Short version

Should we up- or down-vote on questions that we encounter through the close votes review queue? And should voting be available to us through the close vote queue's UI?

Long version

Most of the questions that I encounter on the close votes review queue are there because they're crap. There's the odd well-considered, well-written question that's there because it's a duplicate, or needs to be migrated to another site, but the things that get there because of the Unclear what you're asking, Demonstrate minimal understanding or Describe the specific problem close reasons are almost invariably terrible. As it happens, I usually filter down to the Unclear and Off-topic close reasons when reviewing, so the majority of the questions I see would deserve to be downvoted if they were to stay open in their present form.

On the one hand, voting on these questions when I see them ought to be a good thing for the same reasons that voting in any circumstances are a good thing. On the other hand, given that much of the point of changing the "Closed" notice to an "On hold" notice was to encourage closed questions to be edited into a better state and reopened, I can see how it might be undesirable for close vote reviewers to downvote the crap they see. If I vote to close a question, and it is later improved, other members of the community can reverse the closing. If I downvote a question that is later improved, my action can only be reversed by me. For the mostly newly-posted questions that I stumble upon via the review queue and then never look at again, perhaps downvoting is, on net, harmful - it heaps punishment that will never be revoked onto question askers who we're supposedly encouraging to edit and improve their questions.

The fact that I can't downvote directly from the close votes review screen - despite the fact that it's a constant stream of downvote-worthy questions - seems to suggest that downvoting in these circumstances is discouraged. Yet Shog9♦'s answer explaining why up and down voting isn't possible from most review screens makes no special mention of the close votes queue. And in the comments below his answer, the following exchange takes place:


I think the close votes task should allow voting. Upvoting a downvoted question which has close votes is a good way to save a question which may not be close-worthy or has been edited after those votes were received. As well, downvoting a question is a good way to get it closed faster.


Please let me vote while in the Close Vote review queue. It's the job of the honeypots to catch bad reviews. The CV queue is so crowded that I always filter it down to areas of my expertise anyway. Sometimes the CV queue shows me a post deserves a downvote (which may get it automatically deleted later on). And sometimes it shows me a post that deserves an upvote because it's been improved (added code, clarified question, etc).


If you have a special interest in a particular question, break out of /review and do whatever you like, @KatieK: vote, flag, answer, etc.

So to sum up, I can see reasonable arguments both for and against voting on questions I see in the close votes queue, we have a UI that seems designed specifically to discourage it, we have moderator animuson♦ encouraging voting on questions from the close votes queue and saying that he disagrees with that UI, and we have StackExchange exployee Shog9♦ seemingly defending the UI not allowing voting but simultaneously encouraging voting anyway (but perhaps only in special circumstances).

I feel like I'm getting mixed signals. Should I downvote crap when I see it in the close votes queue, or not?


3 Answers 3


Should we up- or down-vote on questions that we encounter through the close votes review queue?

Of course. If you find a post via the review queue and wish to vote for it, go ahead.

And should voting be available to us through the close vote queue's UI?

IMO, we only need down votes in the queue, not up votes.

I do agree with Shog that the review process should be as streamlined as possible, with little distractions.

However, downvoting is not a distraction. It is an important part of closing a question; a downvoted closed post gets fed to the deletion roomba and disappears from the front page. If the queue was not backlogged, ideally posts would be in and out in a matter of minutes, which may not be enough time for them to gather enough downvotes unless the closevoters downvoted. Which is a bit cumbersome via the current UI.

So I feel that the option to downvote should be available in the close vote review queue.

  • 2
    I would like it to be easier to downvote questions via the Close Vote queue. I often downvote stuff from the CV que. Questions with negative score (and no upvoted answers, I think) are automatically deleted after a certain time - thus helping to clear out the CV que.
    – KatieK
    Jan 3, 2014 at 21:19
  • Upvotes for Reopen Queue (undo the dmg done by others)? Dec 2, 2014 at 1:44

Yes, it should be possible to down vote from the close queue. Some close reasons have been taken away, with the advice that down votes should be used instead. It should be possible to indicate that a question is crap but not actually within the current set of permitted close reasons.


The short answer is, you're not given a fair chance to evaluate the post in /review. You're given a subset of questions (generally skewed toward the worst) without a chance to even read the answers, and may indeed be predisposed to voting when you don't really have a strong opinion on the contents of the post. So we try to keep the options as simple as possible, and give folks a quick way to skip past to the next item if they don't feel they're qualified to make a decision.

If I'm actually interested in the topic of a given question, or otherwise feel it needs attention, I'll open it up and vote / edit / comment / answer / etc.

Otherwise, I focus on what I'm there for: deciding whether or not the question should be closed. That's not the be-all end-all decision, it's just the one I happen to be considering at that moment and the one the close review queue was designed to help folks focus on.

I like tools that don't try to do too much. Just because I often pick my teeth while driving, but I don't need a steering wheel with a built-in toothpick.

  • 7
    -1 to this because I think that the lack of context when evaluating questions is just as relevant, if not more so, when deciding whether or not to close them as when deciding whether to downvote them. An unclear question deserves a downvote even if some psychic has figured out the author's meaning and managed to answer it, but in the latter case perhaps should stay open. I see questions that deserve closure for being unclear, lacking minimal understanding or lacking an SSCCE as pretty much being a subset of questions that need downvoting, so your argument is backwards for me.
    – Mark Amery
    Dec 17, 2013 at 10:05
  • 1
    Then explain car radios, usb chargers for cars, car trays for small items... If I usually picked my teeth while driving, I would surely appreciate a dashboard-mounted toothpick holder. Nov 30, 2014 at 16:34
  • If you want all the options, click through to the full question page, @Jan. Don't buy the Aveo and then complain it won't haul your boat.
    – Shog9
    Dec 2, 2014 at 23:35
  • 4
    I didn't buy my car. It was given to me by a company I work for. The boat is also owned by the same company. The same company also builds road networks in the area where I live. There's an area across the river I frequently want to visit, which I always do during my boat trips. I suggest to my company that a new bridge is built. My company tells me that I don't need to go there while driving their car (which I'm told not to rush with), and if I do want to go there, I can use the foot bridge 100 meters downstream. Since I like that area and the bridge is far, I'm tempted to stop using my car. Dec 3, 2014 at 5:01
  • 1
    I agree with the part of this post that answers the OP's question, but the statement you're not given a fair chance to evaluate the post in /review is counterintuitive and harms this answer since evaluating the post is precisely what we're in the VTC queue to do. Oct 28, 2017 at 17:52
  • No it isn't, @TwistyImpersonator. Review exists to answer a specific question: in this case, "Should this post be closed?" There's arguably barely enough information presented to do that - asking you to gauge the usefulness of the question makes an already difficult task that much more of a slog.
    – Shog9
    Oct 30, 2017 at 16:29
  • @Shog9 I think we may be missing each other here. I agree that the VTC queue is designed to focus on answering the "do/don't close" question. Given that, I find the assertion "you're not given a fair chance to evaluate the post" confusing. Do we have enough info to evaluate if a post should be closed? I think we do. Do we have enough to make an up/down vote decision? Maybe not. If that's your point, then clarifying that your statement means we lack enough info in the VTC queue to make informed up/down vote decisions would be helpful. Oct 30, 2017 at 16:39
  • If the close vote queue doesn't offer enough information to make an informed decision, then perhaps it's not fit for purpose. Downvoting is arguably one of the most important signals for the SE platform; having to open (almost) every question shown to me in the close-vote queue just so I can downvote it seems counter effective. Nov 28, 2018 at 14:57

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