Since last couple of days, I have seen too many questions in the "Close Votes" queue.

Many of these questions are old, have multiple upvotes, lenghty comments and no answers. E.g

Another common thing is that almost all have a comment from user Mark Mayo OP has not returned to clarify. Voting to put on hold..

Looking at above questions, it is not apparent if any urgent clarification is required from OP for a decent answer. Indeed we have many questions here which have been answered in a generic way without knowing all the details.

To me this looks like a shot at pushing up the answer rate of the site (by closing unanswered questions). I usually vote to keep these questions open.

Should we be closing such fair/good questions because they have been unanswered for a long time?

  • It's always only if a commenter has asked a question before ideally answering, and the OP has never returned. I'd argue it's best to clarify, rather than guess. Most community votes seem to be agreeing.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 6:32
  • In the case of the specific posts linked, they had 3 leave open vs 2 close vote and 2 leave open vs 1 close vote respectively. They were closed because a close vote from a moderator closes immediately, not because the community agreed.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 10:33

4 Answers 4


It's the hats fever. Every year around this time you shall see a lot of activities that you do not usually see at high numbers during the rest of the year. Nothing to worry about.

Don't even feel surprised if @Doc asked a question one year around this time.

  • 3
    Hats are cool but I feel voting borderline/OK unanswered questions for mass closure is not a very constructive thing to do.
    – RedBaron
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 5:54
  • 2
    While hats might have triggered this years cleaning action, @MarkMayo has done rounds of cleaning old unanswered abandoned questions in the past, not at 'hats' times as well. I feel this answer is not 'the best' as it does not look into why the close votes were given.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 21:55
  • I don't believe there are any hats for close votes? Maybe one? I'm just trying to clean up a bit.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 8:36

This is one of the regular attempts to clean up the lower quality posts, and specifically, a lot of these ones are ones where the original poster was asked to provide clarity or detail, then never returned, leaving a poor quality orphaned question. We should have spotted the majority of them ages ago and deleted them then, but it is easy to miss a few.

And contrary to Franck's misguided approach - we would always rather close a bad question first, before it gets answers, so it can either be improved into a good quality question, in which case it can be opened and get good quality answers, or if it never gets attention it gets cleaned up.

  • You have misread my "misguided approach". I am talking about incorrect close votes. Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 17:50
  • The upvotes do not make them seem "Low quality". Most of these questions appear to be answerable and lack of clarifications from OPs side do not seem to be a blocker. The only common thing in these seem to be that they have been unanswered for a long time.
    – RedBaron
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 0:28
  • 2
    @redbaron - they are unanswered and the OP has not responded to requests for detail, which is a blocker
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 17:31

I had some time to do some of the review queue and most of them could or should have been closed some weeks after asking as 'not enough information and OP clearly not coming back to clarify.'

So vote as you see fit but close votes are often right. Do not vote to keep them open because you assume it is a cleaning operation. Sometimes you need to clean.

  • 2
    I do usually vote as I see fit and in this wave most of the questions I find to be fairly detailed so that an approximate answer can be provided. I also feel that if someone had provided an approximate answer, these questions would not have attracted the close vote, even if OP had not interacted with the answer to provide updates/details.
    – RedBaron
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 14:36
  • @RedBaron and it's ok if we disagree - that's why it takes 5 votes. Community consensus and all that.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 8:37

One issue is that inexperienced travelers sometimes incorrectly cast close votes. I've had this issue happened many times on my questions, e.g. most recently on What's the point of checking in several days before a flight?. As a result one solution would be to ban people from cast close votes if those votes are too often blatantly incorrect.

  • 2
    My issue is that once you vote to close a question, it is not difficult to find 4 other people who will agree with you but who otherwise would not have cast the first vote to close the question.
    – RedBaron
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 14:38
  • @RedBaron true, there's a lot of sheep behavior, and that's the same for downvotes btw. Another issue is people can't cast a keep it open vote before the question gets closed. Makes no sense. Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 22:38
  • 6
    Franck - you know that the review ban does happen if people are too often incorrect. The challenge you need to be aware of is that it is not you who defines what is correct - we know you object to your posts being closed (most folks do take it personally) but it is very rarely incorrect. The vast majority of close votes are correct
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 16:42
  • @RoryAlsop One way to approximate what incorrect means is when the question gets reopened or that the question doesn't get closed. I don't take it personally since incorrect close votes happen regardless of the OP, I just find it very annoying. Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 16:59
  • You shouldn't get annoyed by any of the everyday functions of Stack Exchange. The whole point is that people in the community vote however they want on posts. It doesn't have any real world impact at all. And people don't (generally - there are exceptions, but they tend to get dealt with) pick on people. People who do post a lot of questions or answers that don't fit the community well do find they get a lot of downvotes and close votes, but that is fixed by learning the community better.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 17:03
  • 1
    @RoryAlsop The real world impact is that this slows down me getting answers to my questions. I'm not asking questions to play the rep game. Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 17:04
  • 1
    And the real world impact of poor questions that need fixing is an impact on multiple people, from editors and high rep folks up to mods and sometimes CMs. As none of us get paid for this, it makes sense to improve the quality of questions for all, you see?
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 17:08
  • @RoryAlsop I am talking about incorrect close votes and not poor questions Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 17:09
  • 7
    And I'm talking about your misconception that close votes are incorrect. Almost all close votes are correct, because any member of the community can vote as they see fit for the community
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 17:12
  • @RoryAlsop One way to approximate what incorrect means is when the question gets reopened or that the question doesn't get closed Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 17:18
  • @FranckDernoncourt, reopen votes can be and often are wrong as well. That a question gets reopened does not mean that it is a good question but that a few people did follow the 'lets reopen this question vote'. No more sense about it than about the follow the close votes.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 21:52
  • @Willeke this is why I wrote "approximate". Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 13:19

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