Currently, if a question gets put 'on hold' or is 'closed', the user is asked to edit the question so that it conforms to the website's guidelines.

The problem with this system is that it assumes that moderators are always right. Maybe in the box that says whether a question is 'closed' or 'on hold', there could also be an option to challenge the decision?

If a user wanted to challenge the decision, they would be required to write why they think the decision was wrong and submit it. After it's submitted, the challenge would be sent to a random group of moderators from around the Stack Exchange network.

If they vote that it isn't against the rules, then that would override the original decision.

  • 7
    Don't mix up moderators with users with moderation privileges.
    – rene
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:38
  • 1
    ^^^ status-completed
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:38
  • 1
    sending questions around the network seems a really weird idea. Suppose a question about apple on Stack Overflow would end up on Cooking.se?
    – rene
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:42
  • 2
    @Cole - You assume moderators close the majority of questions, in reality normal users, close the majority of questions. A moderator only gets involved if something unusual happens or its clear cut case of say the question being a duplicate of another question. A "challenge" system isn't require to get a question reopened. "After it's submitted, the challenge would be sent to a random group of moderators from around the Stack Exchange network." - So allow moderators that don't know anything about the topic have a say. There is a reason moderators are community elected per site.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 2:20
  • To those who closed the question: This isn't the same thing. Those questions talk about existing methods, this one talks about introducing a new feature. Ironically their decision illustrates why a system like what I've suggested should be in place.
    – Cole
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 18:35
  • You've already been told, by the answers here even, how to challenge the closure of your question. It's not a duplicate, you say? Edit your question to clarify why it's not a duplicate. You'll get much more traction by editing that information into your question than you will by commenting it. Editing gets new eyes on a question by bumping it to the top of the "active" tab- Commenting doesn't have this effect.
    – Kendra
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 19:15

3 Answers 3


You "challenge" the decision by editing your question to make it clearer why that close reason is wrong or doesn't apply to your question.

Editing your question puts it into the reopen queue for users to examine and decide if it should be re-opened or not. This is your "challenge" feature.

Note that almost all users on each site are "moderators" to one degree or another. Users with 3k or more reputation on a site can vote to close a question as off-topic. (The same users can vote to reopen a question if they find it should not have been closed or has been edited to be on-topic.) In most cases, it takes 5 users with this rep or more to close a question. The only exceptions are diamond moderators (users with a diamond after their username) and gold tag badge holders in the case of duplicate closures.


Chances are, the moderators closed the question for a reason. That reason is listed there, in a banner under the question.

More often than not, it's a simple misunderstanding. The question was off-topic, or wasn't a good fit for the Stack Exchange format - it could've been opinion based, broad and so on.

Here are your first options:

  • Ask for clarification. You can leave a simple comment on your question that was closed, and hope that someone will explain it to you. Various users have close and reopen votes, which allow them to act on questions as they see fit.

  • Communicate on meta. You can make a post asking for clarification regarding your question, and what was wrong, or right with it. Make sure to be respectful, and calm - aggressively written posts will not help your cause, and won't earn you the result that you seek.

  • Edit and improve your question. There are various review queues that users can see to determine whether a question should be reopened. Edit, and your question will be seen.


This is already allowed, once a user reach 15 reputation points:

After the flag is submitted, it reach the moderators queue on the same site, where any moderator, not only the one who closed, can pick it up and if the first moderator (or group of high rep users) were wrong, reopen the question.

As for "moderators from the whole network" that's not possible and should not be possible. Each site defines it own rules and what is on topic or off topic.

  • 4
    I am strongly against this. Chances are, that flag will be declined, make users angrier. contrary to the result that all of us want. It's much better to edit, leave a comment, or post to meta. After all, that's what's meta's for - to learn
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:43
  • @Zizouz212 we are all humans, even moderators. Sometimes questions do get closed wrongly, so I am giving a possible way of action in such a case. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:47
  • 6
    I would dismiss this flag as "Flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that require their intervention". This is something that the community should handle in the first place, I think going to meta is the correct option. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:47
  • 6
    Eh, as a moderator, I'd probably decline that flag, because that's not what flags should be used for. It's something that can, and should be handled by the community on meta.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:47
  • Relevant from MSO: Flag to reopen (suggested by the help center) declined
    – Kendra
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:49
  • 4
    @SimonForsberg Note however that while <3k-rep users can flag to close (sending a question into the Close Votes review queue), the only way they can flag to reopen is by raising a custom moderator flag. I've had to do this on sites where I have <3k: see a question that needs reopening, can't VTRO or send it to the Reopen Votes review queue, flag for mods. So in that sense it's not "Flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that require their intervention"-dismissable. I've also reopened questions and marked such flags helpful on the site where I moderate. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:52
  • @randal'thor If they edit the post, it will be sent to the reopen votes queue. If the sole purpose of that flag is "I don't agree with this!" - that's a 100% decline right there. If I'm feeling in a good mood, I might decline the flag with a custom message saying "Go to meta, and learn". What happened to comments, and respectful meta posts? Those are much more educational, practical for the user and the entire community.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:55
  • @Zizouz212 What if the post was incorrectly closed and doesn't need any editing in order to be worth reopening? Say the user who finds this has <2k rep and isn't the OP; should they suggest a trivial edit and hope it'll be approved, or simply raise a flag for reopening? Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:57
  • 1
    @randal'thor Again go to meta. I'm fairly sure that if the post was incorrectly closed though, it would at least have some visibility to the community - are you telling me that not a single person will cast a reopen vote to throw it back into the queue? But again. Go to meta :)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 18:58
  • 1
    @Zizouz212 we are already in meta. Meta meta. Can't be more meta than that. And rand is moderator as well. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:00
  • 1
    @ShadowWizard Well, I don't think it's a horribly bad idea, but I don't think it's a good one either. The results of a flag are very... shaky. Moderators are different, different sites have different ways and policies in which to moderate and so on. Oh, and I meant per-site metas :)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:02
  • 3
    Sadly, it seem to hang one the site culture, the site traffic and the specific mod character. I can confirm that on multiple sites mods are perfectly fine in helping getting unneeded closures handled faster. I also can understand that some mods will instead simply decide they are entitled to say that they didn't sign up for moderation to handle such tasks. It really all weight on a case by case rule of conduit.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .