When a question is deleted the same vote-day as it was closed, refund the close votes cast on the question.

There are three situations where this comes up:

  • Question has a close vote or two, a comment tells the OP that this is off topic (or about issues with the question) and the OP self deletes the question.
  • Question is crap. It gets a bunch of fast close votes and down votes and then 3x fast delete votes from 20k users. The question is gone.
  • Question is deleted by moderator

In these situations, the close votes were either unneeded or a means to an end of getting rid of the crap (and if the close to allow the speedy delete votes wasn't done a moderator might have just nuked it). So, refund these close votes.

Part of the issue is that I sometimes find myself holding back on closing obvious crap (its at -4 and 3 close votes) because I won't be able to address other questions that need closing.

Or a question about career advice (close it quickly so it doesn't get any answers that make janitorial work later harder) close and comment? or just comment hoping the OP will self delete it? And if I just comment someone else might answer when its sitting at 4 close votes and I didn't close it...

A classic example of such where refunding the close votes spent is:

a rapid self delete

though having days where my close vote history looks like:

IMG: a day of close votes

or for the first 12 of my 24 daily close votes, five being deleted already:

enter image description here

and then a few hours later...

enter image description here

On sites where close votes or community moderation is a scarce resource, the ability to get back close votes of things that were closed and deleted rapidly can help facilitate better and more prompt (closing the question) feedback to the original poster and improve (or maintain) the quality on the site.

  • 4
    There are three situations where this comes up, third one being deleted by moderator. I have couple "flag templates" triggering such deletions almost daily
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 17:45
  • @iStimple FWIW refunding retracted votes doesn't feel fair because there's no way for system to tell whether retract was after voter realised their mistake or due to question being improved. Also, it would be open to abuse (I can think of few ways, for example to prevent question from being tweeted by bot). (Michael, you may consider including this note into request, to make sure that it won't slip unnoticed in if SE team decides to implement this feature)
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 10:47
  • 1
    Maybe I haven't been around long enough, but are there really that many bad questions that you need refunded close votes?
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 20:50
  • 1
    @Zibbobz within the past 24h, some close votes I've been involved with - i.sstatic.net/pdVKE.png i.sstatic.net/1u8bE.png i.sstatic.net/XfMhD.png i.sstatic.net/p2K7z.png - some where cross posts, some where just completely off topic. These aren't horrendously... there are others where it doesn't even get closed before it gets deleted. Chasing gnat's to this he had a day where 1/4 of his close votes were on things that were deleted the same day.
    – user213963
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 21:12
  • @Zibbobz and to start out today's voting period, that's my close vote in there - i.sstatic.net/18dOv.png
    – user213963
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 0:51
  • 1
    @Zibbobz and another that really was rather bad: i.sstatic.net/mZXAS.png - the point I'm trying to make here is that this does happen not infrequently. On smaller sites with fewer reviewers running out of close votes can cause issues with being able to handle questions promptly and then leads to mods needing to take action doing closes (which gets many hackles up).
    – user213963
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 19:38
  • 1
    Okay, definitely significant evidence that this is not an isolated problem. Fair enough. And this proposal DOES make sense. Upvoted.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 19:43
  • 2
    @Zibbobz thank you. It is something that is sometimes difficult to see when you don't have 10k rep. Once you do have 10k rep, the profile > votes > closure tab suddenly lights up with pink for the deleted questions and you see them as i.sstatic.net/m7mhw.png - and it can be bit more apparent of how frequent of an event this is (which prompted me to write the proposal). So, thank you again for understanding based on my anecdotal evidence.
    – user213963
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 19:56
  • 1
    @TimPost I know you replied to this question last year. Could you provide an answer to this one as well?
    – durron597
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 18:01
  • I think that this is a good idea, but there should still be a limitation of some sort - otherwise it would be possible to get together with a few other people and form a "close squad". Since you'd get your close votes back and you know the Q would get closed you could theoretically close an unlimited number of questions.
    – Dustin
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 14:48
  • @Dustin to get the 'close squad' would take a substantial amount of work and would still be limited by the delete vote availability (which requires the question to be -3 score for 20ks to delete). As delete votes are not refunded, that caps the amount in a day - it still isn't unlimited.
    – user213963
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 14:50
  • 1
    Well then this is a great idea. Lots of terrible questions out there need closing.
    – Dustin
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


In the past day on Programmers I have had six votes on questions that were deleted the same day. That accounts for 6/24 = 25% of my votes for the day.

By lunchtime (US) we are 8+ hours away from resetting votes and typically get a few questions in need of quick closure. Sometimes these questions attract answers, even good answers (to bad questions), so closing them quickly is important. Our moderators leave those questions for the community to handle, but the community is out of votes.

Refunding these close votes is one way to give the community more votes to handle questions that need to be closed quickly but are currently unable to do so.

  • If they actually get good answers, and not just good considering the question, or upvoted despite not actually being good, seems editing the question is the answer. Admittedly, there's probably a reason neither the answerer nor any of the other visitors saw any use in editing the question most of the time... and the answer is rarely anywhere near actually good. Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:21
  • 1
    @Deduplicator of the day that I showed recently above, only half the questions had actually gotten closed indicating that they were either deleted with mod super powers (FWIW, P.SE mods tend to close before deleting), or deleted by the OP. A single upvote on an answer prevents the OP from being able to delete their post suggesting that there were no good answers either.
    – user213963
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:36
  • @MichaelT: So the average day is even worse if one digs deeper, and the good answers snowman mentioned even rarer? Well, that corresponds better with my experience than the answer, unfortunately. Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:42
  • 1
    @Deduplicator Digging deeper tends to mean digging into old posts. All of those examples were new posts. Really bad new posts. "3 questions with new activity" - load page, cast close votes, down votes, load page, they've been deleted. The day with 9 that I comment on (the day before) two groups of three were sequential posts. No digging needed - just loading the front page (the links (all 10k) can be seen in this chat message ).
    – user213963
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:48
  • 1
    That set of 9 to not dig in chat: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - notice 4, 5, 6 and 7 8 9 are consecutive posts.
    – user213963
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:54
  • 1
    Please keep in mind that I am talking about questions where I reach for the close button, not the edit button. I can and do edit questions to be better quality when the effort level is reasonable. But there are plenty of exceptionally poor quality questions that really do need to be closed and deleted because they are not salvageable.
    – user255171
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 23:42

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