I've been involved with closing a few subjective questions, and more often than not the owner replies with links to other similar questions that have stayed open for some reason or other.

In a few cases, these are the questions from back in the day where the rules were softer on these kinds of questions.

These questions are usually open due to momentum and others are closed before they were caught before they were able to gain momentum.

What are your subjective views on this?


5 Answers 5


My subjective views are that we need moderators to step in.

The 'open mafia' fights against closing not because the question is worth something, but because they are anti-'closer'.

I've even had some of them follow me around just to re-open any question that I vote to close. I don't begrudge them that, but I think that their motivation is skewed.

It should always take more votes to re-open something than it should to close it.

Questions start in an open state. Closing for well-defined reasons (which we do have) means that this question does not fit on Stack Overflow. Period. It may be a great question, but it doesn't belong here.

Yet we engage in a tussle where the same number of open votes opens the question back up, it accrues more votes, and then even though it's an out of bounds question, it gets to stay around because it accrued views and answers.

That's flawed; and it dilutes the system from those questions that should be here.

  • 3
    Great reply there George Oct 17, 2009 at 16:26
  • 3
    "It should always take more votes to re-open"... I think that's a good starting point, but I'd suggest that each time it moves between open and close states it should take more votes than the previous move. For example: 5 to close, 7 to reopen, 10 to reclose, 15 to rereopen, 22 to rereclose, 50% more per move in this example, or something.
    – retracile
    Oct 17, 2009 at 16:27
  • 3
    How do people "follow [you] around just to re-open any question that [you] vote to close"? Votes (including close votes) are anonymous. I guess if you comment but... don't comment. Just vote.
    – Tom Ritter
    Oct 17, 2009 at 16:28
  • 4
    Successful close votes aren't anonymous -- once it's closed, there's a list of the people who made the closure happen. Thus, while it's not possible to "follow" per se, you will see who voted to close if the question does get closed. (EG: stackoverflow.com/questions/1582120/…)
    – John Rudy
    Oct 17, 2009 at 16:35
  • 1
    Thankfully all the moderators come with bullet proof vests and gaining reputation isn't high on the priority list. I do agree, when closing and re-opening becomes an issue we do need to step in. When I see the questions on meta regarding questions I closed in this capacity I always respond, and I know on SU my decisions aren't always supported by the bigger community. Long term however the moderators to support each other as well and do back each other up, even when reversing decisions. The system is not perfect, and with the size of SO it may be time for rep limits are revisited. Oct 17, 2009 at 18:41
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    Regarding the ability to "follow" closers... You can't track votes very easily, but you can certainly track comments. As a result, I've taken to leaving fewer and fewer comments when voting to close; it reduces the drama involved dramatically.
    – Shog9
    Oct 17, 2009 at 18:46
  • @Shog9 I think I'm going to start doing that. What I normally do is Edit, and then if I don't think it should stick around even with the edit, I'll vote to close and leave a comment why. Perhaps I should nix the comment part. Oct 17, 2009 at 20:32

close the referenced questions also

as for the open/close wars, perhaps an incremental cost would be in order, i.e. it initially takes 5 votes to close a question, then 5 votes to reopen it; next cycle it should take 6 votes to close it and 6 votes to reopen it, then 7, etc.

each time through the cycle the open/close faction has to recruit one more vote

after a while, the community bot can just delete the question as 'churn' ;-)

  • +1 - Add in a flag for moderator attention on the referenced questions as well. Oct 17, 2009 at 19:45
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    Good suggestion, although I think the increment should happen at each open or close (5 to close, 6 to reopen, 7 to reclose, etc.). Oct 18, 2009 at 2:48

Vote to close the questions used to defend questions that should be closed?

Or vote to migrate them here?

(Might make sense to add a comment to the target question to point out that it is being used as justification for undesired behaviour along with the vote to close/move.)

  • that looks like a question, not a suggestion. Be decisive! Oct 17, 2009 at 18:26
  • @Steven - yeah, yeah. It's a tentative suggestion; seemed a bit too obvious to me, so I figured there may have been some counter argument I wasn't seeing. So, it's a suggestion, but also an invitation to discuss it.
    – retracile
    Oct 17, 2009 at 18:52

Close and point the user to this question here on Meta.

Regarding my opinions on this ... I tend to agree with George Stocker that there are a number of high-rep users who really want questions to not get closed for practically any reason. They don't grok that closures are good for the site.

So I begin to wonder: At 3,000 rep, we can vote to close and reopen. Perhaps the rules should change a bit? Maybe up the rep needed to vote for reopen (5,000)? Perhaps keep it at 3,000, but double the required votes to reopen? (In other words, 5 votes closes, 10 reopens?) I'm not sure -- but I'm open to suggestion on what the right answer there is.


Another idea: What if voting to reopen cost some rep? Say 30 or 60 points or something -- enough that 3k users will think twice before voting? Would this provide some counter pressure, or are the people re-opening undesired questions significantly higher in rep?

  • Or how about that it costs X rep to vote to reopen, but you get half back if it is reopened Oct 17, 2009 at 16:52
  • I wish this was getting more upvote love. I actually think this may be the right answer to the problem.
    – John Rudy
    Oct 17, 2009 at 19:55

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