At present a close vote is “time out” after so many days, therefore a question that gets a few views per day is unlikely to get enough close votes.

I think it would be better if a close vote was time out after a given number of users with closing powers have viewed the question – this way the system will adapt to the viewing rate of a question and cope better with old questions.

(The number could be chosen based on the a multiple of the mean number of views it takes for a question to be closed and tuned so that very few questions that were closed in the past would be missed.)

This would also reduce the need to "flag for mod" old questions that are now off-topic.

So far about a third of the people that have viewed this question have up voted it, so am I on to something here?

  • 2
    Definately a +1 from me - questions that "deserve" closure but are old or in low traffic tags need more time to accumulate closure votes. This is the best proposed solution I've seen.
    – Rob
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 13:01
  • 4
    Then the some approach should be used for reopen votes. Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 13:17
  • 1
    It's not exactly a one-to-one with your suggestion, but if it looks like a low-traffic question it can also be flagged for mod attention, at which point they could give it the mod hammer.
    – squillman
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 14:56
  • @Rob: def. Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 8:39
  • 1
    completed in spirit, I believe Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 12:17

2 Answers 2


In the current system, electing not to vote on a question means "I abstain from voting". This could be done for a myriad of reasons, such as "I don't think it should be closed", "I am not familiar enough with the subject matter of the question", "I don't have close votes remaining", or "I'd like to see what other users think first". Under your system, electing not to vote would condense all of those into the first reason, as it actively counts against those who are voting to close by pushing it closer to aging away.

I respect the intent of this proposal as a means to assist in the closing of under-attended questions, but I believe it has too strong of implications on the closing system as a whole that it completely changes the dynamic that it operates on. And I can't say I favor that dynamic, because abstaining from voting does not necessarily mean that you disagree that it should be closed. As the system would have to be equally applied to re-open votes (which often can get far more views without votes from 3000+ users), it'd actually become even harder to re-open questions.

Keep in mind, users with at least 10,000 reputation on the site get a tool which lists any live questions that have live close votes (and live reopen votes). This lets them easily find items that may not be getting enough attention, and has been utilized in this respect by many patrolling users. More often than not, it's hesitance and expecting no action that leads a user to not cast that one vote that is needed to just put it on the radar.

  • Would a min time and view that a close vote lived for be better? Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 13:37
  • 1
    "electing not to vote on a question" should not effect the result unless most people that view the quesion does the same - that way I said "multiple of the mean number of views it takes for a question to be closed", the multiple just has to be high enough that "abstain from voting" does not mean "disagree that it should be closed" Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 13:42
  • @Ian If the threshold is too high, then low traffic questions that don't need to be closed will equally preserve their close votes for a long time. This will incite people to actively seek out questions just to try and push the meter down and get those close votes out of the system, whereas in the current system an erroneous close vote can just be ignored by everyone. Which is a benefit to using a metric such as time to age away flags - it's impartial and passive.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 13:49
  • Would something like “if the first close vote times out and then the question gets anther close vote then the “time to live” should be longer for the 2nd close vote” work? Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 13:54
  • see the updated rules, which basically turn close/reopen votes into sliding expiration, and remove expiration altogether for questions <= 100 views. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 11:42

This seem to have been done now.

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