Back in the early days of the site, there was a question about letting the community close questions through the normal 5-votes-to-close mechanism. That was a little impractical at the time because we had very few high-rep users, and three of those were moderators (whose close votes are automatically binding), so if we (moderators) left questions to be closed by the normal mechanism, it would take forever.

Now, though, things are different; we have 24 users with over 3000 reputation, the threshold required to vote to close questions, and several other users are close to reaching 3000 rep. So I would like to encourage high-rep members of the community to step up and vote to close questions that need to be closed. I know I close a lot of questions myself but I have been and will be trying to back off on that, to allow the normal community closure mechanism to work more often.

While I'm at it, I'm curious about why it is that I don't see a whole lot of nonbinding close votes. Is it just that the moderators have been too quick to close questions, so other high-rep users don't get to vote on them? Or do high-rep users just not inclined to bother with that sort of thing?

UPDATE: We do have a meta question for candidate closures that we could use to list questions for 3000+ users to vote to close. I'll start posting some links there in lieu of actually voting to close myself.

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    $\begingroup$ I've voted to close now and again. It doesn't usually seem worth it because a moderator always closes it before it gets to five votes, or else it just stays open. Since I know that's going to be the case, I don't have much incentive to continue voting. I'll start voting to close more often. $\endgroup$ – Mark Eichenlaub Jan 25 '12 at 23:40
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    $\begingroup$ Also I've noticed people with enough rep to vote to close leaving comments saying "this is a duplicate", but not actually voting to close. $\endgroup$ – Mark Eichenlaub Jan 25 '12 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for pointing that out @Mark, I had a feeling that would be the case. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jan 25 '12 at 23:50
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    $\begingroup$ The moderators over on Cryptography have put together a pretty cool close vote FAQ that might be worth a gander. :) $\endgroup$ – Aarthi Jan 26 '12 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ Today a question was closed as a duplicate by five votes without help from moderators. That must be a first in Phys.SE history. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic May 16 '12 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic I think I've seen it happen a couple of times before actually... but that is pretty great :-) $\endgroup$ – David Z May 16 '12 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkEichenlaub: That's what I do when I remember the dup, but I search for it, and fail to remember enough keywords to find it. I leave it there saying I would vote to close if I found it. I think the moderators amplify the close-vote power, so if it gets to 2 or 3, the mods will close, so I don't see something broken. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Sep 10 '12 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I try to hold off on closing until the question already has at least a couple close votes from others, depending on how obvious a closure it is. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 10 '12 at 18:39

Note, it doesn't require just the > 3K users of the site to help out in this endeavor.

Users that have less than 3K rep can flag the post for moderator attention if they believe that the post should be closed.

Granted, this means that there are only two votes that are being used to close a question (the flag is in essence is a vote, as well as the moderator's vote that closes it), so it places a little more responsibility on the moderator making the call.

A note with this, while flagging isn't transparent to the entire community, it is logged (as well as the moderator's action for the flag). SE staff and other moderators can see the results, so nothing is lost in the case of a contentious flag.

The other benefit of this is that moderator flags don't decay, while close votes do, so if there's a question that really needs it, but not enough > 3K users active to close it, other users can contribute to this effort.

  • $\begingroup$ Eh, this post is rather outdated, it's from the Era of No Review Queue. But you have a validpoint. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Dec 9 '12 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth Agreed, but it can be reformulated into help that all users can use to help with the governance of their site when they see things that everyone agrees obviously don't belong. $\endgroup$ – casperOne Dec 9 '12 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Manishearth I don't think it's outdated. Review queue or not, we still need people to help with closures. $\endgroup$ – David Z Dec 9 '12 at 19:09

David I just tried to vote to close as duplicate a recent question and could not do it after submitting the duplicate link. It was not possible to click on a link to finish the suggestion. The links to duplicate questions are in the comments of Lubos.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think I ever had that problem with the site, but I have had some other "it doesn't work for me" experiences. At least sometimes clearing your cache and reloading the offending page will solve it. Alas, I already closed the one in question. If the problem persists past a cache clearing a report that includes your browser and OS data would probably be helpful. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jan 26 '12 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Huh, weird. I'd agree with dmckee, just ignore it for now but post on meta if it happens again. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jan 26 '12 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ @anna v: Suggestions: (1) Try to use the permalink. (2) After you have pasted the link into the box, try to press the downarrow key on your keyboard, and see if the link is recognized. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Jan 28 '12 at 14:45

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