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I feel like it is currently too hard for non-moderators to close and re-open questions on Webmasters. According to 2021: a year in moderation in the last year our moderators closed 989 questions while non-moderator users only successfully voted to close 2 questions. According to A Theory of Moderation "The ideal moderator does as little as possible" and reserves their big-hammer single-vote close actions for questions that are blatantly off-topic.

I propose that we reduce the number of close votes from regular users that it takes to close a question from five to three. If we wanted to do this, a community manager told me that they could make the change for us. Stack Overflow already made this change two years ago. They found that "lower close/reopen vote thresholds, better enables individuals to trigger each critical action: close, reopen, edit." I'd hope that if we made the same change here it would better empower our community and take much of the burden for keeping our site on-topic off the shoulders of the moderators.

Should we follow suit with Stack Overflow and reduce the close, re-open, and edit thresholds from five to three?

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    This question has been up for a week and received only positive feedback. I retagged this as status-review to summon staff. We are ready for this change. Jan 26 at 18:45
  • @V2Blast What do we need to do to make this happen? Feb 1 at 8:50
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    That's all you need to do for now – adding the [status-review] tag creates a ticket for us internally, and then it can be assigned to the relevant CMs.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Feb 1 at 15:11
  • @V2Blast Is this request stuck somewhere? It has been status-review for more than a month now. Feb 28 at 9:16
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    The task was on our backlog/between teams for a while, but now that the CM teams have been reorganized, we're hoping to be able to start going through these on a regular basis soon.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Mar 16 at 15:39

2 Answers 2

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As of now this site setting has been changed.

I went through the stats over the past couple of years and I can see that the moderators are doing the bulk of the closures - in fact, they've been involved in all but three over the last two years.

This chart shows the number of closures and reopens over time based on who was involved in the closure. The purple line is all closures and you can see there's only a handful of spots where the yellow "moderator" line can be seen peeking out behind it.

Graph showing posts closed and reopened over the last two years. There are between 60-80 posts closed in any given month and nearly all closures are handled by moderators.

That said, I want to caution y'all - this isn't going to necessarily reduce the load on the moderators... because the mods are casting the bulk of their close votes as the first vote to close, not the third or later.

Graph of which vote to close was used to close a question by a moderator. The 75% of votes to close cast by moderators are the first votes over time with moderators casting the second vote to close instead about 15% of the time.

The graph above shows which vote mods are casting - and it's usually the first vote. It's completely possible that the reason for this is that the likelihood of getting to five was really low, so the mods were taking the lead - the hope is that, with this lower target, mods may feel like they can step back a bit and let the community fill in the voting to get posts closed.

That said, it's up to you all to make that decision. Please let me know if you have any questions!

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    Thank you! As a moderator, I felt that we were not able to stand back and let the community handle closure because we haven't had enough users voting to close that anything ever got closed. We moderators will talk and figure out what our role in closing should be with this new setting. Hopefully we can get to the place where we are somewhat less involved in every closure and don't have to use our moderator hammers for every closure on the site. Jun 13 at 18:23
  • Sounds great! :)
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 13 at 18:24
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I think the numbers speak for themselves. Currently, if a moderator doesn't close a question it's likely not going to be closed.

I agree that we should lower the vote to close threshold to three votes.

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    Yes. ..........
    – Steve
    Jan 25 at 4:02

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