Over the past few months I have found myself voting to Leave Open many questions that someone else voted to close as not concrete. A case in point is this question. While this question could have been improved in a number of ways the code was complete and I felt there was almost enough text to explain it. The only thing that I thought was truly lacking in the text was that the calculator wasn't identified as infix, prefix or post-fix.

Why am I complaining about this? At least partially because of Peilonrayz's answer to this META question. I agree with several of the points raised in that answer.

Is there a clear set of definitions for when any Off-Topic reason for VTC should be used?

How do we train our self-moderators? Any one of us that passes 3000 points can Vote to Close, I feel that we need a resource that we can consult for all the VTC reasons. If it exists can someone please point it out.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, "Is there a clear set of definitions for when any Off-Topic reason for VTC should be used?" I tried to clearly define our scope and rules, but it's a lot of effort and people seem to prefer faqs. I tried making an FAQ but my question wasn't well received either. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peilonrayz Mod
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 21:02

3 Answers 3


Use Comments and Chat

You could leave a comment challenging the VTC. This way, both OP and the community are aware of the pending VTC and your concerns about it. OP may react to reflect on their question, or person that voted could explain their reasons. Any discussion should then be taken to chat.

Some interesting links:

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd rather not show our dirty laundry to new posters. Chat is an option. On those questions where I can provide a decent answer I vote the question up and provide an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – pacmaninbw Mod
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then I'd focus on having a clear checklist for reviewers when to VTC (like the first link). Maybe there's a more up-to-date list available somewhere? \$\endgroup\$
    – dfhwze
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 19:01
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I'd not consider respectful disagreements on moderation "dirty laundry" \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 19:01
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ And if OP can be actively involved, it might facilitate further actions. However, in the question you linked, I also agree the question was perfectly on-topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – dfhwze
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 19:03
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Leaving a comment helps with the rest of the reviewers, but it doesn't address the users who have already reviewed the item. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 10:18

Nobody needs to be "trained".

The way that Stack Exchange works is through evolving consensus. Members do not have to share One True Understanding to participate in moderation activity; we are informed by precedent, but not bound by it.

Edit "borderline" posts

If you find a question that has a poor description but could easily be rescued, please dive in and improve it so the rest of the community can appreciate the value in the question. This is often enough to save a borderline question from closure.

Accept that closing helps protect the question

If changes are needed to the code, to provide the missing context for it to be reviewable, then closing is a useful protection against receiving answers. The rules of Code Review limit the edits that can be made to the code, specifically prohibiting any changes that can invalidate existing answers, so closing the question for a while allows the asker to complete the question's code.

Be proactive to reopen questions when the question is improved sufficiently to be reviewable (and make your own edits where appropriate to improve its standard).


I find there is nothing wrong with voting and nobody has to be educated.

Voting is subjective, that's why it's called voting. If it was objective then we wouldn't need to vote and bots could handle this alone.

Thus I think there is nothing we can do about it but to accept the opinion of other users who voted one way or the other. If a question gets closed anyway you can always vote to reopen it and we'll see whether the second chance will have any effect. The last resort option is of course when diamonds hammer a question open regardles of what the community thinks.

Comments help to make such decisions so I agree with @dfhwze.


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