In a separate question, it was said:

I always try to balance things out between the number of people showing appreciation and the people signalling that the question isn't appropriate. Just flagging something doesn't necessarily mean your flag will be treated with more weight than the 10 upvotes the question has already gotten.

However, these closed questions seem to contradict that statement:

Both were closed by just moderators and both have 5 upvotes and no downvotes. I don't disagree with closing these questions, but if these questions are closed because they aren't valid questions for the site, then why are other questions kept open solely for the reasons mentioned in the above quote? This is very inconsistent.

EDIT: There are lots more examples of questions that were closed with multiple upvotes and just a moderator closing them: https://ux.stackexchange.com/search?tab=votes&q=closed%3a1

  • 4
    I'm confused about what your question is about now. Are you complaining that the moderators close questions they shouldn't or that they are leaving question open that should be closed?
    – ChrisF
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 16:07
  • @Chris - My problem is that the moderators are completely inconsistent in their closing. Personally, I think they are leaving numerous questions open that should be closed, but when I asked about that, I was given the reason that they use community voting as an assist on whether or not to close an off-topic question. However, the examples provided here contradict that statement. I'm looking for consistency one way or another. Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 16:16
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    @Chris - I'd definitely prefer that questions got closed because they are off-topic, regardless of votes, but I at least want the moderators to be consistent and open about said consistency. If questions are going to be kept open because "the community likes it" (which is essentially what Rahul and Vitaly are getting at in the other question) then that should be documented in the FAQ. Otherwise, the off-topic questions should all be closed, regardless of what "the community wants". Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 16:17

3 Answers 3


Just because a question has up-votes doesn't mean it shouldn't be closed. People may well like the question, but if it's off topic it should be closed, regardless of it's vote score.

On a low traffic site where there aren't many users with close rights, it's to be expected that there may well only be the moderator vote present - especially if other lower rep users have flagged the question for moderator attention.

However, it's not always practical to add close reasons to the post. The auto generated text points to the FAQ which gives the reasons why the post was closed.

There are plenty of questions on other sites that are closed while having up-votes.


From the other side - regarding questions that are left open that perhaps should be closed but have been left open - all you can do is flag them for moderator attention and give a good reason why you think it should be closed. The moderator might not agree, but with a good reason you have more chance of it being closed. Also you have enough rep to cast close votes - do so. Other high rep users will see this and will cast their own votes if they agree. Also a question with close votes as opposed to close flags is more likely to actually get closed.

Moderators can only work with what they see. Unless you bring these questions to their attention they will remain open. Moderators don't have the time to go looking for questions to close.

  • I agree completely - that's kind of the point I've been trying to make. It's an even bigger problem on UX I think because we have a decent number of people that upvote anything they have even the slightest interest in, no matter how off-topic it is. Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 15:48
  • @Charles This is why anyone can vote, but only experienced users can close/reopen. It leads to madness like this Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 15:52
  • @Michael - yeah, I understand that too. The problem with UX is that we don't have enough experienced users that are actively voting to close things that should be closed so we really have no option but to rely on flags and the moderators to get these off-topic questions closed. And when moderators don't follow some sort of reliable and repeatable ruleset, we're just going to end up with more and more questions that don't belong. Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 16:04
  • I cast close votes and flag them. We don't have enough high-rep people that pay attention to the tools and see things that need to be closed to get them closed without moderators doing the actual closing. The problem is the moderators aren't closing things they should when they see these close votes and flags. Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 2:24
  • Your edit doesn't really make sense. I AM bringing these things to the moderators' attention. The point is that they aren't doing their jobs when it is brought to their attention. My other question is talking about questions being voted on and being flagged, which is exactly what you are saying I should do. Why are you telling me to do something that I am clearly already doing? Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 2:31
  • @Charles - OK I've clearly missed the point, sorry.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 14:14

I don't disagree with closing these questions, but if these questions are closed because they aren't valid questions for the site, then why are other questions kept open solely for the reasons mentioned in the above quote? This is very inconsistent.

Like many things in life, I don't think there can be a definitive answer, because this is a judgment call. However, we do provide a bunch of specific guidance on how to keep subjective content constructive, such as:

All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. How do we define that? Constructive subjective questions …

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  • tend to have long, not short, answers.
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
  • are more than just mindless social fun.

Questions that do not meet enough of these six guidelines will be closed as "not constructive." Please see the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective blog post for more details and examples.

There is a bit more at https://ux.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. (You are more than welcome to have such discussions in our real time web chat.) However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK.

We provide as much guidance as we can -- there are also sample questions in the above faq link.

But in the end, it is always a judgment call based on a set of criteria. That's also why we have multiple moderators (and SE, Inc) staff and meta -- this very site -- to assist.


The question about recurrent usability problems was migrated from UXExchange.com, where it probably acquired most of its upvotes.

The question about authentication has a comment suggesting that it should be closed. That comment has as many upvotes as the question itself (5). Note that the question was asked early in the site's history -- Rahul was probably the only person who had accumulated enough rep to cast a close vote and wasn't a moderator.


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