I was doing some reviews today, and I stumbled upon a question in the "Reopen Votes" queue that I decided to leave closed, while it was apparently an audit. Here is the audit that I failed.

I'm totally fine with that, I very rarely fail audits, and when I do there is usually a good reason that I can understand, but after looking several times at this post I have no idea why this should have been reopened.

The goal of this question is to ask for best practices. While the post itself is well worded, the question itself is very vague and cannot expect a reasonable answer. There is even a full blog post on John Skeet's blog on this very topic. And after looking on meta, it seems like the general consensus is that questions about best practices should be avoided, and to me this questions shouldn't be the exception in the way it's constructed.

So my question is, why is this question an audit? At the very least, audits should have no ambiguity in whether it should be closed or not, and picking a question about best practices as an audit is certainly not a wise choice.

  • 1
    @MadaraUchiha My question is not about the audit mechanics, but really why this specific should have been reopened. Maybe I missed something in what constitutes a question worthy of being reopened, and I'd like to understand. Apr 9, 2013 at 19:48
  • In case you weren't aware, audit questions aren't picked by a person, they're picked automatically based on a given set of criteria. If a question should be closed, but never has been, the site doesn't think it should be closed. The fact that it has lots of upvotes, and an upvoted answer by a mod would all indicate (to any automated algorithm) that this is a good and appropriate question.
    – Servy
    Apr 9, 2013 at 19:49
  • Read the answer carefully. The system automatically picks those, it doesn't recognize if it's a good question that should be open, or a bad question which was overlooked and popular. Apr 9, 2013 at 19:50
  • I'm guessing that it's considered an example of a good question because it is highly upvoted, it has an answer that's highly upvoted and accepted, and it's never attracted any close votes or flags.
    – user102937
    Apr 9, 2013 at 19:50
  • 4
    So people can actually fail an audit even though they take the right decision, if enough people have made the mistake in the past? Apr 9, 2013 at 19:51
  • 1
    Apparently so. Stupid isn't it?
    – vascowhite
    Apr 9, 2013 at 19:52
  • @vascowhite Yes and a bit scary. I think I've had only 3 audits in the reopen votes queue, and out of these 3 I failed 2, including this one, which didn't look anything like deserving to be reopened. That's 66% false positive rate here ! Apr 9, 2013 at 19:53
  • 7
    I think a better question is, why are questions that have never been closed being put into the reopen queue as audits? It's a false premise to begin with.
    – user102937
    Apr 9, 2013 at 19:54
  • @RobertHarvey They probably wanted to avoid controversy. If a question gets closed and then reopened, there is some community disagreement (ignoring the case where the question changes while closed), and the question might possibly be re-closed later. A well-upvoted question with no close votes is most often a mark of a question that the community accepts as valid. Or would, in theory.
    – Troyen
    Apr 9, 2013 at 19:58
  • I agree with everything said above, it's just a little bit frustrating to fail an audit when you take the right decision, but I'll survive it :) It's unfortunately not the first time i have this issue in the reopen votes queue, maybe the algorithm should be tweaked to somehow be more clever about finding audits with no ambiguity. Apr 9, 2013 at 20:07
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey: Indeed. This was addressed by Shog.
    – jscs
    Apr 9, 2013 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


Well, I understand why the question was chosen as an audit candidate, but...

It's in the Reopen Queue, which means that it presumably was already closed once by the community. I take this into account when I'm evaluating if a question should be reopened, whether I do in in the context of a review or as a moderator. That it is in the reopen queue already implies that five community members (or another moderator) already found fault with it; for me to consider reopening a question like that requires a higher standard than simply refraining from casting a close vote.

Accordingly, I think this question is placed in the reopen queue in bad faith; even though the standards for asking questions do not change, considering questions for "not closing" or "leave open" is very different than considering questions for reopening that have already been closed.

Putting perfectly good questions into the Reopen Queue for auditing purposes creates too much cognitive dissonance, in other words. Why was this question closed in the first place?

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