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How many votes to close?

According to the accepted answer to the question above, it takes 5 non-moderator close votes to close a question.


At this time the most recent example is this question: I forked a coworkers code without asking and made it my own. Should I have asked first?

At the time of this meta post, the "should I share" question has 2k views, 11 answers, and 15 upvotes, and the most popular answer has 22 upvotes. However, 5 people have chosen to close the question, and as such it is now [On Hold] as primarily opinion based.


My intent is not to debate whether or not the post is in fact opinion based, but rather to discuss the weight of those 5 votes. It seems to me that we have given too much weight to the 5 people who have voted to close the question.

In my opinion it would be better if we could devise a system whereby SE looks at the upvotes for a question and uses that as a counterweight to adjust the number of close votes required on a sliding scale.

With that said, I think we need to agree that there is a problem before we can have any meaningful discussion about potential solutions, so my question for you then is.

Do we have a problem with close votes? Should we make it more difficult for a small group of users to close a controversial question?

  • This question is rather dated, but relevant and it provides some interesting background into the discussion. meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2038/… – Lumberjack May 10 '16 at 14:17
  • Well, it is better than the three votes that were required in the (g)olden days... but keep in mind that those that are able to cast the votes already have some weight in the community. – PlasmaHH May 10 '16 at 14:23
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    Everyone on this site with 3,000 reputation can both vote to close and vote to reopen. There are 23 people who have gained that reputation just this year alone (not to mention the huge number of people who have currently have at least that much, just not all gained this calendar year). – enderland May 10 '16 at 14:46
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    Also, regarding that example, 11 answers in 5 hours generally suggests a question is probably a good indication a question is too poll-like and opinion-seeking. – enderland May 10 '16 at 14:59
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    Note that your suggested solution would have to be discussed on the main Stack Exchange meta as it involves a complete revamp of a system that's been working well (though of course not perfectly) for years. – Lilienthal May 10 '16 at 15:18
  • @enderland To look at it another way, there are 158 people total who have the privilege as of this comment. Is 3000 rep the right threshold? Is 158 too few? Too many? – Lumberjack May 10 '16 at 16:53
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    @Lumberjack I think it is important for people to be familiar enough with the site before being able to partake in various moderation activities such as closing/opening questions. SE operates under a community moderation mindset -- while reputation isn't the only way to measure this, it is a "better than alternatives" way. There is a reason why many community activities are possible at much lower reputation, such as editing. Closing/deleting/reopening are privileges that happen at higher thresholds for good reasons in my opinion. – enderland May 10 '16 at 18:00
  • Perhaps the problem could be too many close-votes per user. What is it? 25 per day? There's one with the privilege who uses every last one. – Richard U May 12 '16 at 15:46
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We do get a lot of questions put on hold pretty quickly. If you read who did it though, they tend to be experienced and valuable members most of the time. And the nature of SE is that only people with a decent amount of reputation can vote to close.

So I don't think it's arbitrary, nor do I think we give these people too much weight. Their vote is quite rightfully worth more than a random Joe Bloggs.

I've also seen a few questions reopened, if someone states their case well enough and /or edits their question they can get it reopened which is a good enough solution for my tastes.

More than five votes for instance would leave bad fit questions open for longer, which gives them a chance to get a whole bunch of votes which may put them in a position where they don't really belong precisely because they are a bad fit and therefore not as useful to future surfers.

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    Many if us have voted to reopen questions that we voted to close, after the problem which required a close vote was corrected. Note that problematic questions are generally put on hold, not actually closed, specifically to give the author and the community a chance to go through this re-reviewing process. – keshlam May 11 '16 at 3:39
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    @jim-g That is one of the finest edits I have ever seen. As an aside, it looks like there may be an issue with the way the system is storing re-open votes. When I run the query today it seems like the results are too low to be accurate. – Lumberjack May 12 '16 at 1:04
  • Nice edit, I rarely vote to close, but I quite often vote not to close. So I don't know the stats but in at least those ones it would take 6 close votes. Most of the higher ranked people seem to have a similar background to each other and therefore similar viewpoints on questions (I assume) so that may be a factor as well. – Kilisi May 12 '16 at 1:35
  • The problem, IMO, is that there are a few experienced members who have let their reputation scores go to their heads. One comes to mind who would vote to close a topic on oranges because there was a previous question on apples since they are both fruit. THAT is frustrating as a single VTC triggers others. It's human nature. – Richard U May 12 '16 at 14:19
  • @RichardU Unsure what reputation has to do with it, it's easy to amass, I got 36 votes just for advising a chap to poo his pants at work before my answer got deleted :-) – Kilisi May 12 '16 at 15:29
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    @Kilisi I don't think you'd ever let anything go to your head. And yes, it's amazing what gets you upvotes – Richard U May 12 '16 at 15:45

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