I am going through some old content on Stack Overflow and voting to close. For example, questions that are specific to one person's homework and may have been resolved with a simple typo fix or something. Or exam preparation study recommendations, e.g., How does one prepare for the ColdFusion 9 ACE exam? (yes I know the "meta effect" will likely take care of this one shortly).

Some of the questions I run into I have already seen some time in the past, and voted to close long ago. I understand that close votes expire (I have read Why do close votes expire?) and my original close votes had indeed expired. However, this seems to prevent me from ever voting to close that question again. Even years later.

I raised a moderator flag for some of these, and some worked but I also got a rap on the knuckles from a moderator with the note "declined - Please use standard close votes or close flags for this instead of flagging for moderators." Yes, I would if I could, but the system no longer lets me. Since I have vote-to-close rights on SO, I don't have the ability to use a "close flag". If I want to tidy these questions up (and I do; you can discuss my OCD+deletionist tendencies in the comments), flagging is my only option.

Can there be an expiration period for expired close votes? I guess I can see why close votes prevent one from repeatedly voting to close after their vote expires. But say, a year after a close vote expires I should be able to vote to close the question again.

  • 5
    Especially with the new gold badge dupe hammer this is more annoying... I would have managed a complete close earlier but can't revote Jul 17, 2014 at 20:57
  • I've had moderator flags declined for this reason too. Yes, I would vote to close, except I already did and it expired a long time go! :/
    – user163250
    Jul 17, 2014 at 22:17
  • 8
    This really begins to make sense when you consider that the site changes over time. I might have "wrongly" voted to close a post 2 or 3 years ago, but when the rules change, why should my "mistake" then prohibit me from closing a question that is now legitimately off-topic. There needs to be a way (other than meta or chat) for 3K users to highlight questions that need community moderation of some sort. Jul 18, 2014 at 0:57
  • 8
    On lower volume sites, where one can sometimes fail to muster enough people doing reviews, things that should be closed sometimes aren't able to... and once you take out the few people who do do reviews, it becomes even harder to close it when it gets another close vote on it again (for the flip side, this should be true of reopen votes too).
    – user213963
    Jul 20, 2014 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


This is no longer the case. Close votes age away at a more consistent rate (starting at 14 days) and, once aged away, are "re-castable". See: Age close votes after 14 days, regardless of views, allowing recasting

Allow re-casting votes that've aged away after 14 days. That is, 14 days (use the same site-configurable value used in #1 here) after your vote has aged away, you're free to cast the same vote again.


This prevents vote wars. The theory is that if it wasn't strong enough a reason to close before, it still isn't. This really does make sense even if it is occasionally a minor issue.

Imagine a situation where half the site likes a question and the other half doesn't. Without this rule, one side could vote to close and the other side could immediately vote to re-open. The question would just go back and forth indefinitely being closed and open half the time.

This doesn't benefit anyone and preventing a re-close from the same people prevents this from occurring. Note that if it is on a well moderated small site, the moderators should be aware of the VtC going on and should be able to push it along if it simply isn't getting enough attention and bleeding off votes too quickly. Similarly, if it is a larger site, then there should be a lot of close votes available other than yours so if it really deserves to be closed, anything that gets it in front of people's eyes should help get it closed.

Moderators can also always close it directly, even if the community is out of usable close votes for it, so this rule generally isn't really a problem that can't be worked around where as vote wars would be a far bigger issue.

I guess the real question should be "what has changed since I last voted to close?" If the post has been edited, then certainly it makes sense to be able to close again, though that might open the door to abuse by editing the post just so you can VtC.

Perhaps over time the scope of the site drifts and the question really is no longer a good fit. In that case, there may be historical references worth preserving and a lock may be in order which really means a mod should probably look at it.

Probably the most likely issue would be if a better version of the question has come up and it should really be marked as a duplicate to a new canonical answer. In that case, I could see an argument for allowing close as duplicate votes for closing to a question that are more recently altered than the previous close vote. (Regardless of being 3 years or 3 hours.)

  • 5
    Your answer definitely addresses the short-term need for a close vote to not be allowed again. But I don't see the harm in allowing a new vote to close much later on. Waiting 6 months to a year to be able to vote to close again on a question should still avoid close wars.
    – user194162
    Jul 21, 2014 at 16:06
  • 2
    What about questions with views just above the age-away threshold, but still quiet enough to drop close votes from expiration?
    – random
    Jul 21, 2014 at 16:08
  • @random - is that a frequent occurance on the large sites? On the smaller ones where I was most aware of it happening, it isn't that hard for a moderator to notice such things. I wasn't aware of questions regularly aging out if they aren't borderline on sites that have enough activity that a moderator can't follow everything. Jul 21, 2014 at 16:20

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