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It can take too long to reopen a sufficiently improved question on many sites in the network. This is discouraging to new users that have taken the time to consider feedback and make improvements as requested.

Gold tag badge holders should be trusted to wield a reopen-hammer for questions not closed as a duplicate similar to the way the dupe-hammer has been implemented.

Their site experience and subject expertise should easily be sufficient to judge the suitability of an on-hold question that has been edited.


This request is deliberately limited to reopening only to progress the "goldhammer" implementation in a lower-risk way than simply extending it to all close reasons immediately.

(It is also a little disheartening to encounter reopen reviews that fail to reopen improved questions where a gold-holder has voted to Reopen, but sufficient users without tag expertise have voted to Leave Closed.)

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    +1 for the suggestion. We are encouraged to put unclear questions on hold fast - so they get improved and reopened - before they get not very on-target answers. We should give the same encouragement for re-opening them fast, when they get edited and improved. – ypercubeᵀᴹ May 1 '18 at 12:24
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    @ypercubeᵀᴹ but that's what the reopen review is for. If questions which should be reopened are not being reopened, the problem is with review, and we should encourage review more, e.g. change the top bar icon to something more.... inviting. Or give more badges, etc. – ShaWiz May 1 '18 at 13:14
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    Reopen review is not as reliable as one might wish on many occasions (see question). People seem to be more inclined to Leave Closed as a starting point. New top bar has reduced the number and speed of reviews in my estimation. Moderator tools for reviewing reviewers are also a bit limited, and time-consuming. – Paul White May 1 '18 at 13:17
  • Why are duplicates excluded? – Clint May 1 '18 at 16:32
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    @Clint Because users with a gold tag badge can already re-open a question that was closed as duplicate with just their vote (if the question is using a tag for which they have a gold tag badge). – kiamlaluno May 1 '18 at 16:56
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Agreed!

In my opinion this fits nicely with the new, new, be-nice mantra. Specifically, it allows trusted users to unclose a question that has been so improved as to be simultaneously useful to both the OP and future visitors.

Quickly unclosing a question once the desired action has been taken by the OP is certain to have the desired effect of reflecting the welcoming attitude taken by many StackExchange users, and may go quite a long way!.

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This sounds like a very risky proposition if implemented without proper constraint. I've already seen lots of disagreement between users about if a certain question should be closed. Arming everyone with multifunctional hammers could end up starting some nasty close/reopen wars, with one user having the power to reopen a question while 5 others think it should be closed.

Closing a question of a gold-badge user also just becomes impossible if he can just hammer it open all by himself. That's a recipe for trouble.

If this were to be implemented, I'd like to see the following constraints as a minimum:

  • Hammers work only for the first time a question gets closed. If it gets closed again, it can't be hammered open.
  • Hammers are only valid the day the question got closed, and are only valid on questions that are less than a week old. Old closed questions can't randomly get hammered open, they need to go through the queue.
  • You can't self-hammer. If your own question got closed, you're out of luck.

Note that I do have a totally different proposition to make the reopen system more user-friendly here on MSO. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but we shouldn't implement both imo

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    Yes I agree proper controls would be needed but we should not be too conservative and afraid to try new things. The experience of implementing the original dupe goldhammer should be a useful guide. – Paul White May 1 '18 at 13:43
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    Good suggestions. I think it would also be useful to add an extra requirement: the reopen hammer can only be used if the question was edited after it was closed. The intended purpose is to allow rapid re-opening of questions that were improved in response to feedback, and no longer need to be closed. If the question hasn't changed, then I don't think we should allow one user to override the judgement of the 5 close-voters. – D.W. May 1 '18 at 22:23
  • Re time-limiting this: What is the specific problem you are trying to prevent with that limitation? If an old question gets hammered open, it can go through review like any other. – Kevin May 6 '18 at 1:42
  • @kevin The problem is that reopens with the hammer don't get reviewed. With old questions, it's likely few people even notice it got reopened, which means there's very little control. And there may have been lots of discussion over the old question, where the discussing parties have already moved on. Also, the reopen queue for old questions is fine imo, since it's old there's no reason to speed up reopening – Erik A May 6 '18 at 6:52
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    Reopens do get bumped, and on sites other than SO I think that's perfectly adequate. – Kevin May 6 '18 at 6:58
  • I'm very much SO-minded, but on other sites it might be less appropriate to time limit. I do think the queue is a good place for old questions, since experienced reviewers get to look at it first, and I believe on other sites, the queue is often pretty fast (though I don't have much experience or statistics) – Erik A May 6 '18 at 7:05
  • Closing a question of a gold-badge user also just becomes impossible if he can just hammer it open all by himself. He would only be able to do that one time. – Alex Mar 17 at 23:02
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I don't necessarily disagree with this proposal, but I see more in this one (Swing the gold hammer even more), where the feature it requested to grant the privilege to both close and reopen a question for any valid close reason.

Of course, it has it benefits to be able to reopen a question quickly when it is brought up to par, but it works the other way around too.

To me that is an important factor to have effective counter measures to bad questions coming to the site. It also prevents a single user to reopen a bad question, and then needing 5 new users to close it again.

  • Since I started answering questions on Database Administrators many years ago, I've come to the conclusion that even bad questions are better than no questions. And the vast majority of times, bad questions can be made into good or excellent questions once we take the time to understand the true motivation of the poster. Being able to quickly re-open a closed post that has been improved to the point where it's clear and concise will go a long way towards achieving the goal of answering questions and helping people. – Max Vernon May 1 '18 at 12:33
  • I don't disagree with that, as you can read in my answer. – Patrick Hofman May 1 '18 at 12:34
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    I don't agree with the ability to close a question for any reason. Many gold badge holders on Stack Overflow having the ability to close a question as "unclear" would do that for almost every new question the site receives. That is not a reflection of the question quality, but rather a reflection of many senior users impatience with new users. – Max Vernon May 1 '18 at 12:35
  • @PatrickHofman I'm not sure I understand your answer. Do you say that you agree with the proposal but you'd prefer even more power for gold badgers? – ypercubeᵀᴹ May 1 '18 at 12:36
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    If it deserves that vote, then that is good. It will give OP the opportunity to clarify. It will usually mean less downvotes since less visitors are coming by. It will prevent speculative answers, which don't help OP in any way. All gain. No loss. – Patrick Hofman May 1 '18 at 12:37
  • @ypercubeᵀᴹ Yep – Patrick Hofman May 1 '18 at 12:37
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I don't think this is good idea:

  • The non-dupe close reasons often don't require the user to be very skilled in the area of expertise the question is about. It's easy to see when someone asks for book recommendation, for example. So having gold badge is less relevant.
  • This has a risk of creating lots of friction among high rep users, who won't like their decision reverted so easily by someone who is not a moderator.

Those alone are enough, in my opinion, to not implement such a feature. There are other ways to improve the overall reopen process, e.g. creating dedicated chat rooms.

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    Your first bullet point is not clear to me - can you edit to clarify? How would giving gold tag badge holders the power to reopen immediately cause an issue for book recommendations? On the second point, it's not a question of 'reverting' - the situation has changed (an edit has been made) and a gold-tag expert should be well placed to judge if it is reopenable. Excessive friction has not been observed with the dupehammer implementation, and the same safeguards (mod flags on conflict) should be applied. Not every site has the scale or chat interest for a dedicated room to coordinate reopening. – Paul White May 1 '18 at 13:07
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    I don't like chat rooms, never use them. Meta Stackexchange is as chatty as I can stand. The idea of having to go to a chat room to reopen a question ... mwah. – Elise van Looij May 1 '18 at 13:09
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    @Paul Regarding first bullet, as I said "having gold badge is less relevant" - user with low tag score is usually as good a judge as user with high tag score, when it comes to non-duplicate reasons. (so I see no need to give gold badge holders any extra power) – ShaWiz May 1 '18 at 13:10
  • @Elise so don't. You can just visit the reopen review queue often, and reopen from there. Having a chat room is "extra", same way there are rooms dedicated to closing questions. (Dunno how many, but there are.) – ShaWiz May 1 '18 at 13:12
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    You're expecting gold-tag badge holders to vote to reopen book recommendations? Or other obviously off-topic questions? Have a little faith :) As cases for the status quo go, that is not very persuasive. Regardless, the point is that gold users can be trusted to make a good decision quickly, making the whole process more efficient and less prone to incorrect decisions. – Paul White May 1 '18 at 13:13
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    @PaulWhite so maybe notify gold badge holders of edits made to questions they voted to close, with the ability to opt out, and this way the questions will have better chance to "survive". But still, I don't think the gold tag badge justifies the power to reopen with single vote. – ShaWiz May 1 '18 at 13:27
  • Much of the same discussion happened over the dupe-hammer close and reopen, but ok: agree to disagree. – Paul White May 1 '18 at 13:30
  • @PaulWhite indeed. Cheers! – ShaWiz May 1 '18 at 13:31
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    There are users who could not like their question closed from a single user who is not moderator. The friction doesn't seem relevant. It's relevant that golden tag badges just mean I got many up-votes for my answers to questions using this tag, that eventually can be taken I am an expert on this tag field. – kiamlaluno May 1 '18 at 14:00

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