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Please let me know when I’m running low on close votes!

If I vote to close a question (and I've already voted to close 12 questions that day), it requires me to go through all the steps of closing before it tells me I'm out of close votes. When it happens on a question that is an exact duplicate, that requires three extra steps to find out I can't vote to close it.

Request one of two three things:

  1. A "Close Vote" counter is left when you vote to close questions (in the same dialog box: you have x votes left today)
  2. Not let a user vote to close if they've reached their limit (clicking on 'close' will immediately pop up the 'You have no more votes' dialog).
  3. Grey out the 'close' when you are out of close votes.

Why does this happen? In the 10K tools section, I generally go through all the ones that are slated to be closed or reopened and either add my vote one way or the other.

  • I think this has been asked before... can't find it though. – fretje Feb 10 '10 at 14:21
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    There it is: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/18005/… – fretje Feb 10 '10 at 14:30
  • Technically mine is different because I propose a different solution. :-) – George Stocker Feb 10 '10 at 14:33
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    @George: Yes, but that is still only a proposition. The problem to solve is the same. – fretje Feb 10 '10 at 14:39
  • So should we change the format of feature requests? currently feature requests Require the feature request in the question and alternate/responses in the answer. – George Stocker Feb 10 '10 at 15:19
  • #1 is close (but not identical) to what I proposed, the other two are different. Further more, I want a warning before I'm out of votes, which my solution (and #1 here) would provide, but #2 and #3 would not. So I don't think this is a duplicate. – Shog9 Feb 10 '10 at 15:34
  • I thought the intention of meta was to centralize discussion about the same subject in one place? – fretje Feb 10 '10 at 16:07
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    @fretje: Yeah, but I'm not sure this is really the same problem - George is more concerned with reducing clicks once you're out of votes, while I'm more interested in finding out how many votes are left. Though again, #1 would solve both problems. – Shog9 Feb 10 '10 at 16:28
  • The same problem also occurs when you're trying to close the same question twice, i.e. you're not told about this until the very end. – Wim Feb 10 '10 at 19:21
  • @Wim - I've just noticed that you now get a message on the close dialog when you try to vote again. – ChrisF Feb 14 '10 at 16:18

I would still like to be able to see the reasons behind the other close votes though -- so perhaps the warning should be contained in the popup that has the radio buttons? Some piece of text could always be included at the bottom, say "You have N close votes left today." so I can decide for myself if this question is worth spending my last vote(s) on, before actually hitting the limit.

  • Great point! Even a Bordered warning inside of the dialog box ("You're out of close votes for the day") or a greyed out box when you click on it so you see the close votes, but are not able to act on them. – George Stocker Feb 10 '10 at 19:13

It's annoying, and takes several seconds out of your day, perhaps minutes if you spend a long time finding the duplicate.

But it's only once a day, maximum (unless you have a very poor memory...) and the close vote limitation isn't meant to be 'bumped' into - it's there to prevent overuse.

If you are regularly running into it, then you may want to reconsider your strategy.

For these reasons it is unlikely that you will be told where you are at. If it's important to you, then you can keep track using another system (greasemonkey might automate this for you).

But implementing it might encourage people to look for questions just to use the remainder of their votes.

Keep in mind that while this would have great utility for those that are at 10k reputation, and are actively working on keeping the site clean, the vast majority of open/close users are under 10k, and don't have moderator tools.

By showing them that they have open/close votes left they may feel that they should use them.

However, it's trivial to find closed questions and hard to find open questions that should be closed. So the net result is negative.

I would be fine with this if it was shown only to 10k rep people (perhaps on the tools page), and since 10k rep people need to close/open more frequently I would further recommend that they be given 24 or more votes per day so that the "limit" is not run into on a daily basis for those who actively police the tools.

  • ...thus instituting an unoffical 'quota' system, much like some people believe exists for traffic tickets. – Pollyanna Feb 10 '10 at 19:27
  • Your last point I don't get. There's already a list of questions that have close votes. I normally pick the top 12 and check them out -- but there are times that I do it throughout the day in staggered steps and end up forgetting that I already used some votes earlier in the day. Especially for duplicates. – George Stocker Feb 10 '10 at 19:37
  • @George - that only applies to 10k+ reputation users. The vast majority of question open and closers are under 10k, and having them reminded that they have x close votes left every time they vote or visit the site encourages behavior that might be counterproductive. Especially if they look for closed questions to add their reopen vote to, since closed questions are trivial to find, while should-be-closed questions are hard for them to find. – Pollyanna Feb 10 '10 at 19:43
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    Where's this coming from? How many people under 10K have you heard complaining about hitting the cap? And since when has it been hard to find questions that should be closed? – Shog9 Feb 10 '10 at 20:32
  • @Shog9: I've hit the close limit a quite few times. Some kind of notification before hitting the caps on all voting systems (comments/flags/posts/closing) would be very welcome by all users. – perbert Feb 10 '10 at 21:04
  • @voyager: my feeling is that it makes sense simply from a usability standpoint - you can't undo close votes, and as both George and Adam note, you can spend some amount of time in preparation before the current system informs you that you're out of votes. Therefore you should be able to know ahead of time. I'm really not sure where Adam's going with these answers... it feels like he's trying to argue for and against it without really thinking through either argument. – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 0:36
  • @shog9 - Where am I arguing for it? My two answers say, in essence: 1) "It may have negative consequences" ie, people who can close may feel a need to expend their close votes if they are reminded that they have some left and 2) This issue really only affects a few people. Like all things on meta a lot of people vote for ideas they like, but aren't really affected by. To sum up This is a 'problem' that only affects a few people, and the suggested fixes may result in negative consequences. – Pollyanna Feb 11 '10 at 4:07
  • While this may seem to be merely a UI improvement, I can see a possible negative consequence. Are you certain that the negative consequence cannot possibly occur, or that if it does the improved user experience is worth the negative impact? – Pollyanna Feb 11 '10 at 4:14
  • @Pollyanna: None of us have any good way of knowing how many people think this is actually a problem. That's why Meta exists, though of course there's nothing preventing anyone from voting for things they don't really care about. You correctly point out that it can be an annoyance, but the consequences you fear seem to me highly speculative: out of the three solutions proposed here, only one asks for an actual count, and that count would only be displayed after you've already opted to vote. – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 16:24
  • Think about that: the existing UI implies that you can vote to close - the option is visible, and for by appearances available all the time. Yet your fear appears to be that folks who currently see this option and opt to vote, upon seeing a count of remaining votes, would think to themselves, "Oooh, a finite resource - I should use it up right quick!" and immediately go looking for another question to close. This seems like... a bit of a stretch. Can you cite an example of such behavior? – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 16:28
  • @Shog9 - I'll think about it a bit more to see if I can come up with a clear example. My line of reasoning extends from my understanding of human nature in the face of scarce resources. – Pollyanna Feb 11 '10 at 17:07
  • @Pollyanna: coffee in a shop is a shared resource. Close votes are not. If I don't use all mine right away, no one else is going to buy them. And I'll always get more tomorrow. – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 17:11
  • @Shog9 - Given two situations - 1) A big notice sign at the entrance that the store rations out coffee per customer vs 2) The cashier telling the occasional customer that they can't buy as much as they have but only to the customers that go over the limit, when they go over the limit - Humans will behave very differently. Now the situation I describe and the one that exists here are different in a variety of ways, but the essential principle is that providing more information is not always better. – Pollyanna Feb 11 '10 at 17:45
  • @Pollyanna: still a bad analogy, but... No one's asking for a big sign. We just want to see how much coffee is left on the shelf. – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 18:36

It would be helpful to understand the problem's magnitude if we knew how many people were actually using up their close votes per day. If it's fewer than 100 users, then I wouldn't want Jeff and Co spending an hour or more to add a this feature. Does SO even see 1,200 close votes a day?

Back of the napkin:

There are 30 questions closed in the last 5 hours (arguably the busiest hours of the day) which means that perhaps 150 questions are closed daily, leading to 750 close votes spent per day. Assuming that there's contention on 10% of them, then another 75 open votes are spent as well.

Assuming that only 20% of questions get closed, the remainder having an average of 2.5 votes each, there's another 300 votes cast for questions which don't end up being closed.

So I'm wildly guessing there's about 1,125 votes for close or open daily.

I doubt that many people are affected by this on a daily basis. The SO developers should consider spending their time on higher priority tasks.

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    I have no idea how the SO team prioritizes their work. But 19 people have voted for this, vs. 8 for "descriptive text on close reasons" and... 8 for "restrict people from changing their names". So I'm not gonna worry about it. The request isn't for additional close/open votes, or changes to the rules for how they're applied, just a small usability improvement for the existing UI - I kinda suspect you're over-thinking this. – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 0:45
  • @Shog9 - I can see clear reasons why those two were implemented - they positively impact the site in terms of helping closers understand their obligations, and reducing the amount of friction leading to issues the administrators have to deal with. This issue may only affect a few people who hit the cap daily, and several others who hit the cap rarely. It may have a significant negative impact on the site in terms of questions opened or closed. Given that it affects few, it may have a negative impact, and that the positive impact is nothing more than bells and whistles - why "fix" it? – Pollyanna Feb 11 '10 at 4:18
  • It's this "negative impact" theory of yours that I dispute. I don't think you've made a good case for this at all - if anything, I would expect further awareness of the finite number of available votes to encourage users to think more carefully before opting to spend them. – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 16:31
  • @Shog9 - yes, it's highly speculative - thus the words possibly, may, might, etc - you point out another negative aspect - people might choose to leave questions open that should be closed because they don't want to spend their close votes. Human nature is tricky to predict, and I bet that some people won't be affected, others will spend them more freely, and others will be more stingy when told how many they have left. At best the outcome is neutral. This change does NOT result in an overall positive impact to the site in terms of open/close results. It's only eye/brain candy. – Pollyanna Feb 11 '10 at 17:00
  • It's only eye/brain candy. My favorite kind of candy! You can consume it all day long... (As for the rest, I agree - it's impossible to predict the effects of subtle changes like this. Fortunately, it's easy to point out the usability problems with not making the change) – Shog9 Feb 11 '10 at 17:12

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