A while back, Niels van Reijmersdal asked a question about the closing police. Since then, they've gotten the more negative title of the "closing mafia".

I've just gotten enough rep to help review the close queue, and while I've tended to close questions if it looks like the OP isn't being responsive to improving it, I've also tried nominating questions I voted to close for "reopening" if the OP does come back and make some attempt at improving them. I think this is the intent of being able to close questions as "unclear what you're asking" or "too broad".

However, my initial impressions are the regular close-voters tend to be resistant to reopening closed questions. See Why does it take a long time to spider an application? as a recent example--while it still isn't a great question, the OP has at least put some work into improving it and shown that they're responsive to feedback (I had left a comment about why I was voting to close, which I deleted when I voted to reopen after the OP's edit).

I'm concerned that this may discourage the very behaviors (and users) we want to encourage. We certainly get a lot of novice users that show up, ask a bad question, and then are never heard from again, so when a user demonstrates that they are willing to respond to feedback, shouldn't we give them the "benefit of the doubt" even if there's still additional room for improvement? Seems like if we just close the question and ignore their attempts to make improvements, we're telling them to go away and never come back.

I agree with the sentiment in the answers to Niels's question that leaving a comment when voting to close is good practice, but it seems like that's even more important if someone votes to reopen and you vote to leave closed, assuming there's been an intervening edit.

2 Answers 2


I try to edit questions with close votes to clear up the flaws, and to ask users to edit their own questions in specific ways.

The "closing mafia" is a problem. I'm not sure how to tell someone "just because you don't know the answer doesn't make the question unclear", any more than I want to tell someone "the fact that it involves code does not make it automatically off-topic".

Beyond that, I think - unfortunately - the best option is for those of us who care to do our best to promote fixing salvageable questions and reopening them.

  • I may stop voting to close questions at all for now if there's this much momentum against being able to reopen them.
    – c32hedge
    Aug 11, 2017 at 18:55
  • 6
    That would be the wrong approach, hedge. If you see a question that needs to be closed, close it. If you see a question that needs to be opened, open it. If you open it because you've already got a vote, or there's a lot of resistance, flag it. The system is designed to work such that it still works even when there's bad actors. (Not that the 'closing mafia' are malicious, simply misguided.)
    – corsiKa Mod
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:02
  • @corsiKa thanks, I didn't know flagging was appropriate in such a case.
    – c32hedge
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:26
  • "The "closing mafia" is a problem" do you think that the "closing mafia" is a bigger problem than hundreds of low-quality or abandoned questions?
    – Alexey R.
    Mar 27, 2018 at 15:00
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    @AlexeyR. I think the "closing mafia" is as much of a problem as the many low quality and abandoned questions, because of a pattern of hitting the close button for questions that really don't need to be closed - good questions or questions that could be good with a little work.
    – Kate Paulk Mod
    Mar 27, 2018 at 15:21
  • But clicking "close" button does not automatically mean closing the question. It is always a team decision. May be the solution of "closing mafia" problem is to increase the threashold (if the threasholds are used to close the question)
    – Alexey R.
    Mar 27, 2018 at 15:26
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    @AlexeyR. there are 4-5 users who are prone to hit the close button with very little thought or investigation. 5 close votes will close a question, and 3 will put an answer on hold. The "closing mafia" rarely if ever comment on their actions or suggest edits.
    – Kate Paulk Mod
    Mar 27, 2018 at 15:31

This particular question needs specifics about the application technology and the spidering technology in order to answer. Right now it's basically "why is my test slow" without the supporting information to actually help answer it. We don't have the test code or the code of the app or even what technologies are being utilized. Is there a solid question in there? Yes, Do we have the information necessary to analyze and provide an answer? No.

If the person wants to edit and provide more info then I don't see a problem re-opening it. There are tons of questions asked where people basically say "why did this happen" and leave off the details needed to provide an adequate answer or even help analyze what they are talking about. Usually I comment and ask them to clarify, but I can see the case for people closing these as "unclear". I personally think it might help to have a guide that is displayed for people asking questions that includes more a checklist on things for them to include like specific technologies utilized, goal in question format, context, etc... but then every situation varies so I don't know if there is a solid generic checklist of things to go through.

  • 1
    I agree there still wasn't enough detail for someone to provide a good answer. My main issue though is the mafia voting to leave questions closed without providing feedback when an OP has made an initial attempt to improve their question.
    – c32hedge
    Aug 15, 2017 at 13:44
  • @c32hedge I agree comments are important to clarify, especially when closing. I don't know if there is a way to require a comment or agreement with an existing comment when voting to close. That might help rectify that.
    – mutt
    Aug 15, 2017 at 13:53

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