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The privilege for voting to close and reopen posts on private beta sites is supposed to be given out at 1 reputation, and for a while, it was. However, at some point, a bug was introduced: basically, close votes were refactored internally to be stored as flags (to allow users without close-voting privileges to cast "recommend closure" flags), and as the flagging privilege is not given out until 15 reputation, users with less than that became unable to cast close votes.

This creates a confusing scenario: the /privileges page says that a 1-rep user has the vote-to-close privilege, but they actually can't make use of that privilege until they have 15 rep, due to a bug in internal code.

What's that "internal code"? Well, according to the answer to a recent bug report reporting a related issue, the check for actually being able to vote to close checks for both flagging and closing privileges, and if the user doesn't have flagging privileges, it flatly assumes they don't have closing privileges either and doesn't allow the user to vote to close.

This is an inconsistency, and should be fixed. But I'm not sure how we should go about fixing it. Should we fix the bug directly and return to the original behavior of allowing 1-rep users to vote to close posts, or should we increase the privilege level to 15 rep?

In my opinion, we should opt for the latter, because back when the privileges were originally structured, only committers could access the site, which meant that the users already sort of knew what was on- and off-topic for the site as they participated in the proposal, so it made sense to give out closing privileges to all users. However, these days, anyone can access a private beta site (provided they go through the proposal page), so it might be worth requiring minimal experience in the site before they can decide what's on- and off-topic. Also, the answer to that bug report says that increasing the privilege level to 15 rep is a slightly simpler fix.

  • No point in marking this as a bug since - as you noted - there's already a bug report... – Shog9 Feb 23 '19 at 0:38
  • @Shog9 That bug is reporting something completely different. My bug is the fact that the close-vote privilege level is set to 1 reputation despite not actually being able to VTC until 15 rep. Try looking at the /privileges page of a new private beta site. – Sonic the Masked Werehog Feb 23 '19 at 0:51
  • Then it doesn't need discussion! Fixed. – Shog9 Feb 23 '19 at 1:06
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Raising the privilege to 15 is the easy solution here.

And since it's Friday evening, easy is all I have the patience for.

Henceforth, close voting on private betas will be documented as a 15 reputation privilege.

This also fixes the other bug you linked; users won't have access to or be shown tasks in the Close Votes queue until they've earned the privilege.

FWIW: almost nobody ever used this privilege even when it did work. I counted 25 close votes raised during private betas by users with under 15 rep... In the entire history of the network...

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I think we should increase the reputation requirement to 15 reputation.

The problem with only requiring 1 reputation is that any random user who comes across the Area 51 proposal and has absolutely no experience at all with Stack Exchange is able to join the site and start closing and reopening stuff. While I like the rep requirements being low during the private beta... users should have done something to earn this right, either on the site or somewhere else on the network where they got 200+ rep. And not just to prevent abuse, also to prevent well-intentioned users who just have no idea what they're doing.

Users with the association bonus should have a reasonable amount of experience with Stack Exchange and I trust them to help these sites while their exact scope is still being defined. They should know the consequences of closing and reopening questions. Additionally, if a user has earned 15 reputation on that specific site, they probably understand the basics of how Stack Exchange works and have already participated a fair amount. They should be able to help define what's on and off topic.

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