EDIT 3: Not to belabor this post, which is obviously inactive, but I have one more related point if anyone is interested: another question of mine was put on hold for being opinion-based, and I have run into the same sort of issue: why is it opinion-based?
I think it would be very helpful for the OP to know which aspects of their post were deemed inappropriate (in this case, encouraging opinions instead of facts). I honestly don't know which part of my question the closers were objecting to, so it's very hard for me to edit or improve it. (This is sort of a feature request.)
I have a question about the closure process.
The whole system seems unnecessarily biased against the OP. We should keep in mind: there is little active harm in letting a bad question remain open. At worst it will distract users for a few seconds before they move on to other, better questions which they would rather answer. In this light:
Why does the process conform to a "guilty until proven innocent" model? As far as I can tell a question is put on hold as soon as it receives five votes, and there is no way to cast a counter-balancing "upvote" (perhaps I am wrong on this?). Only after the vote is completed does the user get instructions to edit the question (formally, that is... sometimes users are kind enough to alert an OP that they should change the question).
Why does the whole process occur behind the back of the OP him/herself? New users can be entirely unaware that votes are being cast to close/hold their question, and so be ignorant of any edits which may be appropriate or required. I, when this question began to receive downvotes, knew that this was happening. However, I had no way of knowing what the justification for these votes was. My question was apparently considered "opinion-based" - I still do not understand how "mental math tricks" are "opinion-based", or why I was never able to represent myself "on trial."
What exactly is the function of putting "iffy" questions like mine on hold? For context, my question, at the time of closure, had several upvotes (more than downvotes), several favorites, two responses (each with upvotes), and 5 constructive comments. Given that the users involved in making this happen clearly wanted to continue a discussion of the question, what is accomplished by putting the question on hold? Why not "live and let live?" The irony here is that none of the five people who voted to put it on hold had participated in any way in the question itself. The only interaction I got from them was one comment saying "You are asking for the best mental tricks -- that sounds opinion based to me..." Incidentally I was not asking for the "best mental tricks", I clarified this in the comments, I asked if anything else should be changed, and I had completely edited the question to its present state before the person who made the above comment helped put the question on hold. The purported justification for closing given in that comment was no longer valid, and yet the closure happened anyway.
Why does there not seem to be any good process for reviewing such instances as this? I commented several times, I read all the information on the sight about re-opening questions, I re-read my question to see if there were any ways to improve it, I noted that I had received several more upvotes, I flagged a moderator for attention, I added a request to this page where such requests are suppose to be made (thanks to @AlexBecker for showing be that) -- but my post is on the fifth page, and as far as I can tell nobody is going to view it anytime soon. This brings me to another question: why the ticking time bomb scenario? How does letting five days go by democratically represent the OP? In what way does this involve anyone productively?
I apologize if I sound exasperated, I have done my best to keep this post polite and constructive, and I will certainly edit it if anything is deemed out of line. To simplify the point, my questions are basically:
a) Why doesn't the OP get a say in the process, or at least a representative advocate?
b) If several users are interested in keeping a question open so they can post and comment on it, why shouldn't they be allowed to insofar as they are not actively harming anyone else on the site?
EDIT: Responses to comments/post.
Your thread, while it may be an interesting topic, isn't very focused.
I have to agree with this. But remember, my post was closed because it was "primarily opinion based", not because it was "too broad" or "lacking context". This is why I think the OP should have some kind of advocate during the process to review at least the possible validity of the claim. What I'm really saying is: why was a post allowed to be put on hold based on its "opinionated" nature, when it was not opinionated under any reasonable interpretation of the word?
This isn't irony at all. I vote to close (or not close) threads in which I have not participated. This is in an effort to give back and help keep the community clean and quality.
Ok, and I'm sure you do that responsibly, but would you close a post in which several users were exchanging comments/answers/upvotes and having a productive discussion about something mathematical and on-topic? What is accomplished by doing this? It does not keep the community clean and quality if half the community at the time of closure is trying to read the posts on the discussion in question.
I'm not saying that we should let any group of users hijack the site to use it as their own personal discussion arena, but why did 5 people so rapidly choose to close a question with an on-going conversation in which they weren't even a part? How was the discussion hurting the community? Surely by silencing the post they have done more harm than good, yes?
Downvotes are given by individuals and do not reflect the view of anyone except the individuals giving said votes.
This would seem to support my claim that the process is not very democratic. It takes the word of five people as law, and there is apparently no way for users to "upvote" closure votes and counterbalance the fight. (Is this right? Nobody has answered this question yet, perhaps I'm wrong.)
I'm sure the people that need to see your post in the Reopen see it. I am against deleting posts, as it is important to view close/reopen history in cases of threads where disputes may arise. There was a recent case last week where a thread was closed and reopened a couple times. It's nice for there to be documentation so everyone is on the same page.
Thank you for explaining this. As I mentioned in comments, I now see why that wouldn't be a good idea. (I have deleted question (c) accordingly)
there are queues that have users review questions for reopening once a reopen vote is cast;
But can reopen votes happen while close votes are being cast? (What I asked above) That is what I am wondering about. Otherwise it doesn't seem fair.
EDIT2: Response to Post
Discussions are primarily opinion based. It's subjective as to what is considered "neat" or a "trick."
I wasn't looking for a discussion, nor am I sure why you characterize my post as such. I tagged it under "big-list" and that is what I was looking for: a list of mental math tricks, ideally with proofs included. I never used the word "neat", and the word "trick" is an accident of the English language. I could just as well have called it "mental math techniques". (In fact, I will change that) By "mental math" I simply mean anything that can be done without the aid of a calculator by an average mathematician/student. Some may be harder to perform than others, but I don't see anything subjective about that.
Too broad also would have probably been appropriate.
Perhaps, but this is off point. It is not germane to any of the arguments I made in the post, nor was it referenced as justification by anyone who voted to put the question on hold. They all used "opinion-based" as their tag.
That said, I don't think it applies unless "too broad" is used fairly loosely. I think everyone knows roughly what "mental math" constitutes, and I tagged "arithmetic" to indicate that I was looking for simpler techniques that an average high-school mathematician (for instance) would be able to perform.
Your thread is clearly a discussion; and as such, simply not appropriate for the MSE forums.
Same as above. Whether or not this is true does not alter the substance of what I have said. I know of several other soft-questions/big-lists on this site that have received many upvotes, so I'm not exactly sure why this qualifies as a "discussion." I was envisioning a long list of answers, with no "chit chat" at all. What would there be to "discuss" about? Could you perhaps clarify your reasons for saying this?