There's no doubt in my mind that some questions on this site need to be closed. I'm also convinced that we have a "pretty good" closing mechanism, whereby five users can close a question. This mechanism is likely to get better as more people get the 500+ reputation needed to vote to close or reopen.

To fill these gaps, and to move the process along, we also have moderators. That's a good thing. I'm all for giving moderators "supervoting" privileges, under my proposal, three ordinary votes. But I'm not willing to give one five, because I don't think one person, even a moderator, should have UNILATERAL closing privileges.

As I see it, there could be two ways to close a question. The first is when TWO members of the community vote to close. Then a mod comes along and completes the closure with a triple vote instead of waiting for three more from the community. End of story.

The second type of closure could be initiated by a moderator, followed by two additional votes from the community. It would highlighted as a "proposal to close" and would state the moderator's reasons. The proposal would remain open for up to 48 hours to attract two more close votes from the community, or conversely, vote to re-open. This would also give the questioner a "notice," plus an opportunity to fix the question. At the end of 48 hours, it would be re-evaluated as discussed in the closing paragraph.

As a community member, I would likely suppport a moderator his merits. In this example for instance, https://boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/4061/what-is-a-good-place-to-buy-board-games-in-new-york I didn't exactly vote to close, but did raise a question about its merits (since I'm relatively new to the site). I would certainly have contributed one of two votes toward a moderator initiative to close this question.

So what would happen after 48 hours? At that time, the close-reopen votes be tallied. To tip the balance, a SECOND moderator could close the question with three additional votes (six in total), unless there were two or more "reopen" votes from the community (which would reduce the tally to minus 4). I understand that there are two types of moderators, those drawn from the community, and those drawn from the site itself. Ideally the two closing moderators would have one drawn from each group.

Your thoughts?


4 Answers 4


But I'm not willing to give one five, because I don't think one person, even a moderator, should have UNILATERAL closing privileges.

Why not? Would you rather moderators unilaterally deleted inappropriate questions? Or would you restrict that too...

We leave moderator abilities fairly wide-open so that they are well-equipped to handle whatever situation comes up. Everything they do is logged, and most of their actions are visible to some or all of the larger community. We trust their discretion, and trust the community to keep them honest.

It's really nice when moderators don't have to do most of the moderation. But this requires a healthy, active community of voters - and it's not unusual to see sites where getting two user votes with a moderator vote is rare. Shrugging our shoulders and letting the site descend into ruin waiting for enough users to take an interest in moderating is a recipe for disaster.

If you feel a moderator - or 5 normal users - have made a bad call, say something! Bring it up here on meta. Frank, open discussion tends to be a lot more effective than increasingly complicated voting systems, especially when getting users to vote is already difficult.

  • I said that a moderator could START the process with three votes, rather than waiting for the community. And that if the community is silent, the question could be closed after forty-eight hours by a SECOND moderator.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 4, 2011 at 21:16
  • @Tom: so immediately, you need at least two people to handle every question that needs to be closed. Two people minimum, no matter what the circumstances. Moderators need only be involved when the community can't or won't respond in a timely manner - what justification do you have for making it more difficult to do their jobs?
    – Shog9
    Jul 4, 2011 at 21:27
  • This July 4th, we are celebrating a government "of the people, by the people, for the people," that will hopefully "not perish from the earth." Yes, two people, which can be two moderators.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 4, 2011 at 22:55
  • 8
    @Tom: and in these United States, we implemented this ideal via a representative democracy: individuals acting on behalf of many. You may vote for your local sheriff, but once in office he need not wait for your explicit approval before taking action.
    – Shog9
    Jul 4, 2011 at 23:43
  • 2
    @Shog9: Is there a process to remove moderators once they've been voted in? Last time I checked, in these United States, we can recall people we think are not voting in our best interests.
    – Powerlord
    Jul 6, 2011 at 14:20
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    @power - see the last paragraph of his answer. Speaking up is the way to go.
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Jul 7, 2011 at 0:55

This won't be changed as the moderator abilities are identical throughout the StackExchange network.

Dont forget that regardless of how a question is closed it only takes 5 votes from the community to reopen.


In my opinion, a recurring problem on all SE sites is the presence of questions that do not meet the established guidelines for quality. A proposal that increases the amount of time that substandard content is open and available is not something I would support without a strongly persuasive argument.

I'm not sure that argument is present here. I may be missing something, but the point here seems to be "I don't like how this works." I don't see a reason why the current system is hurting the site or how the proposed solution will help the site.

In the absence of a compelling argument, I support the current system.

  • There is a sense among some (myself included) that questions should be closed with some "help" from the community.meta.boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/319/… That is, if 2 two community members vote to close, a moderator could expedite the process with a "+3." Or a moderator could start the close process, and get two more community votes (not 4 more). But ideally, it should be all community, or community plus mod, in a pinch, two mods, not one single person.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 14, 2011 at 14:45
  • 1
    @Tom, I would disagree with your assertion: I think ideally, users would take advantage of existing features to help guide moderators' decisions. There are many, many requests across meta sites that are basically saying "Give me another way to do what is already possible." In your case, you can ask questions on meta to see if you are gauging the support of the community properly. If you are, moderators can learn from those questions, and if not, you can learn from the community ... neither case requires a change to the Stack Exchange system. Jul 14, 2011 at 15:00

While I think the moderators should be able to close questions unilaterally, I like the fact that they can still be voted 'reopened' (unlike deletions in which the community has no power).

What's critical to the process is holding them accountable by giving them feedback through Meta and flagging. Everyone makes mistakes, and there are hard calls to make, so any input should be appreciated.

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