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Currently, the system is largely in favor of voting to close a question, rather than leaving it open, for two main reasons:

  1. There is a "close" button on question posts, but no "leave open" directly available. If you feel a question must be left open, you need to go to the review queue (this is apparently "by design" - see this old post, but it is not explained why).
  2. There is no way to see the number of "leave open" votes cast, but you can see the number of "close" votes (see this other post).

The problem is, I often see questions that are initially wrongly formulated and look like off-topic question (typically, let's say, a shopping question - I'm primarily active on the electrical engineering site - that looks like "what chip would do [this thing I need]"). After a few close votes and a few comments indicating it's off-topic, OP edits the post and states he doesn't need a specific IC, but is interested in knowing, more generally, "how can I achieve [this thing I need]". Not off-topic anymore.

Then, from the review queue, users see that close votes have already been cast, read the post too quickly (being biased by the information shown), and cast additional votes and it gets closed. Really. They do that. And I want to scream "read carefully, it's not off-topic anymore"!

Leaving a comment does not work. I tried it a few times, it gets buried, and, if there were already a few comments posted, it is not even shown by default.

The most consistent way to solve this would probably be to show a "leave open" button at the bottom of posts for which there are close votes, and indicate the number "leave open" votes cast, like for "close". This would make the reviewers stop a bit before clicking "close", since there is not a single obvious path to follow anymore.

But maybe there are other ways, like clearly indicating that the post has been edited after close votes have started being cast.

How could we better balance "leave open" and "close" voting?

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    There is a "close" button on question posts, but no "leave open" directly available - because doing nothing (which is easier than clicking "close") means exactly that, no? – Oded Jan 24 '17 at 10:07
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    @Oded But I thought clicking "leave open" from review actually did something. Like if there is three such votes, the post is not shown in review anymore, which discourages additional close votes. Am I wrong? – dim Jan 24 '17 at 10:10
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    Well, I was responding to your point about the link on the post itself in the question page, not the review queues. In the review queues it does have meaning. – Oded Jan 24 '17 at 10:12
  • Then, to make it clearer, I assumed this hypothetical button to have the same behavior as from review. So, now, maybe the label should express something more clear, but that is another matter. – dim Jan 24 '17 at 10:14
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    If we do this, then why not replicate the whole review queue UI in the question page? The review queue UI is separate for a reason - lets keep it that way. The point of "keep open" in the review queue is to counteract someone voting to close - that's how questions get on to the queue, after all. – Oded Jan 24 '17 at 10:22
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This would make the reviewers stop a bit before clicking "close", since there is not a single obvious path to follow anymore.

I never vote to close a question because someone else did, so the number of close votes is totally meaningless to me. It merely indicates the status of the question at this moment.

Hiding that number or showing a secondary (functionally meaningless) number next to it to indicate the number of uses who wanted to keep it open doesn't help a bit in my decision to close it or not. If you want the secondary number to be actually functional: that is already declined here.

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    "I never vote to close a question because someone else did". This is what everybody should do. I can guarantee this is not what everybody does. – dim Jan 24 '17 at 10:11
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    So why do you think that secondary number changes that? – Patrick Hofman Jan 24 '17 at 10:13
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    Because if people are currently biased by the number of close votes (which they are), they will also be biased by the number of "leave open" votes, and it will balance itself. – dim Jan 24 '17 at 10:15
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    You think they are biased. – Patrick Hofman Jan 24 '17 at 10:21
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    "Leave open" votes aren't functionally meaningless; they don't directly counteract close votes but they do kick a post out of review – Cai Jan 24 '17 at 10:57
  • Hey, you didn't have to delete that other answer of yours just because the downvotes, IMO it's totally fine and sometimes even good to have two different opinions. Unless you changed your mind about the idea itself? – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jan 24 '17 at 15:33
  • Basically it was the same answer, but I guess they didn't like my proposition, which is okay by me. Ah well, let's undelete it @Sha – Patrick Hofman Jan 24 '17 at 15:34
  • Hmm... on first and second look your answer appears as "no, it's not fine to have it", takes a third reading to get this is just your personal preference so you don't actually say "no, it's not fine to have it". Well, still worth keeping in my opinion. :) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jan 24 '17 at 15:37

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