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To close a question that might be conceived to be against homework policy, or lacks clarity only 4 users need to vote to close it.

But some obscure questions might be unclear to a majority of the users, but clear to a small minority and those questions gather up close votes quickly, almost with a herd mentality. I have come across this several times, where a question is almost perfectly clear to me, but others don't understand it (out of their field) and quickly close the question before any answers are posted. This leads to frustration and loss of time from both the poster and the dedicated users of this site.

I propose to add a vote not to close in the community reasons to close a post. This will allow dissenting votes to be heard, or at least seen. This might reduce the herd mentality as it will show X people have voted to close, and Y people have voted not to close.

This would preempt the Close first, and the vote to open later process.

I believe this change will improve the experience of this community. Some of us have been active since the beta days 11 years ago and are so happy to be part of this experience, and want nothing more to welcome more and more people to be apart of [Physics.SE].

I read this meta post which claims that there is considerable inertia in the system not to change the close vote mechanics. That is understandable, but is the overall [SO] ecosystem so rigid? From a technical point of view, it would be just another reason to close, but with a negative effect on the total vote to close score. That does not seem to be a great challenge to me.

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    $\begingroup$ 1. See meta.stackexchange.com/q/125/263383, in particular meta.stackexchange.com/a/134673/263383 as for why this was not implemented when "Leave Open" votes were first implemented. 2. "That does not seem to be a great challenge to me." - your "technical point of view" is still a high-level/user-focused view. On a truly technical level, the SE engine manipulates entries in a database, and how easy this feature is to implement depends entirely on how close/leave open votes are currently represented in that database and how they would have to be represented to achieve this. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Feb 6 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ If you have a reason to not close the question, do not forget to send a comment. The probability of that it will alter votes, is not negligible, even if it looks so. (For example: very interesting task, the answer shows (important thing)). $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Feb 19 at 9:52
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    $\begingroup$ I've hidden a comment which suggests answer un-deletion as a way to answer questions which the community has voted to close. Don't do that. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Feb 19 at 15:36

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You can do this from the review queues, but not from the question.

It used to be the case that our close queue was generally not much larger than the maximum number of close votes you can cast in a day, currently 24. In those days, if there was a question you wanted to keep open, you could pop over to the close queue, spend ten or fifteen minutes helping to curate your community, and be reasonably certain that your question of interest would appear in that workflow.

Right now the close queue is too big for that to work well (it shows me 99 questions to review). But that may be because the number of close queue reviewers is currently pretty small, with only about a dozen reviewers active this month, and only four (!) users averaging more than one close review per day. This is a case where just a couple of additional people could make a habit of visiting the review queues and have a big impact on the process.

Other options, from less effort to more effort, include:

  • Add the question to your list of followed/favorited/bookmarked posts, so you can come back later and keep an eye on its progress.

  • Add a comment explaining why you think the close voters are mistaken and the question is actually on-topic. (But: politely. While it may be the case that close voters are big stupid doo-doo heads who want nothing more than to suck the fun out of everything, we don’t have to tell them about it.)

  • Edit the question so that it is more obviously on-topic. But be careful not to change it to a different question. I often leave comments of the form “this question (v1) is probably off-topic, but a related question that was like X might work for us.”

  • Answer the question. I have certainly read questions that I thought were unclear, then read answers which made me say “oh, so that’s what the question was actually about.”

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  • $\begingroup$ My current MO is to leave a comment on why I think a question should remain open. If I really care I might post a quick answer, just to "lock it in" and later go and edit to a more elaborate response, although this might be considered an abuse of the system. Worst case scenario is spending 20-40 minutes on a detailed response, only for the question to be closed right before I post the answer, making my efforts moot. $\endgroup$ Feb 6 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ A quick answer which is improved later on is a completely appropriate use of the system. Beware that your quick answer needs to actually answer the question; some users get the idea of posting a content-free placeholder in the answer box, which is subject to downvotes, not-an-answer deletion, et cetera. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Feb 6 at 21:20
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    $\begingroup$ About finding a certain question in the review queue. You can filter based on tags (3 max I think), so you can still narrow it down to find a particular question easily if you wanted to. $\endgroup$ Feb 8 at 5:09

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