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Can we reduce the number of close votes required when people really really don't like the question?

Bad question is bad

When a question has a -4 score, should it still require five people to close it? Why not four? Or three, if it has a -5 score?

  • Hmm, can't see the imaeg. Just me? – Won't Jun 18 '14 at 13:21
  • Just you. I see the image fine. – ChrisF Jun 18 '14 at 13:21
  • I see it too. Hard refresh maybe? :) – Shadow Jun 18 '14 at 13:22
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    What should happen when a question has four close votes already, and the fourth downvote is cast? What if the downvote is retracted after a question has been closed with four closevotes? – John Dvorak Jun 18 '14 at 13:24
  • Not sure it's a good idea. There is a big herd/mob effect already in place when one user downvote and vote to close then many follow without spending time checking if it's really justified. Don't have stats, but surely there are false positives that require lots of work to be amended. Lowering the threshold would most likely cause lot more false positives. – Shadow Jun 18 '14 at 13:26
  • OK, what stackapp script are you running there to display the OT, OB etc, and what does it do? – JonW Jun 18 '14 at 13:27
  • It's not so clear what you are proposing. The question you've linked has only 4 downvotes. It's less that the number of required close votes. Do you mean, that downvote should count as close vote, so that 3 users can close the question? If so, it's a bad idea. Close votes and downvotes are separate concepts and let it be so. – Danubian Sailor Jun 18 '14 at 13:29
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    No, because question quality is a different metric from on-topic-ness. They are often correlated, but not the same thing. – Martijn Pieters Jun 18 '14 at 13:29
  • @JonW: stackapps, my account. – Won't Jun 18 '14 at 13:49
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No, this is not a good idea, for (at least) two reasons:

  • question quality is a different metric from on-topic-ness. They are often correlated, but not the same thing. Questions can be badly formulated but not off-topic, or of great quality, but still very much off-topic.

    We have plenty of popular questions on Stack Overflow that are closed as off-topic, and plenty of on-topic questions that really should have shown more research before being asked. The former need to be closed just as fast, the latter may deserve being answered, not closed faster.

  • It would give everyone super-close votes. Just vote to close and downvote, and you can get any question closed with just 3 users! We could just as well lower the vote-to-close count to 3 instead.

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    Your last point... it doesn't help your argument :) – Won't Jun 18 '14 at 13:52
  • @Won't: right, but then just lower the vote-to-close threshold. – Martijn Pieters Jun 18 '14 at 13:54
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    Why keep it simple? We're developers, damnit! – Won't Jun 18 '14 at 13:59
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    @MartijnPieters You're assuming everyone who votes to close also downvotes. But they don't, and they don't in part for reasons you touch on in the first bullet of your answer. – Servy Jun 18 '14 at 16:36
  • @Servy: I am certainly not making that assumption. Quite the opposite. Where did you get that impression? – Martijn Pieters Jun 18 '14 at 16:37
  • @MartijnPieters From your second point, which seems to be asserting that allowing downvotes to contribute to close votes will automatically just reduce the required number of close votes. That will only happen if people always downvote when close voting. It is not something that automatically follows if people sometimes close vote without downvoting. This means that the close vote threshold is only lowered for questions that are both off topic and of low quality, while keeping it the same for higher quality off topic questions. Presumably that's the point. – Servy Jun 18 '14 at 16:42
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    @Servy: No, I am asserting that people will quickly learn that adding a downvote will get something closed faster. They will make use of this fact to get it closed faster, even if the question does not, in fact, deserve to be downvoted. – Martijn Pieters Jun 18 '14 at 16:43

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