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Stack Exchange is testing a three-vote close threshold on 13 sites across the network. Writing.SE was not included on that list. However the mod team feel that it might be a good thing here, so we're asking the community for their opinion.

Currently we have a fairly small number of high reputation users who regularly complete moderation tasks. This leads to off-topic or unclear questions taking a long time to close. Many blatantly off-topic questions receive answers before they are closed, or require mods to step in a closed them single handedly.

Reducing the number of requiring votes to close/reopen questions would speed up moderation activities, reduce the workload on the mod team and potentially improve the overall quality over the site. It could also however lead to close/reopen cycles occurring more often as fewer users are required to make that happen. Therefore we should agree if this is a good thing for our community or not.

Should Writing.SE reduced the close vote requirement from 5 to 3?

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  • Even though I have access to close questions, there is never a que when I come to the Writing SE. I'm puzzled by that, since there's always a que on worldbuilding. So either there aren't that many close votes to give, or there are plenty of people actively voting so that the questions are cleared quickly. – DWKraus May 13 at 2:26
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No:

It is my opinion that creative SE's are better served with a broader tolerance for creativity. Sometimes, questions (especially those asked by new contributors) are not always phrased in the most perfect terms. People are free to edit questions, give helpful comments, and yes, vote to close.

On many SE sites, there is a culture of downvoting and shutting down questions quickly. That's with the 5 votes. As much as I like the subject matter on those sites, I don't use them. Sometimes that's okay, especially with very technical matters where there is a clear right and wrong answer, and sloppy questions make answers problematic.

But people who are being creative need a little flexibility to express what it is they are trying to say. Voting to close is rather unpleasant, but a needed fix for bad questions. However, silencing people's questions has a chilling effect on their willingness to come to our site. A small number of relatively rule minded voters can quickly shut down many questions, and figuring out after the fact why your question was closed is challenging at best. Although people are encouraged to give feedback about WHY the questions are closed, most people just vote and are done with it.

You can argue that reopening questions is easier, but from my observations, most people either DON'T, or they come up with a new, better question and ask that. Shutting down questions faster and more easily will just push people to ask questions on other sites. They have options; let's not make them use them.

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I think yes. You have good reasons. I agree with them. I'd put more but then it's just me rephrasing what you already said in the question.

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Yes.

While 800 rep points hardly allows me to be included in the group of "a fairly small number of high reputation users who regularly complete moderation tasks", I do try to check the review queues every few days, and I've cast 281 VTCs (and 8 reopen votes) to date.

Nonetheless, I agree that there are far too many blatantly off-topic questions and they're taking far too long to close. As a result, eager low-rep users are posting answers, and inevitably some of those are accepted, forever trapping the question in our library.

The best solution would be for more users with 500+ rep to become active on the review queues (and also peruse new questions for the last few days, for those that need sending to the queue). Unfortunately, this uptick in community moderation seems unlikely: the fact there's been so few responses to this question speaks volumes about the level of engagement of users on this site.

On that basis, I would – reluctantly – agree that we should move to three close votes, at least for a trial period of (say) six months.

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