Our moderators have mentioned that they avoid closing questions unilaterally, unless it's a slam-dunk case. I think I've seen similar stances on other sites' metas, and this seems like a good general policy.
However, I think I've seen some inconsistent wording, and I'm now confused about the exact meaning of this. Do mods avoid casting close votes in general, or do they specifically only stay away from cases with 1 or 0 pending votes? Like if there are 3-4 pending close votes, do they still hesitate to cast the last one if they feel the question's off-topic?
I see multiple things to look at: firstly, we could say that the mods shouldn't be doing this because perhaps someone takes it a lot more personally/seriously when one of those close voters has a diamond, whether there are five voters or one. (Or is there some other reason?) I get the feeling (particularity based on the extreme-looking Tor SE close stats) that the data in 2018: a year in moderation (also see DavidZ's answer there) indicate actions which moderators took along with regular users (e.g. one of the 5 close-voters was a moderator) under the column 'moderators'. That suggests to me that the focus is on the fact that moderators were involved, rather than the extent of their involvement in the closing process.
On the other hand, I think it's completely appropriate for a moderator to close a question with a few pending votes simply because they feel it's off-topic (or whatever), and they're expressing that as any ordinary (though somewhat high-rep) user would: by votes.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with whatever the status quo is; I'm simply curious about this.