I think in a SE site, someone has picked on me by voting to close all my questions. This has been the case for more than one month. As a result many (not all) of my questions are closed. Flagging a post does not show serial voting and moderators may say anyone has the right to vote. But it seems unfair when someone picks on a user. When first close vote is given in many occasions other reviewers trust the first voter and close the question. This is because, when someone considers a question to find a reason to close it, they will find a justifiable reason in most occasions.

When the specific user sends the first close vote, almost half of the questions are closed. Then when I vote to reopen them, half of the closed questions are reopened. I think the vote of first voter is decisive. btw, it seems frustrating if some user picks on another one to close his questions, which is clearly personal. It is fair if there are different first voters for some user's questions. But if the first voter is the same for all of them over long time, is it normal?

I do want to consider my case. But what Can someone do in a similar situation? When the user sees the the first close voter to all of his questions is the same?

I think there must be a software limitation for serial close voting (as the first close voter to a particular user's questions), so that a particular user can send one or two close vote as the first voter to a specific user over a period of time. Or the first close vote be hidden until a second one is received normally. Or at least there should be a private message system so that one can talk with a moderator about it privately (flaging does not provide a discussion environment). It does not seem fair that someone can send a serial close votes to the same person, In my case every week a specific user opens my questions and sends a close to all of them.

I do not request to consider my case, so it does not help if I say which user did this in my case, I'm requesting to add some software feature which prevents this automatically, as is the case for serial downvotes (which are reversed automatically).

  • 10
    What are serial close votes? Given that it requires 5 different users (or more) to close a question, why does it matter if someone does vote to close a bunch of questions that a specific user has asked? In other words - how is this an actual problem that needs solving?
    – Oded
    Oct 6, 2014 at 12:01
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    A user can't decide to revenge close vote you - they'd have to get at least 4 other users to collaborate with them, you can also always get 5 people to vote to reopen your question. Oct 6, 2014 at 12:02
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    "As a result many (not all) of my questions are closed" - no, not because of one user. Did you consider that perhaps the questions deserved being closed by the community?
    – Oded
    Oct 6, 2014 at 12:02
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    @Oded: Reviewers on close votes often simply agree with the previous close vote, on questions. Sure, that'll get them review-banned, eventually, but the votes still exist. (Maybe review-banned users should have their pending votes invalidated)
    – Cerbrus
    Oct 6, 2014 at 12:03
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    In short - if you can show that you have been targeted by a group of users and that the closures are not warranted, then we can talk.
    – Oded
    Oct 6, 2014 at 12:03
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    Also - you only have one closed question, and it's a dupe. Oct 6, 2014 at 12:03
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    I purged most of the comments here because they were not terribly constructive and meandered through a series of tangential topics about the user's personal background and where the right place to post this was. Please keep the comments constructive and focused, folks.
    – Laura
    Oct 6, 2014 at 18:14
  • @Laura implementing the new code of conduct? :) Oct 6, 2014 at 19:46

4 Answers 4


First an foremost you are confusing features and the purpose of those features. Voting and Close-Voting have nothing in common except that voting is part of the name.

  • Voting is anonymous and used to reflect a person's opinion on the quality of the question or answer
  • Close-voting is semi-public information and used to provide guidance and feedback to the user on the on-topicness of a specific question and how well it conforms to the scope of the site.

The serial voting script exists because of the very nature of voting on the SE sites. Since it is anonymous and based on someone's opinion, no-one (except for a dev who would have to go look in the database itself) can tell who you voted for. It is also impossible for anyone to invalidate votes (with exceptions of a dev who would actually have to modify the database). As a result, an automatic script is necessary to police and self-correct this kind of negative activity since neither moderators or the user community can do it themselves.

Close voting, on the other hand is 100% open and visible to "everyone". While normal users can't see directly who cast as a close vote until the post is closed, this information is actually public and available via DataExplorer. Plus, moderators can see who voted to close questions before they get closed. But the biggest difference is the community has the ability to self-correct misclosed questions. If there is a question that is wrongfully closed, it only takes 5 users to reopen it.

So in short, there is no need for such a script for close votes because the community can self-correct improper close voting. The only reason it is needed for voting (not close voting) is because the community can't undo voting that they feel are wrong, so self-correction is necessary for downvoting (or upvoting) that is contrary to the established rules of Stack Exchange.

  • Suppose I have 100k rep then open someone's profile and close-vote all of his questions. For sure there will be others who will confirm many of the close-vote and many of the quetion will be closed. If it is good I may start a close-voting adventure with another user! Oct 6, 2014 at 14:59
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    @MinimusHeximus: don't be surprised that if you did that a moderator came and asked you pointed questions about that behaviour, however. If you really were targeted by a user with a serial close-vote spree, and a moderator already talked to that user, it is usually considered a private matter. You'd not necessarily be informed about that. Oct 6, 2014 at 15:02
  • Yes, this is what I expect in the question above! An automatic way to prevent such adventure or some standard private message system to talk with moderators. btw, I intend to try this adventure! If anyone think it is bad he can find my other account and stop me! Oct 6, 2014 at 15:05
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    @MinimusHeximus if any user specifically target someone unfairly with close votes, it would be very visible to the community. That's the whole point, the serial-voting script is only necessary because the community cannot self-police themselves since no one can see the information. Oct 6, 2014 at 15:05
  • @psubsee2003 I don't think serial first close votes are visible. Oct 6, 2014 at 15:16
  • @MinimusHeximus: They are visible if they result in posts being closed.
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 6, 2014 at 23:13
  • @BenVoigt: It will but I meant nobody will understand that this is a serial. Oct 6, 2014 at 23:15
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    @MinimusHeximus: I'm going to give you one piece of advice on this topic, before I let the people who frequent math.SE handle it: If you want to be taken seriously, DO NOT threaten to attempt to deface the site, using your own or a sockpuppet account. As soon as you go that direction, you label yourself as the enemy of everyone who wants this site to work correctly, and you should not be surprised if no one tries to help you. Your comment above is the opposite of the right way to propose a test of the system.
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 6, 2014 at 23:30
  • @BenVoigt Where did I say that that account is mine? I do not want to hurt. Oct 6, 2014 at 23:31
  • @MinimusHeximus: Where? Right here: "If anyone think it is bad he can find my other account and stop me!"
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 6, 2014 at 23:33
  • @BenVoigt: Actually that account is not mine. I have another low rep account but I meant another account. Minimus Heximus is the only account I use now. Oct 6, 2014 at 23:34
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    @MinimusHeximus: Either you have a severe problem communicating in English, or you're lying. You said a moderator should find your other account to stop you. That's not talking about some account that is not yours; that is talking about your personal actions.
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 6, 2014 at 23:43
  • @BenVoigt: That was to avoid explaining that there is someone else with another account who can do this if I ask him. So I said my another account. no that is not really mine. Oct 6, 2014 at 23:48
  • @MinimusHeximus: Threatening to ask some unnamed high reputation user doesn't change the dynamic... you would still be the originator of intentional abuse of close flags. Don't do it. Don't even think it, much less talk about it.
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 6, 2014 at 23:50
  • @BenVoigt: When moderators do not understand there is really a problem by explaining the issue, the only way may be to warn them with another method. off-topic but: some experts warned Obama not to arm Daesh but he did not understand it until a Daesh showed that it should not be helped. Sometimes something more than talking is needed. btw, I do not threaten to do anything unfair. Oct 6, 2014 at 23:59

Since this feature request resulted because of supposed behaviour on math.SE, I'll try to share some information about the matter as one of the moderators there. This is meant to illustrate how unnecessary this feature is.

At the first stage you have claimed that a particular user has been serially voting to close your questions. In making this claim, you have to first demonstrate that this user is constantly voting to close your questions without regard for their quality. Since you have posted a total of 64 questions on math.SE (53 of which are extant, all deletions being self-deletions), it would take a user just two days to go through and vote to close each and every one of your questions. Since this campaign has been going on for over one month, one would then expect that the vast majority of your questions would have receive a close vote from this one user.

I do find 21 instances of close votes from this user. Of these, 12 questions were eventually closed, 7 didn't (or haven't yet) received the five necessary close votes, and 2 others were deleted by yourself. Far from subsequent reviewers simply following a herd mentality, it appears as though users are making their own decision on these votes. (I will add that of the 12 that were closed, only 2 have been re-opened, though most received reopen votes at some point. Again, this speaks against your implication that the first vote determines future votes.)

While these close votes are mainly clustered on your newest questions, even here there are numerous question that have not received a close vote from anyone, let alone the one user you believe is serially voting to close your questions. This is hardly indicative of serial and malicious behaviour. As such there is great doubt that a feature you envision would prevent the actions of this user, the one case you have brought up as a possible example of behaviour to be stopped.

Also, as others have stated, the system appears to be working as intended. The checks-and-balances of requiring multiple users to close a question is not being overruled by lemmings simply voting as the first user had done. This makes serially voting to close questions unlikely to achieve any real goals. Until a question is closed, the votes themselves don't really do anything. The one thing they do do, placing questions in the appropriate review queue, does not come close to guaranteeing that the question becomes close/put on-hold. (Contrast this to downvotes, which immediately effect the targeted user.)

Even in cases where the question does become closed/put on-hold, this can be undone by other users (and if you have enough reputation, you only need four other users to agree to reopen). And we see that users are employing their reopen votes (albeit probably not to the level that you would desire on your own questions).

With all this in mind, there is little need for extra controls to prevent users from casting close votes (first or otherwise) against questions by another specific user.

As an aside, your fixation on the actions of this one user can probably be summed up as confirmation bias. But there appears to be a larger group of users trying to tell you that your questions might need improvement.

  • 1. I'm requesting a feature. I have explained a probable issue and provided some ways to solve it. for example hiding the first close vote. 2. My problem is why a same user is the beginner in all the questions. This is not normal. Why Willie Wong is not the first close-voter for example? I'm requesting a feature to prevent this, Oct 6, 2014 at 18:24
  • 3 There seems to be no problem with the questions you provided as an example(which s not the thing I'm particularly talking about in this question) except that there is not context. btw, many of them have not context they ideas conjectures and so on. One cannot give the context why he gets an idea. A user may have many new ideas without any context. If a user want to know what I'm doing why I ask my ideas, why I do have a lot of questions motly similar they are clearly none of anyone's business. And such info will not help anyone to answer a question which is the reason Willie give for context Oct 6, 2014 at 18:24
  • 4. There are many similar questions which are similar and need your close votes . I have now 100 links at hand. (I recommend to close all of math.se questions so that everyone understand that they should solve their homework and question themselves) 5. for math.se: a clear math question is a complete question not needing any additional info. A math question which needs explanation is not a math question. 6. As mathoverflow does not accept low-level research-level questions one can ask them in math.se instead. Oct 6, 2014 at 18:25
  • btw, the question above is a feature request and has nothing to do with math.se. And I mathematicians can never help to create such feature. Otherwise I could ask it in meta.math which I'm not going to. Oct 6, 2014 at 18:25
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    @MinimusHeximus In response to you bring up a "probable issue" you have been told that this isn't in fact a problem in practice. In the event that someone does engage the the malicious behavior you're hypothesizing about, the system can already deal with it appropriately. Since the problem doesn't actually exist, we don't need to add solutions for the non-existant problem.
    – Servy
    Oct 6, 2014 at 18:51
  • @Servy: someone has checked and I know that no one understands anything and the system cannot monitor. I cannot disclose any info because mods may suspend the the user who performed the test in a se site. So do not talk about non-existing problem. Oct 6, 2014 at 19:02
  • @Arthur: It seems you do not want to accept that having the same user as the first close-voter in all of one's questions, while there are many similar questions, is abnormal and personal. I think se needs more close-cote attacks until you understand that this is a problem. You will understand in future ;) Oct 6, 2014 at 19:10
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    @MinimusHeximus So the example that you have provided has been clearly shown to not demonstrate the problem that you claim, but there is an example of it somewhere else that you're refusing to tell us, so entirely on the basis of this example that you're refusing to provide we shouldn't question the fact that this is a serious problem demanding a solution? Sorry, but no; that's not how the world works. So far you've failed to demonstrate that there even is a problem needing to be solved.
    – Servy
    Oct 6, 2014 at 19:17
  • The problem is clear: One user with enough rep can frustrate another user with close votes. The feature request above requests for a standard thing to prevent it. And there are examples which can show this. You have found one example. Oct 6, 2014 at 20:49
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    @Minimus: yet the one example we are discussing here disproves that there is a problem to be solved. Either give us a better example or stop claiming there is proof. Oct 6, 2014 at 23:20

But what Can someone do in a similar situation? When the user sees the the first close voter to all of his questions is the same?

There's a pretty simple procedure that you should follow in this scenario:

  1. Fix your questions. By editing them. Most close reasons have some guidance associated with them that should enable you to correct whatever problems led them to be closed. While not all questions can be made appropriate, many require only a little bit of input or adjustment in order to be acceptable. You may also find useful information in the comments under your questions - make use of this when editing.

  2. In case you skipped Step #1, go back and do Step #1. It's super-important.

  3. Everything shiny? Good. Now, use what you've learned fixing your past questions to ask a new question, making sure that it doesn't suffer from the deficiencies of your past questions.

  4. Is your new question still getting close votes? Even though there's nothing wrong with it? You did make sure there's nothing wrong with it, right? You didn't, say, ignore steps #1 and #2? Ok - then now you can flag your question for moderator attention and politely ask them to make sure no one is singling you out for personal reasons.

  5. Go to Step #3.

You'll note that most of these steps have nothing to do with what other people are doing. That's because most of the time, there's nothing anyone but you can do - either to cause or to correct this situation. Just voting to close your questions won't have much of an effect unless multiple other people also agree that your questions are problematic - so the best way to make sure your questions can't be "serially closed" is for you to make sure your questions aren't problematic.

In very, very rare cases, someone will try to abuse close votes or flags to harass someone whose posts aren't problematic, usually without actually causing any harm. If the moderators find out about this - and they can, close votes aren't terribly private - then they'll likely face some repercussions.

  • good tips. btw, monitor your site. there may be many users who will need to follow these tips. Oct 6, 2014 at 20:52

The only way seems to be deleting the account and re-enter with an new user account so that the specific user does not know you. I hope there is a better way be added in the se software for solving such problems.

  • 6
    We already covered no one is targeting you, you only have one closed question and it's a duplicate. The correct way to act if someone is targeting you is to ask better questions that would not get 4 other users to close them. If you really feel harassed - contact a mod. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:11
  • OK I'll find best questions in google and ask them next time so that everyone is happy. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:14
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    Yes, that'd be great. If you could do research before asking that would really help you, and us in the future. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:19
  • btw, I do not understand how this is related to serial close votes. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:21
  • 1
    It's not, it's discussed in the context of us not finding any serial close voting - the only close voted question on your account is a dupe - we were discussing why it was put on hold and how to prevent it in the future you can have a better experience next time in Stack Overflow. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:23
  • 1
    @MinimusHeximus it relates because if you ask questions without research you will garner close votes.
    – Savanna
    Oct 6, 2014 at 13:23
  • I;m resquesting a feature prevent in a situation explained in question. It is not user Minimus Heximus' problem. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:25
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    @MinimusHeximus in that case please find one user for which the issue happens. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:30
  • I know one. But disclosing it is is not related to the feature-request above. It is clear that such situation is possible. There must be something other than the answer above to prevent and stop it. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:33
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    @MinimusHeximus There is, it's the fact that it takes a full 5 close votes to close a question, not just one, so one user going around voting to close all of a user's questions won't actually do anything if those questions shouldn't be closed. In the event that the questions are closed, and you feel that the closure wasn't warranted, you also have plenty of tools available to you to deal with the situation.
    – Servy
    Oct 6, 2014 at 15:09
  • @Servy: Plenty of tools. I do not know any tool other than what is in the answer above! in flags mods do not consider the situation. About the four other close-voter usually are people in reviea who are too willing to close. You have enough rep in your use. Closevote 20 short questions which you think they are not bad. I'm sure many of them will be closed in review system (specially in some sites which homework question are frequent). Oct 6, 2014 at 15:15
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    @MinimusHeximus Sounds like you just don't like what the actual closure guidelines are and don't like the fact that your questions are being closed for actually meeting criteria for closure, in which case, the system is working as intended. Votes to close on questions that really don't meet closure criteria just don't get closed, and were it to happen, they'd have no problem getting reopened.
    – Servy
    Oct 6, 2014 at 15:18
  • @MinimusHeximus This question isn't closed. You can see the help center if you want a basic understanding of what the closure guidelines are.
    – Servy
    Oct 6, 2014 at 17:53
  • @Servy: The word "this" in his comment was a link, the target of the link is a question which is on hold
    – Ben Voigt
    Oct 6, 2014 at 23:21

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