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Some questions are closed by mistake and the current procedure for reopening is very... uhm... bureaucratic.

Take a look at this question for example.

We have 170 upvotes (the question clearly has value), and about ~70 comments-votes (combined) for requests to reopen the question, but zero reaction from users with the cast reopen votes privilege (probably because it didn't make it to the reopen queue). Clearly the current reopen procedure is not working.

Suggestions:

  1. Lower the "cast reopen vote" reputation requirement.

  2. Make close and reopen requirements asymmetrical. Closing should be hard. Reopening should be easy.

UPDATE: I was afraid this would boil down to discussing this particular question's fit for Stack Overflow, but I'm not here to appeal this question's closure. Please don't address the question's topicality, I was just using it as an example that community feedback to reopen a question is not working as well as it could.

It turns out I didn't look at the question history so I didn't know that the question had actually seen several reopen attempts.

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  • 10
    The question only has one line of text... This question lacks a minimal reproducible example, no effort for what the OP has tried... No error messages... And is requesting for a tool. It is clearly off topic, I don't think it's worth reopening. I agree with the closure in this case (p.s. this was closed by a former-mod single-handedly). Dec 27, 2021 at 8:51
  • 8
    Off topic questions can have high score, that's not conflicting. So the score is not relevant. Moderator decided the question is off topic several years ago, and that didn't change. Even if it will be reopened somehow, I'm 100% sure it will just be closed again. Bottom line: bad example, and like the answer said, lowering the reputation threshold won't help. On the contrary, we'll see much more "close wars", where users keep closing and reopening in endless cycles, and overall it's just waste of time. Dec 27, 2021 at 9:12
  • 2
    @U12-Forward FYI, the Q doesn't need an MRE. Deleting such a Q would also be wrong because it would destroy value.
    – bad_coder
    Dec 27, 2021 at 9:46
  • Does this answer your question? How do you reopen a closed question?. See: Comments ... and "Editing to reopen", and beyond, there's many ways to reopen; not based on reputation, if you don't have the reputation and won't use the other methods then simply move on to the next thing and leave it for someone else. --- Nothing in this request explains why the numerous other methods are insufficient and that the privilege level must be changed.
    – Rob
    Dec 27, 2021 at 15:57
  • This post was now deleted, and Makyen undeleted it, and now locked it with an obsolete historical lock. So now you aren't able to interact with the posts there, you can't vote to close, vote to reopen, edit nor could you even upvote or downvote on it. Dec 28, 2021 at 4:15

2 Answers 2

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That question clearly has value, but not on Stack Overflow. We have another site in the network, Software Recommendations, for such kind of questions, and the question you mention probably even fails to meet their question quality guidelines.

The question has been reviewed in the Reopen Votes review queue five times, every time with a (near-)unanimous vote. I'd say the current reopen procedure is working fine:

enter image description here

Also, why do you think lowering the reputation requirement to vote to reopen the question would change the outcome of those reviews? Perhaps more users would vote to reopen outside the review queue, but you'd need a couple of votes within 14 days (otherwise they age out).

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In the last reopen attempt dated Apr 19, 2021 I was actually the first reviewer to cast a "Leave Closed" vote.

As Glorfindel said, the question although successful is not on-topic on Stack Overflow and thus belongs on a different site of the Stack Exchange network. Understanding this fact requires knowing:

  1. There are several sites on the Stack Exchange network.

  2. Each site of the SE network has a Help center with a section titled What topics can I ask about here?. This one is specific to Stack Overflow.

  3. There has been a long debate over what to do with old questions that were asked before a given site (usually Stack Overflow) narrowed it's focus of what is on-topic. See for example Is closing old questions a gigantic waste of time and effort?

  4. For further reading on the subject I recommend the old-questions tag on Stack Overflow.

I consider the question you are inquiring about a good example of why the reopen review queue is effective. The question survived 5 reopen attempts, that indicates how easy it is to have a question reviewed for reopening and how knowledgeable reviewers tend to be in their decision.

So addressing your suggestions:

  1. lower the "cast reopen" reputation requirement.

The main problem with this is that reopen reviewers need to also be proficient with close voting criteria. It requires a considerable learning curve and lowering the bar on casting reopen votes creates more work for reviewers in the queues, so keeping both reopen and close privileges at 3k is leveled to the same necessary skill set.

  1. Make close and reopen requirements asymmetrical. Closing should be hard. Reopening should be easy.

This overlooks the essential fact that Stack Overflow gets 6000 questions/day and there aren't enough voluntary reviewers to effectively handle the workload. Experience has shown that question closure requirements work better at the current thresholds, see Testing three-vote close and reopen on 13 network sites.

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