SO 66.6k close votes awaiting review

Wow.... 66.6k close votes at SO, and despite my willingness I cannot assist in revising them. It certainly makes sense that only >3k users who can vote to close can also review these votes, but I assume there are many users in the range of something like 1k-3k who would like to help decreasing this number. So what about allowing 1k users to already review that queue, but requiring 4 votes by 1k users to replace one actual 3k user close vote? I think if in the extreme case 20 1k users agree a question should be closed, it is quite likely the 3k-ers would agree.

edit In order to make sure only those 1kers who actually want to help and not just get a shiny badge, disable the badge counter until they get to 3k.

edit2 Come on, do you really want this to reach 66.6k? Also, consider enabling this only for posts in the users' most active tags.

  • 4
    @-1s While I appreciate your enthusiastic defence of territory, do you have any better suggestions on how to ever reduce that queue? The problem has only worsened since last October, as you can see here Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 11:12
  • 57.3k today ... Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 13:17
  • 57.7k and rising. Talk about broken windows Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 11:25
  • 58.1k. whistling Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 13:01
  • 59.5k. Not exactly getting less... Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 8:46
  • 61.6k... Huh... Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 14:21
  • not that I'd be happy about this, but it's 64.8k now... Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 13:30
  • 1
    You're putting a lot of time here which you could use to review bad quality questions or help answer questions or improve them, which eventually would prove that you know which questions should be closed.
    – Bibhas
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 9:16
  • 5
    @Bibhas Two minutes to update this every now and then is a lot of time? Anyway, I do reviews and answer questions, just not the more popular ones it seems... Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


I think my objections to this are three-fold.

Firstly, why should people have the ability to close before they have the ability to improve rather than close? It makes little sense. In order to do this the user should have full edit privileges and have had them for a while in order to get used to them.

My second objection isn't based on the first but is heavily related. I regularly come across 1k users who're completely unable to edit a question (there are people are higher rep who the same applies to but there's less of them and their mistakes, normally, less egregious). How can you trust people who can't edit to decide to close? It's also why I'm not particularly enamoured with lowering the reputation required for edit everything privilege.

Lastly, closing questions is effectively deciding what is on- or off-topic for the site. I doubt very much there's a magic reputation where someone just knows and there are constant arguments even among higher rep users. However, I don't think that 1k is necessarily enough. This change could occasion a significant change in the direction the site takes. This might be positive, but I doubt it; my impression is that the lower the rep the less strict you are. No idea if that's borne out by any data.

  • 1
    Concerning your first two points, why must this at any point require editing privileges? The users shall only judge whether a question should be closed or not, not try to improve it (for which they can still use the suggest an edit feature) Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:03
  • 1
    Your third point may however be justified, that's why I proposed 1k votes only to count as quarter votes, and previously commented that maybe still at least two 3k users need to cast concurring votes Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:04
  • Why would anyone bother trying to not close a question by improving it when it's harder to do so @Tobias? As for the suggested-edit assume that person one is lazy and doesn't improve. It then goes into the queue and another 20 people review it, rather than improving it they close. There's no benefit to anyone. Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:05
  • I'm not sure I follow you there. We are not talking about questions that are blatantly off-topic but rather about ill-posed ones that can be salvaged, right? And in that case it's mainly the OP's responsibility (and in their own interest) to improve a question, and closing it ("putting it on hold" as it's called these days...) is supposed to indicate the necessity of OP's involvement, no? It's not the vote-to-close-reviewers' task to try and salvage a question at all costs. Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:12
  • And on the other hand I currently don't see a single reopen vote in SO's review queue, which suggests that the close-improve-reopen mechanism is not used as often as possibly adequate Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:13
  • It's not just the OPs responsibility @Tobias. How are they going to learn if people don't help them? There have been 256 reopen reviews so far today (I've done 8)... Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:16
  • I don't say people shouldn't help them, but wasn't the idea to put the question on hold precisely for that purpose - to clearly indicate that the question is currently undergoing improvements? And then anyone can comment or (suggest an) edit and vote/flag to reopen. 75k reopen reviews in total is quite little compared to those 850k close votes reviewed - don't you also suspect that with a little help by 1kers this could be turned into something like 1M close votes processed VS 100k reopen votes and thereby eliminating at least some work for the 3kers? Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:19
  • 2
    @benisuǝqbackwards How can you trust people who can't edit to decide to close? Easy: Editing is actually a difficult task, even in your native language. Improving the language and structure of a mediocre post is much, much more difficult than deciding whether a task is to be closed. Speaking for myself, I'm a good editor in my native tongue, mediocre in English, but I have a very good hand in flagging messages (currently 809 helpful, 7 declined and 2 disputed). I'm guessing especially for the non-native English speaking contributors, this is not far from normal.
    – user213634
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 8:32

I think this just makes things more complicated. Most people, even long time regular users, are already confused by exactly what it takes to close a question. Sliding scales of how many close vote are necessary, different vote timeout patterns, etc all help make the system better but they also make it "heavy". This seems like it would not only add more weight, but most of that confusion would be reflected on new users the most.

As a new user your question starts getting close votes. You look it up and see most of them close after 5 votes. Your question has 13 close votes and its still open. You wonder what gives. Instead of FIXING your question you're running around trying to figure out why your question is different than everybody elses. Far too many folks get complexes over their questions being closed and the names in the close list often take flack for being their. That doesn't seem like something we want 1k'ers exposed to until they really get a solid idea of why they are on the site. They might make good close choices but now they also have to convince other people about their decisions.

  • It'd be more like "Your question has 3.25 close votes"; the fractional part should be omitted to avoid the confusion you hint at. I'm on SO since 3 years now but still ~2k due to programming not being my main profession and my lack of aggressively trying to amass rep, but I think I have a vague idea what SO is about and what not... But that's precisely why I suggest not counting the 1k votes as full. Consider us apprentices. Consider this delegating powers. One could still require at least two 3k close votes, so less than half as many 3kers need to review a question when assisted by 12 1kers Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 11:29
  • 2
    Actually, @Tobias - that right there would be my primary argument against opening this up any further: you may have a pretty good understanding of what SO is about, but unless you've actively and productively participated in this your understanding is still limited; the folks who've spent months or years struggling to answer poorly-defined questions (with the askers often changing them mid-stream) will tend to have a much more practical understanding of what makes for a good question... and what signals a bad one.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 19:02
  • @Shog9 I've been spoiled in that respect, I admit, but nowadays you should consider that folks have >3k on other SE sites and did collect experience with bad questions there. And while the contents obviously differ, the general indication of a severely broken question is the same Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 19:09
  • 1
    @Shog9 So you're telling me a rather new user who gets 20+ upvotes for XKCD comic answers or who only participates in hot-linked questions has more of an understanding than someone specialized to a niche and participating for multiple years? Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 9:36
  • 1
    I didn't say any of that, @Tobias; I'll wager very few people ever gain the ability to vote to close via XKCD links. And while there most certainly are common patterns of badness between questions on various sites, there are also subtle differences that often trip up folks who've spent most of their time on a different site (the abysmal failure rate of migrations from SO to Server Fault is a pretty good example of this).
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 21:49
  • @Shog9 Then I misunderstood you there, or maybe I was slightly exaggerating... Anyway, I'm just trying to help reducing the close votes queue. Maybe allowing <3k users with a tag-specific badge to VTC on questions with only that tag? Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 7:30

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