There is a close war on one of the questions on Stack Overflow. My question here is about the proper course of action to take. I would think the answer would be applicable site-wide, which is why I did not post this on MSO.

In the past I've seen other posts that have had a banner indicating that the post has been locked, and that the content is being discussed on Meta. According to the faq, What is a “locked” post?, a close war would count as a content dispute and therefore should be locked:

Some examples of when a post might be locked include:

  • A question that gets opened and closed repeatedly many times without achieving community consensus on whether it should stay open or closed.

I understand that I can flag the disputed question for moderator attention, but should I also create a related post about it on MSO? I am more or less a bystander, and don't necessarily feel I can give the topic justice. (Admittedly, I did participate in the close war though.)

What else can be done?

  • I have flagged the SO question for moderator attention. The related meta discussion is here. – chue x Jul 29 '14 at 1:02

If the community is so split on a question that it can't decide if it should be open or closed, then yes, you certainly should create a Meta question about it. If not you, someone should.

Likely, there's already been a lot of arguing in the comments on the question, which isn't really a good place to argue about a question's topicness. Meta provides a much better venue for posting more detailed responses on why something is on- or off-topic. Whenever a moderator gets around to responding to your flag, those comments will very likely be purged.

Even if you are not all that interested in taking it to Meta (either because you don't care enough or don't have a strong enough opinion), the minimal addition of a comment suggesting people take it to Meta is still helpful in making sure the community is able to hash it out and decide on the question's fate. Simply locking it for a content dispute is not useful if no discussion takes place to settle the dispute.

The greatest benefit of bringing it to Meta is that it gets the attention of even more people - people who might not have ever known about the question if it hadn't been mentioned. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes is what it takes to calm everyone down and come to a consensus.

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  • Thanks, I will attempt an MSO post and update my question above to point there. – chue x Jul 29 '14 at 0:45

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