Somebody asked a question yesterday on Arqade, asking us to list all the possible commendation dialogues in Overwatch. I felt that, especially given that we were being asked to provide a list, the question was too broad. I wrote a tailored close vote reason to specifically express my concern for the question being a "list request" and "too broad", and within a short time, other users added their votes and closed the question.

I also believed that this question showed no research effort, so I downvoted, and posted another comment to explain that I was downvoting because they showed no research effort.

Eventually a moderator came upon the question. They commented to tell me that no research effort is not a close reason, and manually reversed the already-completed voting, to reopen the question.

Only after pointing out that this was my downvote reason, not the close reason, did the mod argue that in their opinion this question was not too broad.

At the end of the day, I feel that the said question is too broad. At least 4 other users have thought so, and I'm willing to wager that many more would agree, as the question was very quick to close. I am a bit confused, and perhaps concerned, that a moderator would so hastily override a community decision.

In this case, I do not even know if the moderator has overstepped their bounds, or if their opinion is actually the law of the site. In this case, I have even lost my ability to vote against the question, but this does not appear to be intentional (at least), so I would rather not concern it in regards to the question.

Does Stack Exchange promote the discretion for moderators to override a hard-written close vote? And if it does not, in what context does it allow the networked sites to permit the internal moderators to do so?

I am not looking for a technical answer, given that past observation implies they can do it whenever they want. I am asking for the policy reason for when a moderator can legitimately override a community decision such as a close vote.

  • 1
    What you're missing is that there's no "overriding". It's just that a mod is more trusted than you, so they can clean your vote. If people agree with you, you can clean theirs. You should bring this to [meta.arqade] if you want a constructive discussion that's fruitful. Other than that, this just only reads as a complaint: There is so much digging up context, the rules differ slightly in different communities, and note that the mod is only against your version (interpretation) of the rules. There is no "official SE rule", unless it's said by someone like Shog.
    – M.A.R.
    May 29, 2016 at 11:15
  • 1
    I think your disappointment and concern about the outcome on that question is understandable.. but you should raise this on the Arqade meta site, rather than here. MSE is only for questions that pertain network-wide. Incidentally, a slightly less accusatory tone might lead to a better outcome. I hope you'll take this in the spirit intended: as a constructive suggestion rather than as criticism. Finally, I think you've misunderstood the comment "that's cause for a downvote. Not a close vote" - the "that" was referring to your comment about "no research" rather than the "too broad" part.
    – D.W.
    May 30, 2016 at 5:31
  • 1
    This is not an Arqade specific question since this is not about the question itself but about the concern regarding a moderator overriding the community. May 31, 2016 at 13:41

2 Answers 2


A moderator didn't override the community, a moderator overrode 5 individual users that closed the question. Those five might be representative of the community, or not. We don't know what the rest of the community thinks about this particular question as they haven't voted on it.

Common reasons to do this as a moderator are e.g. when the close voters are simply wrong about the rules of the site. A good example are questions about programmer tools on Stack Overflow, every so often someone will try to close them because they don't know they're in scope.

Sometimes the users voting to close misunderstand the question, a moderator then would immediately reopen after a quick edit.

Essentially, a moderator should override close votes when those users got it wrong.

The ability to override any close votes is an intentional moderator ability, and there are good reasons to use it. It's also something that a moderator should be careful with.


Each moderator has their own style, and moderators are encouraged by the Stack Exchange network to exercise their own judgement. They are given their supervote on close/re-open because SE (on Beta sites) and/or their community (via election on graduated sites) trusts them to use it.

Irrespective of whether this particular question is too broad and should be closed (that would be better discussed on Meta Arqade), what you are seeing here is not a moderator overriding a community decision, but five members of a community voting for closure and one moderator exercising their super-vote to re-open. All six people are voting the way that their judgement leads them to.

Arqade seems to have about 350 users with the cast close/re-open votes privilege, and at least two other super-voting moderators, who are able to exercise their judgement on that question so I think you should have confidence that once more close/re-open votes have been cast upon it, then what you see will more closely resemble a community decision.

The answer to:

I do not even know if the moderator has overstepped their bounds, or if their opinion is actually the law of the site

is neither: the moderator has a supervote, their supervote can be reversed by 5 user votes or one supervote from another moderator.

  • I thought you and four others used your vote to close and the moderator used their vote to re-open, and the other 350 or so Arqade users with that privilege have not yet exercised it. If you want to go into specifics of an Arqade question and the voting that has occurred on it then I think Meta Arqade is the place for your question.
    – PolyGeo
    May 29, 2016 at 5:40
  • I close a lot of questions as too broad, especially those asking for lists or recommendations. Even if you had linked to your example question here, I think we who are not signed up to Arqade would prefer not to interfere with the workings of that community, and that those who are would prefer to review that question within their community.
    – PolyGeo
    May 29, 2016 at 5:56
  • You still have not provided a link to where that was said, so you are asking people here to comment on something with inadequate context. Your question here says the moderator said "no research is not a close reason" which I think is correct. Your question here also said "the mod argue that in their opinion this question was not too broad" - which I think is their call.
    – PolyGeo
    May 29, 2016 at 6:07
  • 2
    It is only my reading, and I am not a user of Arqade, but I do not see that mod saying that "too broad" is not a valid close reason, only whether they believe it applies to that particular question. You really need to be discussing this on Arqade Meta.
    – PolyGeo
    May 29, 2016 at 6:42
  • 2
    Perhaps re-read my answer because that is my generic answer in the context of the Stack Exchange network. I'll leave it to others to discuss with you what you may mean by a "hard-written close vote".
    – PolyGeo
    May 29, 2016 at 6:53

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