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.

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    With 10k tools (which I have on another site) how can I see who regularly reviews? – LShaver Dec 4 '19 at 19:37
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    @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 '19 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 '19 at 21:50

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.

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    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 '19 at 0:28
  • As to how to get more involvement, maybe we just need to organize better – Machavity Dec 11 '19 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 '19 at 2:46
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    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 '19 at 14:21

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.

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    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 '20 at 13:47

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.

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    The reopen threshold, by proxy, also changes to 3 when this is done (dupehammers notwithstanding). It's 3 on SO now – Machavity Dec 5 '19 at 18:28
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    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 '19 at 0:24

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.

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    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 '19 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)? – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Dec 6 '19 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 '19 at 18:49
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    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 '19 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. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Dec 9 '19 at 20:40

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