirely too hard to re-open questions currently. Even on the smallest sites, we see questions getting re-opened when there's an honest effort made to dispute or address problems with them.

Most often, the issue isn't the mechanics of the system itself - it's the weakness of the arguments made for why a question should be re-opened at all, coupled with an unwillingness to expend any effort addressing the question's problems. These are social, not technical issues - solve them, and the technical concerns evaporate.


I ran a couple of queries and found the following

Site | Count of Post Reopened| Count of Closed Posts  |  Percentage of Closed 
     |                       |                        |  posts that are re-opend
SO   |        2528           |         69498          |         3.64%
P.SE |        281            |         3049           |         9.21%

It would seem that since a higher percentage of closed posts got reopened on P.SE than SO I think the opposite is true. You have a better chance of getting a post reopened on a smaller site.

If you think Moderator vs Community opening is important here's the break down of the #Of voters per reopen. Using this query

Voter  P.SE   SO 
----- ------ -------
1      169    861           
2       18    147         
3       17     70     
4        9     70     
5       68   1380          
Total  281   2528     

Reopens that involved some moderator intervention was about 75% on P.SE and 45% on SO. If you look at only moderator ones its 60% on p.SE vs 34% on SO.

This means that if your going to get your question reopened on P.SE its more likely to include moderation attention than on SO. I don't know if that's important or not.

  • 2
    StackOverflow has a very clearly defined scope. If your question is not code-related, it's off-topic. P.SE has a much gray-er scope, which means there are many questions which users, even moderators, disagree on if it is on-topic or not. Are you able to pull a query of how many questions are closed/reopened from the community vs how many are closed/reopened due to moderator intervention? I think that would be the true test on if we need to scale down the system for smaller sites.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:48
  • Rachel its possible because the post history includes the text that goes under the post e.g. [{"Id":11,"DisplayName":"Lorenzo"},{"Id":6735,"DisplayName":"qstarin"},{"Id":47,"DisplayName":"ChrisF"}] buts its going to take some time for me to write it. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:55
  • @Rachel: For reference, English (a fuzzy topic in my opinion) has a rate of about 6% re-opened posts: data.stackexchange.com/english/query/62860/… Conrad: are the re-opened posts also counted in the closed post count? Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:01
  • @JonEricson there are a small number (17) of SO posts that were reopened but never "closed" Like this one. This is probably because they didn't implement the history in the beginning. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:38
  • 1
    I don't think stats are that helpful here since closing/reopening Qs is inherently subjective. You could make similar connections between the volume of new users and closed questions, and conclude that new users = closed questions so we shouldn't let in new users since their questions get closed.
    – JNK
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:55
  • @Rachel I've updated my answer Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 21:26
  • @JNK my answer was meant to test the assumption that its somehow easier to get a question reopened on SO than on a smaller site. I'm not making a value judgement regarding action to take or making conjectures about the cause. Also its funny you should mention close votes and new users Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 21:43
  • Those stats comparing the percentage of re-opens on P.SE vs. SO are not helpful. I suspect it is the case that SO has a lot more questions that obviously deserve to be closed, leading to a lower re-open rate. If you are going to take this approach, you should compare the re-open rate of questions that deserve to be re-opened, but you can't just write a simple query to do that. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 16:51
  • @MichaelMcGowan so... your argument is that data is not helpful but conjecture and supposition is. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 18:45
  • @ConradFrix About your edit: Closed votes still seem to expire after a question has been closed if there are less than 5 votes. The actual total for P.SE is 120 questions closed by 5 users, and 2648 questions closed by less than 5 users
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 20:10
  • @Rachel um I didn't look at the PostVote table so I didn't have to worry about Expiring votes. I also was looking for re-opens not closes. But since you mentioned it I wrote these two queries. Close Voter Count and Close Text for 5-Vote Closures and came up with 400 Close events that included 5 users maybe if you shared your queries we could figure out which number is correct Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 21:00
  • @ConradFrix Oh my mistake, I've been thinking about close votes today so thought you were displaying close votes. I'll have to take some time to look into some of the syntax you used in your query since some of it is not familiar to me. The query I used can be found here
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 21:07
  • Although if I revise it to only pull questions that have 5 re-open votes (votetype 7) it only returns 1 question. I thought we had more than 1 that was re-opened by 5 users, but I could be wrong.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 21:15
  • @Rachel. Wow the vote table is really messed up. This closed question has no Close votes in the Vote table when it should have five. Also here's the query I wrote to find the differences. Finally you should note that when a question get's closed twice I count them as separate events Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 21:45
  • @ConradFrix I discovered that votes expire even after the question gets closed/reopened, which is why I had lower numbers than you. I think your way of calculating how many people voted to reopen/close a question is better :)
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 12:35

It takes just as much effort to open a question as it does to close a question.

To apply any of your changes to reopening, they would also need to be applied to closing, and the same problem would remain because it's the same bar for both processes. The fact that questions start off in the open state actually means the scales are already tipped in favor of open questions.

If you decrease the number of votes to close and open, you'd simply see more questions close - and possibly never open.

Think carefully about each suggestion, and you'll see that it probably won't be any more positive for opening than it would be for closing.

The root problem that must be solved is that the community is moving in a direction you don't agree with. Opening closed questions piecemeal won't work in the long run - and as the site gets busier it will end up being endless toil for you.

When I disagreed with the direction of closing/opening in the early days of Stack Overflow, I, and many others, took the following measures:

  • See a question that should be closed or opened?

    • Vote to close or open
    • Post comment on why it should be closed or opened - Always referencing the FAQ or relevant meta discussion.
    • Bump it
    • If it's exemplary of the problem, start a discussion in meta about it, and use a comment to direct others to the new discussion
  • See a question that is in the state it should be, but has close/open votes, or looks close enough to the edge that others might close or open it

    • Post a comment on why it should stay closed or opened, again referencing the FAQ or relevant meta discussion
    • Keep track of it over time and if it does change state, cast your vote to return it
  • Actively engage in all the relevant meta discussions

    • Vote for answers you agree with
    • Post answers that flesh out the reasons you believe the site should move in one direction or another
    • Provide examples of questions improperly closed or opened that are emblematic of the problem
  • Bring questions to chat and encourage others to vote to open or close them with you

The name of the game here is "engage the community." You can't swat all the flies yourself, you have to involve the community as a whole, and come to an agreement regarding the direction of the site.

Be aware though - they will engage you right back, and you may end up changing your mind along the way. Sometimes people come into this meta and think, "Wow, they're all the same - voting up the same things, and violently rejecting outside thought" but the reality is that while we still differ on many things, we've come to agree on many, many other things over several hard-fought years - or at least begrudgingly accept - and I can only think of a few people who still hold the same beliefs they had when they first started here.

Be prepared to be wrong, and change - and in return you'll likely find you have more influence in the community than you might think you have.

  • 3
    I agree with you on many points, however I also think you are speaking from the point of view of someone who's primary interaction is with SO, and not the smaller SE sites. On smaller sites, Meta has very few active users, and half are moderators of some kind. Chat is dead most of the time, despite a handful of people sitting in it. The active portion of the community who understands how the SE sites work is much smaller on the smaller SE sites. In addition, please see my comment to dmckee about a key difference between close and re-open votes.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:25
  • 4
    In my particular case with P.SE, moderators are very willing to close questions, however are frequently hesitant to re-open questions and prefer to leave it to the community. I cannot speak for other SE sites. In addition, the site name and site scope for P.SE is at odds with each other, so there is much confusion and even some resentment in the community over the site's direction.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:27
  • @Rachel Well, since I proposed that site and it has gone in a completely different direction then I intended, I have my own views on the site's specific direction. However I think the solution for you is still the same regardless of the community - you have to engage the moderators and convince them, and the best way to do that is through specific comments and meta discussions. It's even better in this case, because if you can convince one moderator, then they can insta-open the question. Having a low volume meta is awesome because you have a stronger voice there. I stand behind my answer.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 17:45
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    I think part of the problem on P.SE is the site scope says one thing, and the community says another. Moderators are only trying to do their job, and seem to take a stance that if a closed question is contested between them, or if they are uncertain, they will let the community decide. And I feel the active community is shrinking, as shown in my answer here. Its also interesting to note that the top-voted comment on that answer is the one about giving up and just letting SE run the site however they want
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:00
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    @Rachel The problem is that P.SE is defined by what it is NOT, rather than what it is. It should simply be "A site for XYZ experts" but instead it's, "A site for programming experts that don't have programming problems, database problems, server problems, ...., etc" It simply should never have been created. I envision a venn diagram - Stack Overflow is for programming experts - a whole circle. Programmers is a circle with all these huge bits taken out of it. It's not whole, and it will never heal. Changing anything will only work if you can define the whole experts the site is for.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:27
  • I joined the site because I thought it was a place I could collaborate and learn from other programmers. The people who answer questions don't need to be experts, but I would prefer them be professionals. This is how the site was originally used, and it seems that at some point it was determined that wasn't a good match the SE format, and that the site needed to focus on a specific topic so it could gather experts in that field. I still disagree with that decision, and would rather see P.SE be a site for programmers, not a site for software development questions Q&A.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:45
  • But I am getting off-topic again. The point is, it is much harder to get questions re-opened on smaller sites without a moderator. I wish to do something about this to make it easier for the community to help moderate their site. If that affects closed questions too, so be it. It looks better to have a question closed by 3 members of the community than 2-4 members and a moderator vote. Also, if moderators believed the community more able to close their own off-topic questions, perhaps they would be less likely to hunt down potential closures and close them via a single moderator vote.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 18:49
  • @Rachel To be fair to the mods on P.SE, I was the one who flagged some of the questions I think you're referring to (take this one for example), which is what triggered the closing by Yannis. I don't think mods hunting down potential closures is (that much of) an accurate statement. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:21
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    @Rachel "it is much harder to get questions re-opened on smaller sites without a moderator." It is similarly hard to get them closed without a moderator. I think the problem is not that it's harder to open them than to close them - I think the problem is that you disagree with the moderators and community. Changing the system to make it easier for you to enact your vision for the site makes no sense.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:31
  • @AdamDavis The fact it is harder to both open and close questions without a moderator in smaller communities makes me feel that the current system was designed with larger communities in mind, and that it should be scaled to accommodate smaller communities so they can enjoy a community-moderated Q&A site
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:46
  • 1
    Also, regarding a dearth of activity on meta, there's a really, really easy way to fix that. Write in manner that will encourage activity. I'm not saying be incendiary, or confrontational, but if you write with an active voice and throw your weight and knowledge around, people will respond. It might take awhile to get the activity level up there, but if you start to post a new question every time you find a post that needs to be reopened, or when some other community action needs to be taken, you will not only get a response, but you will help to grow meta, which is a good thing.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:48
  • @Rachel First, P.SE is not a small community. area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/3352/not-programming-related - 7k visits per day, 900+ avid users (10k users total). Second, it's working for all the other "small communities" so your statement doesn't appear to be true. There may be another reason to follow your proposal, but it certainly can't be that your community is small, or that the system doesn't work for small communities - both are not true.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:51
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    @AdamDavis I wish that were true, however instead I think the reverse is happening. I feel some of the mods are very confrontational and overly-aggressive in their responses and votes, and it is driving away new users. I understand they have a tough job, trying to maintain a site that has one of the most subjective topics, but also one that has gone through a scope change. But I have seen many users who think the same way I do stop posting on both P.SE and meta, and I have considered becoming one of them as well.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:16
  • 2
    @Rachel Well, if engaging the community is impossible, then making it easier to open questions is the least of your problems. I wish you luck, you've chosen a hard row to hoe!
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:24
  • @AdamDavis Well, I was hoping this was an issue due to the site size, but apparently it's an issue specific to Programmers. At least I learned something with my question :) PS I still think all re-open votes should be reset after a period of time has passed after the failed vote expired. Maybe something like 2 weeks.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:31

Since every answer here provides an opposing argument, here is an answer that agrees:

Yes, please implement something to make it easier to re-open (and possibly close) questions on smaller sites without moderator intervention

I don't care how you do it.

My personal preference is to refund expired votes, so that a user can help close/reopen questions in the future if their prior attempts failed. Quite often there is only a small group of users active in casting close/reopen votes, and this would allow them to participate in other efforts to close/reopen questions despite having failed attempts in the past.

This is just my preference though, and I would accept an alternative solution that makes it easier for smaller SE communities to close/open questions without a moderator's intervention.

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