Currently, Diamond Moderators have the ability to close a question with a single vote. There are 16 moderators on Stack Overflow. There are currently over 100k questions with a either a close vote or flagged for closure.
We could set diamond mods to the task of closing all those questions as their primary responsibility, but that would be boring.
Here's an alternate solution:
If a user has become well known to the "community" (in this context, meaning "diamond moderators") and has a good track record of fair and consistent close-voting, allow the moderators to grant that user the privilege to close questions with a single vote, essentially "delegating" that responsibility. The user would not gain any other priveleges associated with moderator-hood - just the ability to close with a single vote. If diamond moderators are like sheriffs, then this new class of user would be their deputies.
If each diamond mod could find just a couple users, each with a good track record, we could quickly assembly a team of 30-40 users with the ability to blaze through obviously bad questions (very clear duplicates, very low quality questions, spam, etc). Even for less obvious questions, users with expert domain knowledge and sufficient experience on the site would be able to recognize a duplicate and close it quickly (rather than the question floating around for days or weeks waiting for 5 such experts to coalesce).
Users selected for this privelege could sign a digital agreement on how to use their privilege (much as diamond mods do) and a diamond mod should have the ability to overrule a decision if it's made in error (and remove the user, if a history of abuse is forming).
If our real-life elected officials can delegate responsibility to others to get things done, I think our virtual elected overlords should have that ability as well. Fair is fair, afterall.
- No automation. Users are selected individually, severely limiting the ability for a user to game the system.
- Relieves some of the pressue on diamond moderators (mostly the pressue from answering the increasing flood of "Oh my gosh! Has anyone seen how huge the CV queue is? What if we used trained koalas?"-type questions on Meta)
- Requires some initial work from diamond mods (not to mention development time)
- Some users complaining about not being selected (because the diamond mods are Nazis)