There is a comment on the MSO post We’re lowering the close/reopen vote threshold from 5 to 3 for good

Other sites can have whatever threshold is most appropriate for them, @gnat – Shog9 Dec 3 '19 at 17:40.

Should we lower the threshold of close votes from five to three?

Apparently some of our prominent members had mixed feelings about the topic last December - maybe those feelings remain or have changed. I figured it should be captured here in Meta - for posterity.

Bonus: Since there are a few Monty Python fans here, this comment would apply:

Finally we are no longer living in sin, for on the matter of close votes it is written: "three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out."Jeroen Mostert Dec 3 '19 at 21:38

Update Dec. 17 2020

See this MSE post

We're working on it. Nicolas and I are both assigned to this project to investigate the benefits of this change. We got a late start because there was a mix-up in having this project worked on in November but we're working on it. ...



I surveyed the recent close-vote history, and it's clear that there is a good quorum at three votes. Pulling out yesterday's reviews, it's clear that almost all the votes for closing questions ended up in close votes anyway. Additionally, people quickly vote to keep posts open too, and those votes typically end up in questions left open (one was edited, which removes it from the queue, and another was still closed, with just 1 vote to leave-open.

Recent Reviews

In short, it is inevitable that the ultimate direction a close-vote review queue goes is determined within the first couple of votes... and waiting for 5 just leaves it for the question to gather unnecessary time on the front page, and sometimes it takes a while for the post to await 5 votes, and attract bad answers, or unnecessary dialog as a result.

Bad questions should be closed quickly, and the community has a good track record of being able to do that within 3 close votes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Should moderators get more hands-on with closing? I cast a close vote once in a while in clear-cut cases where my binding vote makes no difference, otherwise I tend to leave it up to community votes. (for the record I also support lowering the threshold to 3) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23 '20 at 15:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MathieuGuindon are you asking rolfl specifically? if not, I would suggest a separate question... \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23 '20 at 17:13
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ As a mod I tended to avoid the close-vote queue, @MathieuGuindon - hammer-closing is controversial. It also is not an "exception" that requires moderator intervention. The community needs to learn to do some janitorial things. Having said that, now I tend to avoid the close-vote queue because processing it properly takes more time than most people give it.... and when I see 10 questions or so, I tend to skip it. Although I still visit the review queues every day, I pass over the close-vote queue. So, I should practice what I preach :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – rolfl
    Oct 23 '20 at 18:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not only do I agree with this answer, I believe that reaching close status earlier will prevent/reduce some pile-on downvoting. I am only monitoring the php questions in this community, but I am not seeing any answers (okay, maybe 1 in 100) posted on pages that begin to receive close votes. Usually close voters are expressive about the justification and they leave a comment explaining to the OP and the community why the question should be closed instead of answered. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1 '20 at 2:32

Since I'm the one being cited, I may as well write an update clarifying my stance back then and my current one.

It started out in December with me linking in chat to the MSO post, a little earlier than the original link goes. There was some concern about the intentions of the company and whether it would be useful for Code Review. Part of what fuelled those concerns was (at least for me) a quote from Shog9 in this MSO answer:

Oh, right... That no-consensus thing went up by a thousand percent. We should, uh, probably fix that.

We weren't doing so bad on closing questions, there was an effort to keep it that way and there was a risk of side-effects. Considering so far it would only be released at SO, we collectively shrugged and went about our business. I've kept an eye out on the project, but every time a robo-reviewer showed up I was glad we still needed 5 votes to close instead of 3.

However, lately it has been going better. In general I agree with rolfl's answer, but I'd like some consensus on how to deal with side-effects before implementing it.


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