First off, the new close vote retraction option is great. Thanks for that. However, I did notice that any retraction of a close-vote is final (not that this is unreasonable), and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to add the ability to change your close vote reason freely within a short time window, say 5 minutes. Sort of like a grace period for close votes.

Sometimes (and I'll admit this is a bad habit), I'll see a vote-to-close comment with a few upvotes that roughly gels with my perspective on why the question is unsuitable for the site, and I'll cast my vote too quickly.

Giving it a couple minutes more of thought though (perhaps in light of incoming comments), it often becomes clear that the close reason I originally went with is subtly incorrect. The question might be more "asks for a tool to solve a problem" than "opinion poll", or better closed as a duplicate than "must demonstrate minimal understanding". My first instinct in this situation is to just leave the wrong close vote there instead of retracting it permanently, because I feel the question cannot be reasonably answered in its current state and should be on hold, just for a different reason.

So, three questions:

  • Is this problem faced by enough other users to even warrant such a change?
  • Could this be exploited in any way?
  • Is there a better way to address the problem than a grace period? (short of simply not being a dunce with your close votes, of course)
  • 11
    I do what you do: leave the vote, even if I goofed up and failed to select the best possible reason. Getting a bad question closed for a less-than-perfect reason is better than leaving it open. Jul 24, 2013 at 6:38
  • 2
    @CodyGray That does often lead to a messy ending when a confused user brings their closed question up on Meta. The question sometimes ends up being summarily reopened due to outrage over the clearly incorrect close reason, without actual problems with the question having been addressed. I think some flexibility and room to mull over close-reasons would be beneficial.
    – user200500
    Jul 24, 2013 at 6:44
  • 3
    Really? I mean, I know people sometimes whine about their questions being closed on Meta. But that's usually more amusing than disastrous. I can't think of a time when a bad question got reopened simply out of indignation over a wrong close reason. There are plenty of people like me to leave snarky comments like, "So, you want us to reopen it and close it for a different reason?" Jul 24, 2013 at 6:51
  • 1
    Can't we just retract our close vote then close it as appropriate reason? (PS: I don't have any knowledge/experience about how retraction works)
    – Himanshu
    Jul 24, 2013 at 6:59
  • 3
    @hims056 Well, retraction is permanent, so you can't cast a vote again once you've retracted it. I believe close-vote retraction is roughly implemented along the lines suggested here.
    – user200500
    Jul 24, 2013 at 7:05
  • while grace period makes perfect sense with regular voting, it is not clear whether close voting matches it. You see, one can vote on post as many times as they wish, grace period limits that. As opposed to that, retraction of close vote is final; one can not cast yet another CV after it. Retracted CVs, like diamonds, are forever...
    – gnat
    Jul 24, 2013 at 7:14
  • 2
    @gnat That is correct, but I'm suggesting that users be able to change their close vote reason within a grace period if their selected reason is wrong, with no effect on the retraction behavior (i.e. you still get one close vote per question, which you can choose to cancel permanently).
    – user200500
    Jul 24, 2013 at 7:18
  • 1
    Regarding suggested edit - As explained here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/167514/282094 changing the tag to a Feature Request would make this older question override this newer Feature Request: meta.stackexchange.com/q/250223/282094 - Close and Retracting ages away, you don't get to double change your mind; one vote either (or both) ways.
    – Rob
    Jun 18, 2021 at 13:08
  • @DocBrown No, this is not a feature request. It's definitely not worded as one. It was not treated as a feature request at the time it was posted. The responses to it are treating as a discussion.
    – Makyen
    Jun 18, 2021 at 16:27
  • @Makyen: ok, thanks for informing me. In between, I found a real feature request here which contains exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, it seems noone did care for it over the last 12 years. Any idea how to draw more attention to it?
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 18, 2021 at 16:55
  • @Makyen: thank you again, that helps indeed. I took the suggested option of writing an answer there, maybe it pushes things forward a little bit ;-)
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 18, 2021 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


Today, I would have been happy for this feature to be available: I voted to close a question with "needs more focus", but then I realized the question could also be closed as a duplicate of an older one.

As a workaround, I left a comment pointing to the dupe, but I would really liked to have my close vote reason changed directly, so the system could use this information for the automatic generation of the "This question already has answers here..." message.

I actually don't think we need a specific grace period - changing the close reason could be possible for the first voters as long as the question hasn't been closed (of course, the last voter then will have not the chance to change their vote).

Is this problem faced by enough other users to even warrant such a change?

People make errors, and one of the very basic principles in building user interfaces is to allow people to correct their errors. This principle seems to be violated here blatantly.


Is this problem faced by enough other users to even warrant such a change?

No. Not at all.

Could this be exploited in any way?

Almost anything can be exploited. However, this would only likely have more bad consequences if you're able to change your vote to close reason after the question is already closed. For example, someone could say it's a duplicate of x question, then after it's closed change it to y question, which is totally not a duplicate but one of their own questions or something, trying to get more views on it.

Is there a better way to address the problem than a grace period? (short of simply not being a dunce with your close votes, of course)

Refer to the first question. It's not really a problem for most people. Yes, we want to be helpful to users that ask bad questions, so that they can change their ways, but ultimately we don't need to sacrifice even more time making sure it's always the correct close reason, since the user needs to be able to help themselves and read what is on topic for the site, and what is not. There's only so much help we can give, it's up to them to improve.

  • Moreover, 3 of the 5 voters are necessary for the wrong close reason to be chosen (in most cases), so the chance of actually causing a problem is small. If yet the problem appears, you can flag the post, mods can edit the reason AFAIK.
    – yo'
    Jul 27, 2014 at 16:56

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