Here we have a perfectly formatted and clear question about things related to programming. There was 10 people voting +1 on the question, many more (20+) who voted for the answers, and still ... it was closed because 5 closed-minded peers decided so.

How could we improve the "close question" process so that minorities won't be able to decide what is good or what is bad for majorities?

EDIT: Note that the pointed question is conform with this criteria from the FAQ ... "practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession".

  • 1
    This is an invalid question for a Q&A site about programing. It was closed off-topic because why protocol designers decided on any particular part of their protocol is subjective at best and further has nothing to do with programming.
    – M.Babcock
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:29
  • The question was not "how" but "why". This is not subjective. Also, this is not the topic of my present question. I am talking here about anti-democratic question closing system.
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:30
  • typo - fixed now... -- re your edit (or maybe what I didn't read the first time around): You can't fix something that isn't broken. The FAQ clearly defines what is appropriate for SO. If a question varies from it's bounds, expect it to be closed.
    – M.Babcock
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:31
  • Let's suppose that you are right. I would still like to discuss about ways to improve the question closing process.
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:36
  • I doubt it will change. People (apparently meaning people other than you) are happy with how it works. Changing it would go against what the SE network is about. Ask your questions on-topic, proving enough prior effort, and you'll likely be fine.
    – M.Babcock
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:38
  • I'd like to STRESS that I am asking here a question not specifically bound to my previous question. How about 5 misc users closing a question which is not off-topic? Don't tell me that it never happens.
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:42
  • 5
    @Vincent Then 5 other users vote to reopen it. Closing isn't permanent Apr 2, 2012 at 5:44
  • I didn't know about that, probably because the reputation value on my account is not high enough for me to notice it. Out of curiosity, was there cases where the close/open was fluctuating (since a fluctuation would only require 5 angry closers and 5 angry openers)?
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:48
  • 2
    @Vincent Sure. You might want to read the privilege page on close/reopen votes Apr 2, 2012 at 5:50
  • 1
    " 5 closed-minded peers decided so" Hah! I see what you did there! Apr 2, 2012 at 6:44
  • Also, care to justify how this is "anti-democratic"? The closing system is democratic by definition. People get to vote to close. If 5 of them agree (a majority), then they "win". Then people can vote to re-open. If 5 of them agree (a majority), then they "win". Apr 2, 2012 at 6:45
  • Starting a war is never constructive so closing this question is perfectly reasonable. Apr 2, 2012 at 6:46
  • 1
    Where did you see that 5 out of an undefined number is a majority?
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 8:40
  • What is the problem? You got plenty of answers and even accepted one -- who cares if it's now closed? Apr 2, 2012 at 12:53
  • Congratulations, on the top of being closed, now the question is deleted, even when there was 4 votes to reopen it and plenty of people satisfied of the question. And now? Is there a way to undelete it? It makes me want to stop contributing when I see that.
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 23:58

1 Answer 1


Unless you actually have an idea, the standard "I'm upset my question got closed so I propose we scrap the whole close vote system" post is useless. Your question has nothing to do with programming, it has to do with the history of URIs. It's also in no way a problem that you need to solve, it's just an idle curiosity. I wanted to vote to close as soon as I saw it, but couldn't decide if it would be better migrated somewhere; when I checked in later it already had enough off-topic votes that it didn't matter anymore, so I finished it off

  • Yes I am upset .. not because of people who closed the question, because they have the power to do so. The idea that I propose is to not close a question when the closers are a minority + wait at least 10 minutes to close a question.
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:33
  • 5
    @Vincent Your question closed over 6 hours later; where did you come up with a 10 minute grace period? As for your "majority/minority" argument, the same number of people can vote to reopen. You want to make it so upvotes by random drive-by users are the same as preemptive reopen votes, which I think you'd realize is kind of insane if we were discussing a question other than your own Apr 2, 2012 at 5:36
  • Those 10 minutes I suggest are not related to my question. It is the time it takes to have a kind of stability in the representation of different categories of SO voters. I noticed that SO also wait 10 minutes before one could accept an answer, probably to let enough time to people to answer for the sack of fairness.
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:40
  • 5
    @Vincent 10 minutes is an awfully long time to force a post to remain on the front page when it might be completely terrible, on the off-chance that 5 users immediately closed a question that was actually good and should've stayed open. Also, it's already been suggested here Apr 2, 2012 at 5:45
  • There is still 1 way the closing process could be improved: by giving a reason. Sometimes it is not clear why a question was closed (for instance stackoverflow.com/q/6911030/378979) while the system knows what reason each closer chose. How about displaying it next to the names of the closers?
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 5:59
  • 3
    @Vincent Good idea :) Apr 2, 2012 at 6:05
  • Then .. is this feature scheduled for implementation somewhere?
    – Vincent
    Apr 2, 2012 at 6:10
  • @Vincent Not yet; there are quite a few feature requests. There are red status tags if a feature has been categorized (e.g. status-completed, status-declined), but that one doesn't have one, so it hasn't been processed. I imagine it won't happen, since it's fairly unimportant, but at least it hasn't been outright rejected yet Apr 2, 2012 at 6:15
  • 1
    @Vincent Although this version was rejected, so not a good sign Apr 2, 2012 at 6:16

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