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I was just criticized for posting in Requests for Reopen & Undeletion Votes, etc. (volume 01/2015 - ) [current version] without waiting for the reopen review queue process to unfold. Another user commented that he sees no harm in posting a request there. I couldn't find any guidance on this here on meta, and I'd like to hear the community's view.

My own thinking is: As far as I'm aware, there's no way to present arguments in the reopen review queue. If I want to present arguments for reopening the question, the only places I see for doing that are in comments under the question and in this request thread. Of the two, it seems preferable to have a separate discussion about reopening on meta rather than cluttering the question's comment space with it. The request thread says "Please do not use this thread to engage in debates on contentious matters (e.g. reasons for closure)", but I take this to mean that the thread is not for general debate on what should count as reasons for closure, not that it's inappropriate to exchange arguments for and against closure of a specific question. Thus, given that sometimes (often) one needs to present arguments in order to convince others, my take is that it should be possible to post to this thread whenever one feels that doing so might help the community to reach a considered decision on reopening.

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    $\begingroup$ What would the harm be in waiting an hour or two for the review queues to do their work? (For the question you requested reopen votes for, it took about 70mins from your initial reopen vote for the review task to complete. It also took about 20mins to even enter the queue.) $\endgroup$ – user642796 Sep 14 '15 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer: If I hadn't posted, those votes would have been cast without the benefit of reading my arguments. Not that my arguments in this particular case were particularly mind-blowing, but I'm asking about the general principle. The harm in waiting for people to vote in the review queue before posting is that the review process then occurs in an argumentative vacuum and everyone just votes on what they see themselves, without consideration of each others' views. That seems suboptimal. $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ @joriki The review queue process is going to happen anyway, and the people who do these reviews will not see your meta post. Why not give them the information in the comments then? Besides, the vote "Leave Closed" in the review queue does not delete reopen votes (they eventually age away but it takes days), so there really is no harm in waiting a few hours. Besides, if the information you give is really essential in getting the question reopened (and not closed again afterwards), then I think it should be edited in the question. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 12:26
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    $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi: They will see my meta post because I usually write a short comment linking to it (which is a lot less clutter). The "leave closed" votes don't delete reopen votes, but these people are unlikely to look at the question again later and vote to reopen, so if I could have convinced them, they're lost reopen votes. On your last point I think you're right in many but not all cases. $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ @joriki I very much doubt that someone will go to the trouble of checking the meta post from the review queue, but okay. In what cases is adding the information necessary to reopen the question to the question not appropriate? $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi: When the closing occurred due to an error on the part of the voters. For instance, questions have been closed as duplicates because someone overlooked a difference and $4$ others followed without checking carefully. Now that people with a golden tag badge can single-handedly close questions as duplicates, this happens even more easily (I did it myself once, before I knew that my single vote would immediately close the question). The question will not necessarily profit from pointing out how it differs from another question. $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ "The question will not necessarily profit from pointing out how it differs from another question.": even though they looked similar enough that five different users were confused about it...? In French we say "What goes without saying goes even better by saying it". If the difference is minor it can be helpful to point it out explicitly. Of course if a user used a gold badge to close the question it can be different, but comment replies work to notify the user in question in this case, and then the user can reopen the question single-handedly. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi: I think the main issue here is that I was weighing the costs of cluttering the reopen request thread and of cluttering the comments under a question differently. I see now that many apparently view comment clutter as less of a problem than I did. As I wrote under quid's answer, I'll be posting reopening arguments in the comments in the future. Thanks for your input and (mostly) constructive criticism. (And thanks for linking to an explanation of comment replies -- my ignorance of the workings of the site is perhaps not quite as profound as you've now come to believe. :-) $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, sorry about the not-very-nice comment earlier. I was just really surprised. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ I second this question. I've waited about ten days (without officially requesting) for a question to be reopened where the objections were met by editing already before the question was even closed. Is that a suitable pause before requesting in the official "Request to reopen" queue a question be reopened? $\endgroup$ – Travelling Salesman Sep 21 '15 at 9:29
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    $\begingroup$ @TravellingSalesman The review queue rarely takes more than a few hours to process each item (there were statistics posted here at some point but I can't find them). 10 days is more than enough... $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 21 '15 at 9:31
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Yes, in general one should wait. Browsing this list https://math.stackexchange.com/review/reopen/history of reviews (the link will not work for everybody, sorry) one will notice that there are plenty of questions each day that get some reopen vote and of which somebody thus thought they have a case for being reopened.

If each of them was posted in that thread it would be quite noisy and less effective in serving its purpose of drawing attention to cases where (in somebodies opinion) the usual process did not work as intended.

On your more specific points: there are already some comments that point out why some think the question is "unclear." Rather than just assert it is not, it might be more helpful to answer those request, either via comments or an edit to the question (which would be perfectly visible in the queue).

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  • $\begingroup$ I see your point about focusing attention on cases where the process didn't work. But is it really better to discuss this in comments under the question? In this particular case, I ended up doing that anyway because the OP made a comment that called my interpretation of the question into doubt, so I wanted to interact with the OP directly; but often such exchanges cause a lot of clutter in the comment space. Perhaps there should be a way to make arguments for or against closing/reopening, which are visible in the review queue? I think I'll post that as a feature request :-) $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are mostly supposed to be ephemeral, @joriki. I don't think it's a big deal to create temporary clutter, use the resulting discussion to edit the question into shape (because if the question were perfect there wouldn't have been a need for a lengthy discussion), and then ask a moderator to remove the clutter if it was really long. If you really don't want to create clutter / bother the moderators but still want to discuss, there is a feature to automatically convert the discussion to chat. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Najib Whether or not comment are supposed to be ephemeral, in practice that mostly are not. In any case that is not a good argument for (mis)placing comments. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 14 '15 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque In practice they're not ephemeral because nobody cares enough to remove them because the "clutter" they create is inconsequential. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi: I disagree. Clutter has a strong tendency to lead to questions remaining unanswered because people tend to be put off by the complication and contentiousness it suggests. If a question gets off to a bad start (of course often by fault of the OP), it will often not get much attention, even after it's been edited into a good question, and I think one important factor in this is complicated comment clutter. $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ @joriki especially in the current case I think it highly desirable it stays on the question. First, the issue is really about the content of the question (not some meta-concern like if context problems are off limits or career advice is not math etc). Second, OP being new they could not even join a discussion on meta. $\endgroup$ – quid Sep 14 '15 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer and the comments. In the future I'll make arguments in favour of reopening in the comments under the question. And I'll cite this answer if someone complains that I'm cluttering the comments with discussion :-) $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm -- I went to comment under the question, and it turns out the OP deleted it two hours ago and I can no longer comment :-) It was only one vote short of being reopened... $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ @joriki Even deleted questions can be reopened (by users with more than 10k reputation though, since the others cannot even see the question), and they can be undeleted by three users with more than 10k reputation (in particular, you can cast a vote). $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi: In German we say "One shouldn't keep travelers back." If someone else had deleted it, I'd vote to undelete, but the question isn't of sufficient general interest to expend further effort on it if the OP wants it deleted. $\endgroup$ – joriki Sep 14 '15 at 15:45

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