The review system is pretty nice, but I've noticed that there are a huge number of questions pending closing and it's rising over time. Right now, there are 59.5k questions awaiting close votes in the review queue.

I don't know the statistics behind close vote turnover, but I'm curious about whether it's working well enough. Obviously not all questions awaiting close votes should actually be closed.

Is the question that is selected for review random or are some priorities in place? Could the question selected for review be improved by, for example, selecting questions with multiple downvotes in preference to more highly rated questions or by selecting questions with more close votes over those with one?

The concern and motivation for my question is that if the questions are poorly selected for moderation or they're just random, any given question will sit in the queue and rarely actually be closed, especially if users are less frequently moderating based on the front-page question selection.

Has the review system created a behavioral change such that most moderation time is spent looking at (random?) questions in the close queue rather than multiple people noticing something on the front page, resulting in many questions with one or two close votes and infrequent successful closes?

A minor corollary is that not much close queue moderation appears to be taking place. Can something be done to encourage more close moderation?


3 Answers 3


Can something be done to encourage more close moderation?

I'm listed as one of the Top Reviewers All Time under close votes, but I've recently done it much less often because of how much mouse movement and dialog picking is required for each question. It's frustrating, unnecessary, and a big turn off.

After a question pops up, I can look at the title and question body and decide in about two seconds if I will vote to close or not, most cases are pretty obvious. Unfortunately it takes much longer than that to just enter my answer.

After I make my decision, I must then:

  1. Mouse up to the close button
  2. Wait for dialog to pop up
  3. Make my selection, either by :
    1. Mousing over to the super tiny radio button from all the way across the screen
    2. Clicking on the text description of each close reason. This requires less precision than the radio button, but I have to avoid the minefield of inline FAQ links which I will accidentally hit maybe 5% of the time when I'm not being careful (thus taking me off the page entirely)
  4. Mouse all the way back over to the bottom right of the screen to hit close button.
  5. If it's a duplicate question, do this all over again on the next dialog.
  6. Mouse back up to the top of the screen (note my mouse has now traveled 2x the screen width and 2x the screen height for a single question)

I realize this doesn't sound like a lot, but when I'm doing this 20 or 30 times a day out of goodwill, the tedium does add up.

Also I'm not proud to admit this, but recently when I review I just click "Not sure" on every single "Duplicate" question just because I don't want to deal with the layers of dialog required to submit an answer.

Now that I'm done ranting, some suggestions for how I think it could be better:

  1. Should be able to submit a vote with a single click, and no popups. When I am given the question Should this question be closed as not constructive or too localized?, I want to see the following buttons:

    • Close (Not Constructive)
    • Close (Too Localized)
    • Close (Other) dialog would be ok here
    • Do not Close

  2. Could put suggested duplicates on the same page as the original question. Either horizontally or side by side on wide screens. Again here:

    • Close (Duplicate of suggested answer #1)
    • Close (Duplicate of suggested answer #2)
    • Close (Other)
    • Do not Close
  3. Keyboard shortcuts for different options. There are lots of keyboard power users here, this would be much more pleasant and quicker than traveling back and forth across the screen on every dialog.

  • I smell a userscript here ;)
    – Servy
    Aug 16, 2012 at 19:40
  • We have a userscript that adds shortcut keys to the close vote queue handling, see the description of the SO Close voters room
    – rene
    Jan 18, 2015 at 12:11

I'd also be interested to know how it's intended to work, and I hope someone in-the-know will come by and explain the internals, but in any case it doesn't seem to be working well enough.

According to the announcement, a Do Not Close vote just removes the question from the queue but doesn't affect close votes, which would explain why they aren't getting resolved. Rather than reaching a Close or Don't Close consensus they're just returned to limbo.

It may also be that they're selecting questions for review randomly. As a result, close votes could be expiring before enough people get to look at the question, or there just aren't enough people reviewing close votes to ensure that any of them get viewed enough for a final decision to be made.

They should probably be reviewed in LIFO order, removing them from the queue when they get either five close-votes or five don't-close votes (or perhaps it should just be win-by-5). That way new submissions would get resolved quickly, and then we could gradually make our way through the backlog.

  • 1
    I wouldn't quite do LIFO as you'd get lots of race conditions involved with people all being given the same question. Maybe something that resembles LIFO but has a bit of randomness thrown in to minimize the synchronous access.
    – Servy
    Aug 16, 2012 at 19:41

Unclear if this is the proper place, but after going though a bunch of "Review Tasks (beta) / Close votes" I find that I run out of votes pretty quickly (27) while I'm on a roll.

I understand the need to limit V-T-C submissions in general, but wouldn't it make sense to increase such limits for those members who have achieved a certain level? It seems strange to ask someone to vote, then cut them off when they start using the tool. ;)

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