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(Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere; I searched but couldn't find anything related to it.)

When reviewing close votes, I often see a situation where I think a question should be left open, but (up to four) others think it should be closed. Per the mechanics already established, in these situations I'll click 'Leave Open'. But what I also notice is that in situations where I decide to close a question, I don't see how many people have voted to leave it open.

There is much discussion on meta about the dog-piling issue; if people see a question has a close vote, they tend to pile on without properly reviewing. I note this effect largely when I've decided to close a question and note that the reason I'm closing it is different from the other four people. This always leads me to question, if only for a moment, whether I had the right reasoning. What I don't see is if there are a number of people who have voted to keep it open.

My proposal would be to, in the 'Close' modal, to display the number of votes to 'Leave Open' the question. I think that if any such votes exist it would cause lazy reviewers to think twice if a more meticulous reviewer found cause to leave the question open.

A potential downside is that this may encourage behavior whereby reviewers click on the close modal to determine if there are any leave-open votes, but I believe the audits already help counterbalance this.

5

If you're really concerned that a good question might get closed, the proper thing to do is to leave a comment on the question explaining why you don't think it should be closed, and then cast your vote to leave it open. This way other people can see your comment and consider it when determining what they should do. A comment is a lot more constructive and informative than a blind number on a button or in a dialog (wherever you want to put it).

When reviewing close votes, you should already know whether or not you want to cast a close vote or leave it open before you even head for the buttons. The best way to catch them before they even hit the Close button is with a really good comment. Once a user hits the Close button, they've already decided they want to close the question, and it's very, very unlikely that a little number saying how many people left it open is going to change their decision. I, myself, would dismiss it as useless information.

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    I'm not saying you're incorrect, but: a) Comments are quickly buried. b) This is not covering the case of the 'meticulous' reviewer: someone who already has a solid reason to vote one way or the other and has probably read through the comments. – Nathaniel Ford Jun 10 '13 at 21:46
  • But like I said, a number doesn't mean anything. Without explanation, it will be greatly ignored. There are plenty of people out there that would like questions to be left open for whatever reason, even though they shouldn't be. "I don't want this question to be deleted" is a very common reason for someone to want a question open when it, in fact, should be closed. – animuson Jun 10 '13 at 21:49
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    The presence or lack of presence of an indicator does mean something. If someone is running on automatic, seeing that indicator may give them pause (which, based on the other discussions around dog-piling I'm given to think is a good thing) - and if they're not running on automatic, it won't override the decision they've already arrived at. I simply refute that the number doesn't mean anything: if the number doesn't mean anything why show it for close votes? – Nathaniel Ford Jun 10 '13 at 21:52
  • If they're running on automatic, though, what makes you think they even care enough to pause? I've outlined elsewhere that showing the number of votes next to each close reason is particularly helpful for duplicate and off-topic votes, as sometimes a question that's otherwise unacceptable could benefit from being sent elsewhere or directed towards a duplicate. – animuson Jun 10 '13 at 21:57
  • Although the numbers aren't particularly useful in that way for the other close reasons, it lets users know why other users are voting to close the question, and potentially stop it from happening. But that can only happen if someone explains why it shouldn't be closed. Just saying "I don't agree with the existing close votes" is not really useful to anyone. Why don't you agree? – animuson Jun 10 '13 at 21:58
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    I don't agree because there are a lot of really smart people on S.E., and it generally deals with deep domain knowledge. And I generally find dissension a good reason to take a second look; it at least might convince me to skip voting on that particular question. – Nathaniel Ford Jun 10 '13 at 22:05
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    Actually, I find myself frequently hitting the Close link on questions that I want to remain open, just so I can see what the reasons were for the close votes. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Sep 8 '15 at 15:12
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Unfortunately, the mechanics of close votes work very much in favour of closing a question. I have just reached the stage to cast close votes in one stackexchange, and while I can see things like close (3) I cannot cast a "leave open" vote but only another close vote.

OK, I understand that I am going to write more comments from now on.

  • The "Leave open" option being referred to is only seen when in the close votes review queue. You'll not see that outside of the queue. Also, this would seem to be a comment on animuson's answer, not an answer to the original question. – ale Sep 4 '15 at 11:33
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    @AlE. This site being a Meta, I think answers like this are fine to exist. Downvote if you feel it's "not useful" :) That said, the review queue shows that opinion is in the minority :( – James Sep 5 '15 at 14:57

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