Was voting to close a question as 'Not a real question', but my mouse slipped to 'Blatantly Offensive'.

Would it be possible to have some means of changing my close reason, before the related question gets closed?

  • 20
    Maybe the blatantly offensive part was your (lack of) mouse skills. Jun 29, 2009 at 20:39
  • 1
    @pesto You are fabulously inflammatory.
    – jjnguy
    Jun 29, 2009 at 20:54
  • 8
    @pesto - your comment is blatantly offensive :-P ;-)
    – toolkit
    Jul 1, 2009 at 17:51
  • 1
    Another example (more common with me) is marking the wrong site for off-topic... Feb 20, 2011 at 2:01
  • Pay more attention to what you are doing, are you sure you want to format your computer? Please note that one close reason that was off doesn't matter, it does contribute to the 5 close votes and the majority will choose the right close vote reason anyway... Nov 4, 2011 at 18:16
  • 3
    Tom. My lack of motor skills is not the same as not paying attention.
    – toolkit
    Jul 27, 2012 at 19:50
  • @DannyBeckett this is however implemented other as the OP would wish (not possible to change the vote, only retract) so it's an independent feature request. Jan 31, 2014 at 9:44

7 Answers 7


Yeah, I'd like this too... Of course, if we could retract close votes, that would solve this problem as well.

  • 3
    +1: Totally agree. I'd prefer the retraction before a change of vote type of thing...
    – RSolberg
    Nov 4, 2009 at 21:50
  • 2
    24 upvotes (or more) and accepted answer just for saying "yeah, me too"?!? And since we now have retract close votes, it is clear this does not help with changing a vote
    – musefan
    Aug 30, 2013 at 12:46
  • 23
    Well we got the ability to retract, but there's still no way to make a correction to the close reason since once you retract you can't vote to close again.
    – j08691
    Sep 20, 2013 at 14:04
  • 3
    -1: I agree with @j08691. There's still no way to make the correction.
    – Jim G.
    Dec 9, 2013 at 15:48
  • 2
    We can now retract close votes; but you can't re-vote to close with a different reason, so it doesn't actually solve this problem?
    – KutuluMike
    May 6, 2017 at 14:25

Given the recent changes to voting that allow users to retract their own votes, I think the next logical step is to consider implementing this feature.

Generally speaking, I see 3 cases where one might want to change a voting reason

  1. Mis-click - typos happen and a user clicks the wrong radio button before clicking "close" (as the example in the question shows)
  2. Misreading of the question - you see this happen frequently, someone reads the question one way, votes to close, and then rereads a question and sees the original reason is not applicable, but another reason is better.
  3. The question changes - through comments and editing, the OP changes the question so the original reason isn't valid, but a different reason is more applicable

The 3rd point is the main reason why I think this feature would be valuable, and a big reason why is because of all of the effort that has been put into revamping the close system in the recent months. We wanted the close/on-hold reasons to provide as much useful information to the OP as possible, but how useful is it when the reason is wrong?

Ideally, the close reason would be dynamic and allow someone to change their reason up to the point that the question gets reopened, to allow for editing that doesn't quite fix the post but changes the reason why it is closed. But at a minimum, at least allow close voters to change their vote up until the question is closed.

This feature would work very nicely alongside Notify close voters when a closed question gets edited so the close voter gets notified of edits so they can revisit their close reason.

  • 1
    4. Initially closed as "Needs more focus" (or whatever) but since found the perfect "duplicate".
    – MrWhite
    Oct 15, 2021 at 11:16

The issue has come up again on M.SF.

Change or retract a vote to close

Sometimes askers fix their question. Other times an dupe is identified while 3 votes are already cast and it really needs to be closed that way.


(This supplements, with a concrete example, what @pubsee2003 mentioned as a third reason why this should be allowed.)

Has anyone given a good reason why this is not possible or should not be made possible?

Consider this question, which as originally posted asked for translation from Chinese. I voted to close it as off-topic for that reason. And I added an explanatory comment. Then the OP edited the question to remove/downplay the translation aspect. It still needs to be closed, but now the reason is that the OP did not first look up the meanings of "attend" and "services". Or perhaps the reason should be that the question belongs on English Language Learners and not on EL&U.

Why should I not be allowed to change the reason I voted for closing, after the question was changed by the OP editing? What's the rationale for this rule?

  • 2
    I don't think there is a good reason why this is not possible or should not be made possible - after all, this is not declined. More likely it's one of the thousands of "nice to have" feature requests, and there will always be more important things for the team to do. Dec 27, 2015 at 7:51
  • @ShadowWizard: If you are right then I suppose that's good news. I wonder, however, how hard this would be to implement. Seems like it would just be a matter of removing/inhibiting the code that expressly prohibits it now. Do you really think this would be a significant detour from "the more important things" (like designing hats and such)?
    – Drew
    Dec 27, 2015 at 15:19
  • It's not about easy or not easy, even the most trivial change needs few hours work to test, deploy, sanity check etc. The team does sometimes fix trivial bugs, but it's quite rare. Dec 27, 2015 at 15:23
  • @ShadowWizard: OK. Then in that case it would be great to at least get some confirmation that this is desirable and on the wishlist, rather than what the product currently communicates to users: impossible because verboten. IOW, the dev team could weigh in on threads such as this one to say that they agree but it is not the top priority etc. The fact that they haven't done so does not suggest to me that they do agree. But I've seen no rationale for the prohibition...
    – Drew
    Dec 27, 2015 at 15:31
  • In an ideal world, you're totally right. But the world isn't ideal, the best official response can be found here. Dec 27, 2015 at 15:35

I believe it lists the reason as the most "popular" reason anyway, so in the grand scheme of things, it shouldn't matter too much

  • 2
    Yes, but the herd mentality sometimes sets in, where other voters choose the same reason as you.
    – Ether
    Nov 4, 2009 at 21:37

This really needs to happen. Probably once a day I realize that my reason for voting to close a question was wrong, or at least not the best reason, but there is no way to fix my error.

There should be a window of time during which I can modify my reason and/or retract my vote while retaining the option to vote to close again, just like the way voting up and down works. As it is, if I pick a bad reason or if the question changes after I voted to close, my only options are leave it as-is, with an incorrect reason, or retract my close vote entirely even if I still think the question should be closed.

Obviously, if the question is already closed, the vote should be finalized/locked, and I should have to vote to reopen. But until then, I should be able to change my reason, at least one time.


Today, I would have been happy for this feature to be available: I voted to close a question with "needs more focus", but then I realized the question could also be closed as a duplicate of an older one.

As a workaround, I left a comment pointing to the dupe, but I would have liked to change my close vote reason directly, so the system could use this information for the automatic generation of the "This question already has answers here..." message.

People make errors, and one of the very basic principles in building user interfaces is to allow people to correct their errors, within reasonable boundaries. Without an option to change a close vote reason afterwards, this principle seems to be violated blatantly. Of course, changing the close reason would be possible for all but the last voter who actually closes the question, but that is way better than no possible correction at all.

  • Why didn't you just retracted your close vote then, leaving the comment makes others perfectly capable of closing it as a dupe without you. Think before you act. Everyone these days feels like they deserve a new chance at everything, but if people think before they act there really is no need for this feature.
    – Luuklag
    Jun 20, 2021 at 8:44
  • @Luuklag: sure there are workarounds. On the specific site where this happened, the close vote frequency is not that high as on Stackoverflow, not even close. Though I did not retract my close vote so far, and though the OP confirmed that my dupe pointer actually answered his question, it is still open. And you don't have to schoolmaster me with phrases like "think before you act".
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 20, 2021 at 8:51

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