There seems to be a significant asymmetry between the efforts required in closing questions versus reopening them. As a partial remedy, I propose a policy to balance this: moderators reopen the borderline questions with less hesitation, without waiting for the 5 reopen votes, if there is a reasonable request in meta for the question. (Edit: A more systematic and fair procedure for this could be like the one suggested by Bill Dubuque in his comment: "close votes could be up/down in comments maintained by moderators, and closure could be done by mods when a community agreed upon differential is reached." )

In particular I would like to see cases like these avoided: user comes to meta, asks for reopening a question, 4 reopen votes are collected, but eventually the votes expire before the question gets reopened. A moderator could have intervened here and just reopened it. There is already a bias towards staying closed, so this sort of unilateral moderator action would only help to balance the situation. If some user thinks s/he has a good answer for some question, I don't think it helps the site to stop him/her by keeping the question closed.

As far as I know, a single moderator vote is enough for a question to be reopened, or closed. There are many cases when a moderator has closed a question unilaterally, but very few cases when they reopened one, before waiting for 5 votes.

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    $\begingroup$ Longtime meta readers will know that many users dislike the asymmetric closing policy. We could devise a workaround to the software limitations with moderator support. Perhaps that's a question worth posing to mod candidates. For example, close votes could be up/down in comments maintained by moderators, and closure could be done by mods when a community agreed upon differential is reached. That would be more fair. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Dec 3 '10 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: That's a very nice suggestion. I'll add it to the body of the post. $\endgroup$ – AgCl Dec 3 '10 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ Or, alternatively, we could agree that votes to close or keep open get cast in an associated meta-question, where folks can discuss the topic at length. When an agreed upon up/down differential is reached the mods will close the question. This avoids cluttering the question - which need only have a link to the associated meta closure thread. In this way we can in effect design our own software platform on top of SE. But it requires moderator support to enforce what the software cannot. So it is essential to choose moderators who are open to such ideas. Pose questions to the candidates! $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Dec 3 '10 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Bill: I posed the question, feel free to edit it: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1254/… $\endgroup$ – AgCl Dec 4 '10 at 0:28

We now have a somewhat systematic way of re-opening questions. If you see a question that is closed, and you think that it either

  • should not have been closed in the first place, or
  • has been edited to fixed the reason for its initial closure,

please post a request at the following thread for the question to be re-opened.

Requests for Reopen Votes


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