Recently this question was reopened by 5 reopen votes from 5 members with more than 500 reputation points (including me) which at this point of the forum's history is quite a few votes. Only 38 members have enough reputation to vote to reopen so 5 is 13% of those eligible to vote.

Subsequently, Noldorin, who closed the question the first time closed it again with this comment:

I'm sorry, I'm closing this again until the question is improved! – Noldorin♦ 5 hours ago

Why give us the right to reopen if a moderator is going to arbitrarily close it without discussion?

What are the guidelines for moderators overriding the reopen votes of the community?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Right now, this topic addresses 2 separate issues. The first one (single-handedly closing a question reopened by the community) is the most important to discuss. The second one (the exchange of words) is more personal, more arguable, and more prone to flaming. I think the topics should not be together, because the second one will end up overshadowing the first. $\endgroup$
    – Malabarba
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @Bruce. Unless you want this to become a flame-war I suggest you remove the parts about Noldorin. You are free to think about him anything you want and also free to ask about moderator elections. But you won't solve anything else like this (unless it was your intent to just start a flame-war). If you have a problem with him sort it out privately. $\endgroup$
    – Marek
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. I'll separate out the issue. I'm not trying to start a flame war. $\endgroup$
    – inflector
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


This is a topic that we should definitely hash out.

My own view is that moderators should almost never override the community. The reasoning behind that is that, although moderators were presumably chosen because of their (our) ability to exercise good judgment on administrative matters, a moderator is still just one user. In general, I don't see any justification for the opinion of one user to override the opinion of five others who have expressed the opposite view.

This is a community-driven website, and most of our decisions should be made by consensus. So when there is a clear disagreement between two groups of people, both with the ability to undo each others' actions (e.g. one moderator and five other users), we need to put things on hold, allow both sides to make their case, and determine which view has greater support. Once we reach a decision, everyone then needs to abide by it, but especially the moderators, since we have that unilateral power.

(In this case, that would entail starting a separate question on meta in which we decide whether the original question should be open or closed. Noldorin can present his case for closing and other people who think the question should be open can present their case for that. Perhaps I'll start that other question shortly.)

Now, there may be certain times in which it would be appropriate for a moderator to override a community close vote. I can't really think of a good example, but I just want to acknowledge the possibility that it may happen. This is probably not as much of an issue here as on Stack Overflow, though, where there are so many 10k+ users that a question can get 5 close votes even if a minority of people actually think it should be closed.

Feel free to downvote this if you don't agree.

  • $\begingroup$ +1, I completely agree. $\endgroup$
    – r_31415
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ +1, That's how I see it as well. There should be a process involved before it potentially gets closed again. The phrase "community-driven" either means something or it doesn't. $\endgroup$
    – inflector
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 21:25

My opinion.

Moderators are human exception handlers. Therefore they shouldn't override community vote to reopen, except for exceptional cases.

I think that the particular case you are mentioning is exceptional.

  • $\begingroup$ I think an explanation of why you think this particular case is exceptional might make a very good answer for this meta question. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ @David - I agree. What is there about this particular question that warrants an override of the community vote? $\endgroup$
    – inflector
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 21:18

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