When a question comes up in the re-open queue because it was edited, the default is to show the side-by-side comparison of the pre- and post- edit. There is another 'tab' available that will show the question as it appears after the edit. The view highlighting the changes is fine, and probably what I want to look at first, but there is a key piece of information missing, which is why the question was closed in the first place. This substantially increases the required effort to review the question, since I first need to try to assess why the question is closed by either skimming it or switching tabs to see the close reason and comments, then go on to assess whether the edit makes enough difference to warrant re-opening.

To those who may protest "but you should spend enough time to thoroughly assess the question no matter what", I assure you that I do give each question I review a fair assessment, however some reviews would be much speeded along if I started off knowing why the question was closed in the first place. Particularly for edits that simply add a paragraph to the end of the question (about half the questions I see in re-open, I'd estimate), it's usually straightforward to see whether the new paragraph makes the question more on-topic, or more clear, or narrower, but if I conclude that the edit makes the question clearer then realize the question is a duplicate, it's just frustrating.

So, would it be possible to add the close reason somewhere on the default view of the re-open queue? For instance, there is a banner that says something like "this question was edited after it was closed, should it be re-opened?"; that could read "this question was edited after it was closed for being off-topic (homework/engineering/non-mainstream)/too broad/duplicate/etc."

If this is better suited to mother-meta could migrate it there, but as close-reasons are on a per-site basis, presumably this needs some consideration on a per-site basis as well.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If it was closed as a duplicate, you can tell that from the default page. There is always a tab letting you view the duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 27 '15 at 18:40

Quite frankly, it shouldn't matter what the close reason was (unless it was closed as a duplicate, in which case that information is visible on the default page). No matter why it was closed, when you review a question for reopen, you should read through the post and assess whether or not you think the question is suitable to be open on our site based on its current state and nothing more. Understandably, it is sometimes necessary to get input from others or to figure out if the new version of the question has addressed the problems that originally had it closed, but checking things like this should be done only after you have assessed it yourself and decided it is a good fit (if you think it should be closed, no point to check why it was closed already).

Displaying the close reason right away can add a bias to a reviewer's decision. We want reviewers to review fairly and objectively. To that end, it makes more sense for the original close reason to not be immediately apparent. You may say that you aren't influenced by how others voted or by the original reason for closure, and perhaps that's true; however, some reviewers are and by hiding the close reason, we allow those reviewers to pass judgement without that being a possible source of bias. If you want, you can click a button and check for yourself. This gives everyone the option to go without knowing.

I'm not ashamed to admit that while I usually address each reopen vote fairly, there have been a few times where I realized I was letting the close reason affect my judgement and was being unfairly harsh or lenient because of it. Because that's always a possibility, I now always make sure to judge a question's content before looking at the close reason, just to ensure that cannot ever be a source of bias in my decision.

The point is (with the exception of duplicates, which usually shouldn't be changed significantly enough to warrant reopening), the close reason should be hidden to allow reviewers to choose whether or not they want to know it before deciding if a question should be closed or not. Putting the close reason in the top banner effectively removes the option of not seeing it.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I very much disagree. First, why is bias a bad thing here? What even is bias here? Judging if a question should be reopened without knowing why it was closed is like judging if a person should be paroled from prison without knowing why he was there in the first place. I'm not trying to make some holistic judgment of a question's value; I'm trying to determine if it no longer is in violation of site policy, and I don't see why I should tie one arm behind my back to do that. $\endgroup$ – user10851 Aug 27 '15 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Second, there are times when a quick judgment can be made with extra information. If something was closed for being unclear, I'll need to take a close look at what added formulas bring to the table. If something was closed for being homework, however, and the only addition is the asker now showing their work (but still just asking us to check it), then I can quickly determine that the question should remain closed. $\endgroup$ – user10851 Aug 27 '15 at 19:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If you review a question up for reopening, it isn't the same as reviewing a prisoner up for parole. We don't close questions as a punishment, we close them because they aren't currently suitable for the site. When you review one, you should review it just as if it is currently open. Read it through. Is it unclear? off-topic? Too broad? Etc. If it were a first post review, would you cast the first close vote on this or leave it open? If you would close it, leave it closed. If you would leave it open, vote to reopen. $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 27 '15 at 19:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The question may have at one point been unfit, but you should evaluate the question fairly as it is, not as it was. That would be like treating a reformed ex-con poorly because they used to be in prison. Should the question, as it is now, be closed? Why do you need to know why it was closed in order to answer that? That info wasn't available to reviewers that made the original close decision. They read it and judged. You should be able to do the same $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 27 '15 at 19:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ But the point is irrelevant. Even if you want to see the close reason before making a judgement, that's fine. But as I have said, some users want the option of reviewing it without knowing what the close reason was beforehand. Keeping it off the default page allows those users to have that option while all you need to do is click one button and you can view the reason before judging. Everybody can review the way they want. If you move the info to the default page, the reviewers that don't want to know it right away no longer have that option $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 27 '15 at 19:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The best way to accommodate the preferences of everyone is to keep it off the default page but leave it easily accessible. That is the status quo $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 27 '15 at 19:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Jim if that's how we should be reviewing, then the default view should just be the question, not the edit comparison... but the way it's presented, it's asking "does this edit solve the problems with this post that caused it to be closed", for which I contend that I first need to answer "what were the problems with this question". I can assess that myself, but it helps to first have a datapoint. And as to bias, if we were seriously worried about such biases, there is NO WAY the close review queue would show you counts of close votes by type when clicking vote to close. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Oman Aug 27 '15 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleOman I agree about the side-by-side view of the edits. Good point. But the close queue doesn't show the other votes right away, only when you click a button, like the reopen queue. Again, that offers the choice to review without the knowledge or with, whatever you want. Your proposal only removes choice from a reviewer all for the sake of removing a minor inconvenience from those who review the way you do. I for one believe it's worth the inconvenience if it allows reviewers more freedom to choose how they review posts $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 28 '15 at 5:38
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, reopen votes aren't shown without clicking to the page of the question in question. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Aug 29 '15 at 1:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .