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It is extremely common in my experience to see a question that is closed for a reason that is clearly incorrect. It takes an eternity for the question to be unclosed through the appeal process.

In the event that a question is unclosed, if the question, without any edits, should have obviously never been closed in the first place -- why shouldn't the individuals who voted to close it have some sort of punishment?

At the moment, in the exchanges that I frequent, users are extremely "trigger happy" with the close button, and it is extremely annoying to have to deal with answers in the comments like this:

enter image description here Where the "close" feature of this website is just blatantly getting in the way of the process.

If it turns out there's user that is just running through every new post and spamming "close close close" on practically everything for bad reasons, these should be some serious consequences, in my opinion.

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    Who is to say that closing the question was wrong but reopening was correct? Maybe it was the other way around. It appears that the person whose comment you featured in this question is actually one of the original close voters. In fact, the same 3 people who voted to close your question also voted to reopen it. So it looks like everything worked the way it was supposed to. Commented Jun 13 at 23:18
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    Before looking for culprits to penalize, it's always a good idea to take a look at the question's revision history and chronologically follow the events and evolution that have occurred with the post since it was initially published. In some cases, this caution can prevent false accusations and injustices. Commented Jun 14 at 6:01
  • It doesnt give comment history though, right? For example in this case people are claiming that commenters gave feedback before voting to close, but I'm pretty sure comments were only provided after I complained about lack of feedback. Commented Jun 14 at 7:51
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    But where did this rule where users are required to comment on close votes come from? This link between comments and votes is not part of the platform culture. This post is aimed at down votes but the understanding also applies to closing votes: meta.stackoverflow.com/q/357436/11379709 Commented Jun 14 at 8:12
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    What did the close-banner state? I recall it giving the salient feedback of "not a site for product recommendations". I see that as an appropriate close reason and sufficient feedback (at that time). After reopening (as now on-topic), comments were added to improve the question, which seems appropriate to me. What do you see differently?
    – W.O.
    Commented Jun 14 at 8:22
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    It is extremely common in my experience to see people complain on Meta (in particular Stack Overflow Meta) that questions are being incorrectly closed. It takes an eternity to explain to OP why the closures are almost always entirely correct, even though it's typically a plain application of clearly stated policy and directly comparable to countless previous complained-about case studies. Commented Jun 17 at 1:54
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    "Where the "close" feature of this website is just blatantly getting in the way of the process." On the contrary: Stack Overflow would be a much more useful site if questions started closed by default - and the new Staging Ground feature is already capturing some of that benefit. It's important to understand that "the process" is not about answering questions simply because they're on topic, comprehensible and/or asked in good faith - especially on the more technically-oriented sites. Instead, it's about the goals described in the tour. Commented Jun 17 at 1:57

3 Answers 3

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To an extent - you need multiple users to close a question unless its a moderator, or a gold badge dupe close.

If a question is closed, there's already a sort of oversight, by multiple users. This, and the reopening process acts as a check and balance. In your specific case - the original closure reason is correct and long standing and the reason its not allowed on most sites is universal. The users involved are not trigger happy, they're doing as they're supposed to, and the process of reopening, with appropriate oversight is 'as designed'. If its slow, and people are not reviewing, thats a different problem.

Hypothetically - while there's no 'explicit' suspension reason I'd say if someone was closevoting without cause, the moderation team could in theory invoke the appropriate policy - in this case the disruptive use of tooling policy, or simply take action on activity that's hurting the site as a whole. I'd not see this as an invalid reason to close though.

Sometimes someone might believe they can answer a question, but it may not necessarily be a question that's a proper fit for our model, or the answer may be "buy this thing from this place" rather than explaining how to solve the problem.

Closures are not getting in the way of the process. Closures are part of the process.

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  • If closevoting is consistently incorrect, particularly because there is no penalty for inaccuracies, then there should be a penalty for it. Similar to being able to flag someone for bad behavior, it should be noted who voted to close when an appeal without editing is overturned. Perhaps some of the downvotes are due to users who likely would have been penalized for this, if this action were to be taken? I wonder. Commented Jun 13 at 13:17
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    Naw, they disagree with it. Thats normal for meta. Terms like "trigger happy" and assuming bad intent from voters rarely makes for successful meta. And you can see who closevoted, so if someone keeps doing it, a custom flag for review might be an option. Commented Jun 13 at 13:19
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    @StevenSagona There's also the subjective notion of "incorrect" never mind "consistently incorrect." The users who can vote to close a question have earned the privilege to do so and don't do it for fun or because they are trigger happy. Naturally you're going to think your own question shouldn't be closed, otherwise you wouldn't have asked it. That doesn't mean you're actually correct. Sometimes questions are closed and then re-opened, but often it's because the question was improved or clarified and then queued for re-opening, not because some trigger-happy response was undone. Commented Jun 13 at 15:20
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JG did a good job explaining the mechanics, but I wanted to address the comment you highlighted. I think the comment is totally fine - they’re saying:

I (and a few others) don’t think this is a fit for the site, but if enough people think it is, I’m happy to concede and help anyway.

I didn’t try and find this interaction, but I suspect the comment followed a comment that was actually helpful even if not posted as an answer.

People doing this aren’t being jerks, they’re doing the right thing - trying to help users but also maintaining the quality of the site. If a question is off-topic, it should be closed. Closure gives the asker the opportunity to fix it, while not wasting any answerer’s time answering a question that shouldn’t be answered in its current state and may ultimately disappear.

You have to remember that helping users solve their problems is not the sole purpose of the site, and that not all problems are fair game. I’m not going to the cooking web site and asking for the cheat code for Super Mario, and nobody should be asking the fastest way to bake a potato on Stack Overflow. Those are extremes but each site has very specific guidance to what’s on and off topic in its help center.

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    Very well said. It needs to be emphasized that the primary purpose of closing questions is the same as its primary effect: temporarily preventing answers from being posted. It is, by design, not permanent (that's why deletion exists separately) and not a punishment (which is why closed questions can be upvoted - especially, well-written duplicates that can help others to recognize the original). Commented Jun 17 at 1:59
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With repeated reviews for closed questions or answers there could be a task for the voters, who agree in closing a post for to leave a comment in more detail, why a question or answer was closed?
That could be helpful, otherwise wait times of more than 4-5 days can occur for, maybe, easy to improve wording or semantic difficulties.
From my point of view, i would disagree with penalties, because of being most times counter-productive to motivation for support.

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