For the second time now I've found that a close vote has been cast for a question and I believe that the vote is based on a misunderstanding or misreading of the question. In such a case, I can only write a comment and hope that others will read it before joining the close vote. It would be better if I could vote against closing the question. I don't see a reason for the asymmetry of only having votes for closing, with a fixed quorum required for closure. In the limit of an infinite number of potential voters, an arbitrarily small fraction of them could close a question even if almost all potential voters are against.

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/871/… $\endgroup$ – Rahul Mar 31 '11 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ From the links there: this feature request has already been declined by the StackExchange admins, but the fine folks at MathOverflow have come up with a nice workaround. $\endgroup$ – Rahul Mar 31 '11 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ Well I guess I was the offender here and I apologize. It was clearly my mistake. Leaving a comment against closing should be sufficient, in particular if there is no other comment. If there are many comments then leave a remark in the spirit "please vote this comment up so that others will see it". I think this should be amply enough to ensure that no further close votes are cast. $\endgroup$ – t.b. Mar 31 '11 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Theo: No problem, it was easy enough in that case to think that this was the same question over again -- it was just that because this was the second time in a short while that I was in that situation it seemed likely to reoccur so I thought I should look for a more general solution :-) $\endgroup$ – joriki Mar 31 '11 at 10:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Rahul: similar proposals for rectifying the open-close asymmetry have been discussed at length here too. In my opinion this is one of the major flaws in the software design. Alas, the designers don't seem to agree, even though this infuriates many users and often results in many meta flames. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Mar 31 '11 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ We should try to implement exactly what was done on Overflow, that is use the Honor System. (see Rahul's great link!) If you want to vote against closing, leave a comment. If someone wants to vote for closing, and sees a vote against closing comment, they instead leave another comment saying they vote to close. $\endgroup$ – Eric Naslund Mar 31 '11 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @joriki: In your comment in a now-deleted answer by Dan Dumitru, did you mean to imply that someone besides yourself had marked an answer here as accepted? Could you please elaborate on what transpired. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 2 '11 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: Yes, I did mean to imply that, but now in describing what happened, I realized that it was actually my mistake: I had mistaken the gray checkmark that I can use to accept the answer for the green checkmark that marks it as accepted. Because I haven't asked any questions on the main site yet (I'm about to, though), I wasn't familiar with the gray checkmark and thought it was something that moderators could do on the meta site. Apologies to the anonymous non-person I unjustly accused :-) $\endgroup$ – joriki Apr 2 '11 at 17:52

As mentioned in the comments, the policy (roughly speaking) that has been adopted on MathOverflow is for a user to leave a comment on the question saying "I vote against closing," and for a subsequent user who wants to vote to close to leave a comment saying "I negate so-and-so's vote against closing."

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    $\begingroup$ From experience with the MathOverflow system, I recommend that it be made very clear that only people with the right to "vote to close" are allowed to "vote to not close". $\endgroup$ – Loop Space Apr 2 '11 at 19:47

Eventually SE did implement the ability to cast "Do not close" votes, though they do not work by directly cancelling votes to close.

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    $\begingroup$ "Do not close" is a highly misleading name. It's really a vote to close the review-for-closure, and to remove close-vote aging. Lacking a true don't-close vote to cancel close votes, there still remains much asymmetry between closing and reopening - requiring much more work to reopen a question than to close it. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 17 '12 at 2:20
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    $\begingroup$ I am not convinced the asymmetry is a real problem - if only a small proportion of questions are closed, and only a small proportion of those would be re-opened, the additional effort to re-open is not such an issue. I could be convinced if there was evidence that a significant number of questions are closed that should not be, but overall when I see closed questions I tend to see why they were closed, even if I personally would not have voted to close. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Sep 17 '12 at 2:28

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