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I noticed that the Community User bot has reopened questions on various SE sites, based on the stats from the “2023: a year in moderation” meta posts. However, I don’t know what makes the Community User do that. The “Who is the Community user?” meta post does not mention anything about reopening questions, as far as I can tell.

For example, in Arqade, the Community User reopened 6 out of 19 questions (32%) in 2023, which is more than the community itself, which reopened just 1 question.

Action Moderators Community User Community
Questions reopened 12 6 1

So, I am curious: What are the conditions and events that trigger the Community User to reopen questions?

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2 Answers 2

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Let's look at the PostHistory data for Arqade as found in this SEDE query for posthistorytypeid = 11 (re-open):

select postid [Post Link]
     , v.id [User Link]
     , v.Hammer
     , text
     , userid [User Link]
from posthistory ph
cross apply openjson(text, '$.Voters') 
  with (
       id int '$.Id'
       ,  Hammer nvarchar(35) '$.BindingReason.GoldTagBadge' ) v
where posthistorytypeid = 11
and creationdate between '2023-01-01' and '2024-01-01'

There are indeed 6 PostHistory records where the Community User (userid = -1) is recorded for the Reopen event. This happens for when the quorum for re-open votes is reached.

The other re-opened questions have a UserId recorded for either when a moderator unilaterally re-opens the question or when a GoldTagBadge holder unilaterally re-opens the closed as duplicate question without other re-open voters and/or a review task present.

So the condition is:

The Community User takes credit for re-opening a question when

  • more than one regular user have casted re-open votes;
  • the question isn't re-opened by a moderator.
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  • Does the same also apply for the "Questions closed" row? The stats for Arqade also show the community as having closed only three questions - those are all cases where a gold-badge user closed the question as a duplicate without others voting to close, right? Jan 28 at 1:03
  • 1
  • Maybe the real difference is if the question gets closed / re-opened due to the reviewtask being complete. @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog
    – rene
    Jan 28 at 8:35
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The "A Year in Moderation" statistics seem to be outright wrong, and the questions aren't being reopened by the community user. This is easier to see on smaller sites, like WebApps. The Year in Moderation post there says:

Action Moderators Community User Community
Questions reopened 138 1 0

Yet there was one question reopened by ordinary community members.


My guess is that if more than one user contributes to reopening a question then the vote gets attributed to the community user, and the one question on Arqade showing up as reopened by the community is this one, which was unilaterally reopened by a gold badge holder.

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  • 3
    Well the data is technically correct: since there is a single "owner" for the reopen event, when there's more than one, they have no choice but to assign it to the Community User, and that's what the query is taking. Jan 27 at 21:13
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    @ShadowWizardLoveZelda well, if the question was reopened by several users, obviously the correct thing would be to say that it was reopened by the community, not by the "Community user". I mean, the table even has a column for that. It is also very easy: just rename the "Community User" column to "Community" and the "Community" column to "Gold badge holder", then everything is correct and people do not need insider knowledge to interpret the table.
    – wimi
    Jan 28 at 10:26
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    @wimi the problem is that in the table, "community user" really does mean "community user" and 'community" really does mean "community" for most other rows. Just not for actions that require consensus. Jan 28 at 12:53

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