Sometimes a question is closed. Then the question is improved, so a moderator re-opens the question. However, the moderator is mindful that others may not see the improved question as worthy of re-opening.

Obviously the new edited question passed some threshold in the mind of the moderator in order to re-open. Yet, it may not pass such a threshold in the mind of another site user. Thus, another site user may raise a moderator flag to re-close. Thus, in a democratic sense that is one vote to stay open (i.e., from the moderator) and one vote to close (from the site user). However, the apparent lack of ability to record subsequent close votes, makes it difficult for site users to conveniently show that two or three people think that it should be re-closed.

  • How exactly do close votes work once a question has been re-opened by a moderator?
  • Is there a way of re-enabling close votes?
  • What is the appropriate protocol for democratically handling requests to re-close?
This is a good question. I was speaking with one of the other parties about the mechanics of the first bullet, and I don't quite remember, but I think it's on MSO somewhere. –  Chuck Sherrington Nov 18 '12 at 2:58
i believe you can only vote to close a question once-- so if a mod re-opens it, you can only vote to close if you hadn't voted the first time. this is by design, to prevent close/re-open wars. –  Jeff Nov 18 '12 at 2:59
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1 Answer

  1. If you voted to close once, it's gone. It doesn't actually matter if the post was closed or reopened or your vote expired or whatever. Mod-only closings/openings don't act any differently.

  2. No. Non-mods only get one close/reopen vote per question. If it's reopened you can't vote again. Moderators get unlimited "votes" in either direction because they're not voting, they're just doing.

  3. Consensus, if there's not enough "live" votes to get the post closed organically. If the general will of the community (generally the ones who "get" the site moreso than random passers-by, honestly) appears to indicate a post should be opened/closed it seems a moderator should open/close the post unless there's really good reason not to (like if it's really bad but really popular or there's a discussion about the issue on Meta that's not concluded yet).

3. Personally, I feel a mod should not close a Q without at least one or two community close votes, and likewise should not reopen a Q without one or two community re-open votes. Exceptional cases, like the one that spawned this Q, can be discussed in chat or meta –  Jeff Nov 18 '12 at 21:27
@Jeff I can't disagree more: Especially on Beta sites with small user bases it's important to close posts quickly but the community votes might just not be there. –  Ben Brocka Nov 19 '12 at 0:04
but how can you be sure the post "needs" to be closed quickly? I'm not suggesting you wait for 5 close votes, i said "one or two" community votes. Two people (including a mod) is not a lot, and worth the short wait to verify that it's the right decision. If, as a mod, you think it should be closed "immediately", ask in chat to see if others agree. On this site, we'll only get a handful of visits before you get a response anyway. Oligarchy is not the way to go. The meta post you linked to is correct, but you're missing the key phrase: use this power judiciously –  Jeff Nov 19 '12 at 0:15
Note the offending Q is actually the reverse-- the question was closed organically by the community, then re-opened by a mod without a single re-open vote. Closed Qs are still visible on the front page, so there's no harm in waiting for at least one re-open vote before action. –  Jeff Nov 19 '12 at 0:17
@Jeff personally I don't think it should have been reopened, mod or no, but mods are often needed to close things so they can be improved before answers flood in. I've seen very many questions become tangled messes because they're edited significantly after being answered; this results in deleted or irrelevant answers and lots of frustrated people –  Ben Brocka Nov 19 '12 at 0:22
The reason this is important is to avoid situations like this: a Q was closed with good reason, re-opened by a mod, and will likely be closed again. This is a waste of everyone's time. Close/re-open by a mod should be limited to unambiguous questions in which the mod has good reason to believe the majority of the community will support his decision. –  Jeff Nov 19 '12 at 0:22
Then we are in agreement, no? –  Jeff Nov 19 '12 at 0:23
@Jeff I agree it should only be done in unambiguous situations, but that's not "a mod shouldn't close/reope without at least X community votes". –  Ben Brocka Nov 19 '12 at 1:42
There are, as I said, exceptional cases. But this is not the norm. As you said on the meta post ...insta-close should be used only when there is an important, immediate reason (spam, offensive) to take action on a post. (I realize this is taken out of context, and that you may not agree with it. I'm saying that I do agree with it). –  Jeff Nov 19 '12 at 1:59
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