Recently, I saw a moderator on Android Enthusiasts telling folks to stop voting to close a question. The mod was clever to find out that the question is actually on topic, and I added that the title was attracting close votes. I then asked the moderator if he could clear the votes, by closing it and immediately reopening it:

Can't you clear the CVs? Even if not, you can close and the immediately reopen it (but that'd be kind of abuse to the system).

He then responded that it's indeed an abuse of the system.

Later, I saw another comment here on MSE:

Not a duplicate at all, used hammer to clear pending close votes. – Shadow Wizard

Which doesn't conform with what the Android Enthusiasts mod told me.

So, since moderators are supposed to he problem solvers, as well final decision makers when there's controversy, if one with a gold tag badge was allowed to do so, a ♦ moderator should definitely be allowed to do the same.

Is what the mod told me right? Or is it actually allowed to use one's binding close power to clear pending close votes?

  • 1
    Why would anyone want to clear pending close votes in the first place?
    – yannis
    Feb 9 '18 at 11:40
  • @yannis If they don't believe the given close reason applies, and there is absolutely no other reason to close it. Feb 9 '18 at 11:41
  • 1
    @Ano And? The question isn't closed, what's there to gain by clearing pending votes? Either the votes will expire, or the question will get closed - if that happens, vote to re-open it.
    – yannis
    Feb 9 '18 at 11:43
  • @yannis To remove it from the CV queue, where non-noticing users may mistakenly vote to close? Feb 9 '18 at 11:44
  • @Ano That only makes sense if the mod has lost confidence in the site's reviewers. That's a problem that won't be solved by clearing a couple of pending close votes...
    – yannis
    Feb 9 '18 at 11:49
  • @yannis Doesn't have to be a mod. Feb 9 '18 at 11:55
  • Wizards are above moderators ...
    – rene
    Feb 9 '18 at 12:14
  • @rene Hedgehogs are faster than wizards (aka a certain copycat) Feb 9 '18 at 18:24
  • renes are above wizards. Feb 10 '18 at 16:22
  • Was about to do it here just for fun, but I'm too honest for that. :-) May 8 '18 at 7:12

Clearing close votes this way is not the intended purpose of the diamond/gold badge powers, but I also wouldn't call it an abuse of the ability. I don't think it's a good idea to regularly do this, but there are rare cases where it can be a useful tool.

There isn't really a big difference between unilaterally reopening a closed question and clearing close votes before it can get closed. Both versions override the actions of the original close voters.

The big advantage of clearing close votes is that you don't have to babysit the question in case it gets closed for a bad reason. This makes it useful for cases where it seems inevitable that more "bad" close votes will arrive, e.g. for controversial questions that gathered a lot of attention. The alternative here is a close/reopen cycle, or a locked question, which both have serious disadvantages.

Clearing the close votes does pollute the revision history, in cases where the question wouldn't have been closed. It can also lead to a bit of confusion and discussion because it is a rather unusual action. In common situation I think it is a potential distraction that doesn't have enough advantage to justify its use.

I wouldn't use it in common situations, only in exceptional ones.

  • It's theoretically possible for a normal user to use their Chaos Emerald to close a question with, say, off-topic close votes as a dupe of a random target, then reopen it, to clear those votes. Should something be done about it? Feb 9 '18 at 18:26
  • @Sonic this one is obvious abuse, and yes, I would report such behavior. May 8 '18 at 7:13

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