This has been tinkered with on SO and several SE sites. SO has now gone to 3 permanently and I noted this Shog9 comment

Other sites can have whatever threshold is most appropriate for them

We are "other sites".

There's only 6 or so regular reviewers in general (of the non-mod variety anyways), and closure tends to be a pain. Lowering the threshold to 3 would ensure faster community response time.

  • 2
    With 10k tools (which I have on another site) how can I see who regularly reviews?
    – LShaver
    Dec 4, 2019 at 19:37
  • 2
    @LShaver I don't think there's a 10k took for that (you might be thinking of the overall close stats page, but that doesn't show you reviewers), but within any review queue you can see stats. Here's the Close Queue stats page. I base my "6 reviewers" colloquially on the people who typically show up when a question is finally closed.
    – Machavity
    Dec 4, 2019 at 19:39
  • In fact Shog's comment was meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/391832/… (I cannot suggest an edit to your post). I noticed when adapting (well, almost copying verbatim) this request in Spanish.SE (our request).
    – fedorqui
    Dec 13, 2019 at 21:50

7 Answers 7


Some of you may have noticed the Meta Stack Exchange post - Testing three-vote close and reopen on 13 network sites (it's linked in the featured on meta sidebar) - we've finally got this project under way and DIY is one of the sites we'll be running the test on.

Starting tomorrow, I'll be changing the site setting and closing and reopening will require only three votes. This test will run for 45 days and will be turned back to five votes to close and reopen while I review the data from the 13 sites. After we've seen the impact, I'll be posting results and, if there aren't negative impacts, we will change the setting to three permanently.

A few weeks into this, I'll be posting a question here on meta to ask for your thoughts about this change, so you will have an opportunity to discuss the impact.

Thank you so much for your patience while we got this prioritized and scheduled. There's a lot more information in the MSE post, so please review it.

I can see that there's some concern about three being too low - and that's something that we'll hopefully find out through this test, hopefully. One thing that I'd encourage y'all to remember - whether your votes to close are at 5 or 3 - is that it's welcome to discuss reopening closed questions on meta for the purpose of understanding why they were closed or to get them reopened.

That's one of the big reasons why meta sites exist and an excellent way to help the engaged users on this site understand what is in scope and sufficiently detailed and what is not. And it's also a great way to boost engagement in community - the opportunity for people to discuss with each other how the site should be run and what content should be allowed is a great way to get to know fellow members.

Y'all have done a lot of work to determine what's in scope but one thing I've found is that that process never ends! New arguments and ways of thinking about the site and what does and doesn't work can always come up. Perhaps five years ago you thought something was not a good fit but now you realize that it may work well or in certain situations - and that's valid... or you may discover that something that you thought was a good fit, wasn't. Even if all you end up with is reaffirming the scope as-is, it's worth revisiting from time to time.


I support this proposal to lower close vote count to 3.


I tend to vote for closure fairly aggressively for a few reasons:

  • Many poorly-composed posts are abandoned even when the OP is prodded for information or clarity. Folks who aren't willing to write a good question tend to be less likely to follow up in any way.

  • Because even if the OP does come back and fix things up, I've set the process in motion. This prompts others to evaluate the question and whether it should be closed. I trust that they don't jump on my bandwagon, but evaluate independently.

  • Because I often revisit those questions and take followup action. If it sits a few days and no one else agrees with my vote, or if the OP has fixed it, or if useful discussion has resulted, I may retract.

I really don't know what the habits of most other active users are, but I think a reduction to three close votes would result in things being closed too hastily. I could be convinced to change my routine if the community decides otherwise, and I'd be less likely to preemptively vote to close. I'll roll with it.

Instead, how can we increase non-moderator moderation activity? There are plenty of higher-rep users who don't bother to vote for closure because either they don't know they can or lack the confidence to do so. We could probably help with that.

  • 2
    I would actually argue the opposite is true. Because closure is sometimes extra hard here, it often stifles the process. We just don't have enough folks casting CVs to get all of the bad questions closed. The funny thing is, your aggressive closing tends to be a good thing. By lowering the close and reopen threshold, we actually make the community healthier. CVs don't age away, and we can have a healthy close and reopen cycle (remember, you can only successfully vote for each once per question). As it is now, it can be frustrating to be CV #4 and realize there may never be a #5.
    – Machavity
    Dec 11, 2019 at 0:28
  • As to how to get more involvement, maybe we just need to organize better
    – Machavity
    Dec 11, 2019 at 0:29
  • I guess I haven't looked into what the closure timeline or rate typically looks like. From my casual observation, most of those I initiate seem to be concluded within a day or so. Maybe some sink to the bottom and I just don't see them lingering.
    – isherwood
    Dec 11, 2019 at 2:46
  • 1
    I base a lot of this on my own CV activity. If you open your own profile you can see a list under Votes > Closure. Of the last 30 CVs I've cast, only 4 questions are actually closed. This question is a great example. It's off-topic (you can't DIY repair electronics), but it has 4 CVs and 3 answers. At this point, the CVs will age away and the question will simply remain open.
    – Machavity
    Dec 11, 2019 at 14:21
  • Yeah, I always felt like VTC doesn’t even work because we won’t get 5, so why bother. Jun 2, 2021 at 1:02

I was initially in favor of 3 votes. Seems logical on a small site. However, see Exhibit A:

Gas oven won't maintain temperature it is set on

As of right now, 2 close votes.

One close vote is "Needs details or clarity" - arguably it does need details or clarity. Debatable whether closing a question is a good way to get details or clarity, but that is a larger SE problem, being discussed on alternative sites under development like Codidact But it definitely "fits" within the StackExchange context.

The other close vote is "off-topic because operation of major appliances is listed as off-topic" The problem though is that if you read the question it should be fairly clear that the problem is the oven is not operating as expected - i.e., something is broken. So it isn't "operation" but rather "repair" or "troubleshooting".

Now anyone can make a mistake plus these definitions are often open to interpretation. But with only 3 votes to close, that would mean just one more quick click by someone and poof it is closed. And then we likely lose a new user. Hopefully OP would then go on to ask someplace else and hopefully get the right answer (whatever that may be, as we need details first to figure it out for them). But then again, they may end up someplace else and not get the right answer. And they likely won't come back when they have other questions (with more details and on-topic).

Bottom line: I think 3 votes is too few for our site.

  • 5
    This isn't a good argument against 3, however. As I mentioned on DMoore's answer, the reopen threshold goes to 3 as well. Moreover, we have a fair amount of questions where votes simply age away. That includes a lot of questions that never get closed at all because they hit 3 or 4 and never got enough reviewers. Furthermore, if we have a problem with incorrect closure reasoning, we should discuss it here in DIY Meta. Craft better close standards.
    – Machavity
    Dec 6, 2019 at 3:53
  • I'd be fine with better standards. Is that something we can simply discuss in DIY Meta and "done"? Or is it something (like the logo a while back) where it has to go through Corporate to actually get changed (i.e., assuming we want to change actual text of Close Reasons)? Dec 6, 2019 at 3:58
  • I'm catching a lot of heat from that one vote. Small appliance questions are/have been off topic for the site, and I was thinking of that when I made the vote. It's a very poor question regardless of the close vote reason, but I normally wouldn't consider myself a over-zealous close voter.
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 9, 2019 at 18:49
  • 6
    Furthermore, we have a real problem with new users posting terrible questions and never coming back to edit/clarify/communicate. Not enough people care about that, so we have a lot of unanswered questions that will never have an answer because they wait around for 5 votes.
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 9, 2019 at 18:51
  • If it was small appliance then I'd 100% agree off topic. And visit once and leave is a big problem. It would be great if the number of close votes needed could go down after 'x' days of no activity on a question. Dec 9, 2019 at 20:40

Not sure why this popped up into the "hot meta topics" today but it did, so I'll throw in my 3¢.

My only concern in lowering the threshold to 3 votes is that there's a tendency to quickly VTC questions from new users - often within just hours of their asking. For some questions, this is perfectly valid, but for the most part, it seems quite reasonable to give someone, especially a new user, 24 hours to come back to edit their question. Often times, there are 3-5 comments asking for more details, pictures, etc. then 5 hours later the question has been closed.

If someone wrote up the question first thing in the morning, then headed off to work, he may not even be able to get back home to see, much less address, the requests for clarification, then when he does, he finds his question already closed and concludes that SE is "not welcoming to new people", bad mouths it, and wanders off someplace else. Remember, not everybody lives & dies by his smortphone, and some people who ask very reasonable questions but just didn't include enough detail aren't allowed access to their phones during the work day.

This is more of a VTC culture issue than it is VTC count issue, but reducing the count to 3 will, I'd think, make it happen more often.

Other than this one issue (and I have no stats to back up whether how often it actually happens, but there are so very, very few reopen votes in the queue, I'd imagine it does), I'm all for reducing the number of votes necessary.

  • 1
    It's currently [featured] by Catija (CM), which forces it into the side bar.
    – Machavity
    May 10, 2021 at 14:49
  • The good thing is that it will only take 3 votes to reopen, too. And users who vote to close can still vote to reopen the same question if they change their mind/OP edits to add more detail.
    – TylerH
    May 19, 2021 at 14:52
  • Quite true, @TylerH, however, there seem to be very few questions that get edited and are eligible for reopening. Many users, it seems, can't be bothered to provide the answers to the clarifying questions we ask. I guess that's an argument for a 3-vote closure...
    – FreeMan
    May 19, 2021 at 16:06

Although I agree with the sentiment and reasoning I don't think 3 is a good number. There are a number of people who regularly answer questions that tend to close things that they didn't answer as "off-topic" when the question clearly isn't. We know who they are.

So if things can be closed easier there needs to be mechanisms to reopen quicker too.

  • 5
    The reopen threshold, by proxy, also changes to 3 when this is done (dupehammers notwithstanding). It's 3 on SO now
    – Machavity
    Dec 5, 2019 at 18:28
  • 3
    The answer to 'a number of people who regularly answer questions that tend to close things that they didn't answer' isn't to keep truly off-topic or otherwise valid Close-Vote candidate questions around until they finally receive enough votes.
    – user109695
    Dec 6, 2019 at 0:24
  • 1
    I'd argue, the reopen requirement should not be related to the closing one, and, actually be lower. Pretty much, if anyone other than the asker himself thinks, it should be reopened. Maybe, two people. Closing should still be harder -- to prevent the growth of a "cabal".
    – Mikhail T.
    May 9, 2021 at 20:12

Would this change be retroactive? E.g. if an existing question already has 3 votes to close, would this change suddenly close it?

Perhaps the people that gave those 3 votes wanted it to be more like a strong warning/suggestion to the author and wouldn't have cast a vote if they knew it would be the tipping point. (I know I personally would be hesitant to vote if an article needed only my single additional vote to force the close.)

If the change does go ahead, I'd suggest that an article that has "# more votes needed to close" retain that same "# more" after the change.

  • 2
    No. If a question has 3 CVs when the threshold changes it would not close. The check for closure happens when votes are cast. A fourth CV would be needed to push questions like that over. Remember, CVs age away, so we wouldn't have hundreds of questions on the verge of closure either.
    – Machavity
    Oct 7, 2020 at 13:47

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