This question (Why are there so few bedrooms in the Burrow?) has been reviewed to reopen 11 times(!)

You can see the timeline here, but the broad outcome is that it's gone through review nearly a dozen times and while it did originally pick up a couple of reopen votes (not enough to reopen it) the last eight times the decision to keep it closed has been entirely unanimous. That represents 18 individual users who've reviewed it and decided to keep it closed over nearly a year.

Given that this is apparently the almost single-handed work of one user, how is this not a breach of voting privileges?

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    For the record, I flagged this question for a mod to lock it and was rebuffed. – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 9:46
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    It's also worth noting that this isn't the only HP question that keeps being sent back to the reopen queue. There's a good few more; one of which has a meta about it and has since been locked. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 9:51
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    18 users: Stark07, DavidW, Ward, PaulieD, Bellatrix, Dranon, Edlothiad, tilley31, TheLethalCarrot, Shreedhar, sudhanva, fez, Vanguard3000, Mat Cauthon, Meat Trademark, RDFozz, Chenmunka, amflare. – Edlothiad Apr 11 '19 at 9:51
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    “how is this not an extreme breach of voting privileges?” — How/why would it be? You write as though it should be taken for granted that it already is and the opposite must be demonstrated, but have not made a case why it is. If some people nominate something for reopening and 18 people reaffirm it's closed, that's normal voting — and if it is a breach, I'll note nobody's questioning whether those among the 18 voting repeatedly to keep it closed in review might also be committing "an extreme breach of voting privileges". – doppelgreener Apr 11 '19 at 11:56
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    @Doppelgreener - My understanding is that you can VTR (again) once the original vote has 'aged-off' after a month or so. My concern is that someone is repeatedly dropping it into the queue, forcing people to continually review it. Merely because it's possible to do something doesn't mean that it's acceptable to do it. – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 11:58
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    Is it ironic that this meta question seems to have been the trigger to actually get the question reopened? – Todd Wilcox Apr 11 '19 at 14:18
  • @ToddWilcox - The Streisand effect at play – Valorum Apr 12 '19 at 17:58
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    With absolutely zero intention of starting any further comment discussion, I think it's worth noting that the "single handed work of one user" aspect of the question has gotten a bit murkier with a total of ten separate users voting to re-open the question on two different re-open votes so far. I think the total of close voters and leave closed reviewers is still higher, just wanted to clarify that things are less one-sided than they appeared to be when this meta question was asked. – Todd Wilcox Apr 12 '19 at 18:18

Given that this is apparently the almost single-handed work of one user, how is this not an extreme breach of voting privileges?

It's not a breach of voting privileges -- much less an extreme one -- because the system allows it and SE has explicitly designed the system to allow users to cast multiple close and re-open votes.

From the linked discussion on main meta, SE employee Shog9 has stated:

Allow re-casting votes that've aged away after 14 days. That is, 14 days...after your vote has aged away, you're free to cast the same vote again.

There is no indication that users may only cast the same vote a certain number of times; users are free to cast it as many times as the system will allow.

More explicitly, in the same main meta discussion Shog9 also said (emphasis his):

If you feel strongly enough about a question to keep burning your votes on it, so be it - the system should provide a well-defined, well-constrained path for you to do so rather than forcing you to seek out dodgy alternatives.

Again, if a user wants to cast the same vote every 14 days they are free to do so. The various rate limits on the voting privilege ensures that the user does not create too much noise. Furthermore, in the specific case of Science Fiction and Fantasy our reopen queue is nearly always empty so it's not like these votes are interfering with other questions in the queue.

That said, while a user is allowed to cast reopen votes repeatedly I don't think it is an effective way to try to reopen a post that the user feels strongly should be open -- especially if the results of the reopen reviews are repeated, unanimous decisions to leave it closed. It would be far better to post a meta question to discuss whether or not the specific question should be re-opened, thus allowing the entire community to discuss the question and present detailed arguments about why the question should be open or closed instead of merely a few users expressing their opinion in the form of a vote in a queue.

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    It strikes me that this is a classic case of what Shog referred to as the pinball table problem. Just because someone's actions don't make the table "tilt" doesn't mean that what they're doing is appropriate. In cases like those it would be for the "human exception handlers" to use their not-inconsiderable influence to suggest to a user that they're being a bit of a wally and can they stop it please. – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 16:21
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    @Valorum "In this case it would be for the "human exception handlers" to use their not-inconsiderable influence to suggest to a user that they're being a bit of a wally and can they stop it please." And I've done exactly that with the last paragraph in my answer and in my comments elsewhere in this discussion. – Null Apr 11 '19 at 16:24
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    It remains to be seen whether that's in any way effective. I suspect you're being a bit too subtle. – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 16:25
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    I think your last paragraph is the most important here in that whilst it's okay to do this, it's not the best way to do it. You might want to emphasise it more or put it nearer the top of your answer. It could actually "annoy" some users to repeat the same action again and again with no apparent change in circumstances. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 16:31
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    Well now that it has been closed again (and sent back to the reopen queue by someone else) I hope no one will complain if I follow this answer and start another Meta post about a specific-question. – Alex Apr 11 '19 at 17:46
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    I wonder if adding mention of the skip feature of the review queues would be helpful here. I certainly value that feature greatly, as I often don't know what to make of content in my review queues. Any reviewers annoyed at seeing a question in their queue could simply skip it. – Todd Wilcox Apr 11 '19 at 17:49
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    @ToddWilcox - What if I'm annoyed that someone simply refuses to accept multiple unanimous votes against reopening? – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 18:58
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    @Valorum Seems to me that somewhere between 5 - 7 (at least, and counting) users have not accepted it. In answer to your question, you could choose to accept the non-acceptance. – Todd Wilcox Apr 11 '19 at 19:02

Because people think that it should be reopened.

The question asks a simple question - why doesn't the Burrow have more bedrooms?

It's not unclear. It's perfectly clear what the question is asking. It's not a dupe, too broad, or off topic. It has been closed as primarily opinion based.

And I'm among those who believe that it shouldn't be.

We have a very clear policy on questions that can't be answered definitively using existing canon questions: They're fine. They are not primarily opinion based. If we don't know the answer, that's an answer in itself. Just answer "we don't know why", and that's that. We can also look at canon sources and make reasonable guesses - "There wasn't enough room in the house for more bedrooms." "It's very common for siblings to share rooms in any case." "They didn't have the money." Whatever answers you can come up with.

But it's not primarily opinion based. Closing it as such runs directly contrary to our established policies on questions for which there is no explicit canon answer.

And so, it keeps going to the review queue because people recognize this, see that it's not POB, and vote to reopen. That is how reopen votes are meant to be used. That it's gone through review so many times shows that it's received at least thirteen reopen votes, plus three initial "leave open" reviews. I'd be interested in seeing what the review outcomes would have been if people couldn't review a question they've reviewed in the past.

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    It would also be very interesting to see how many times it would have gone to the review queue if people could only send it there once. Your last paragraph seems to ignore the fact that reopen votes expire and can be cast again and present it as a case of 13 individual users rather than a few users voting over and over again. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 10:46
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    It's also worth noting that there is a grey area between We don't know and POB. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 10:47
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    11 times seems excessive, especially if it's the same person or small number of people voting to reopen it each time. – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 10:56
  • FWIW, I reviewed it as an edit-reopen. I tend to defer to the original close vote if the edit doesn't substantively change the question. – DavidW Apr 11 '19 at 12:57
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    @DavidW One way to think about it is that close-vs-reopen isn't so much a matter of "should we change the current closed/opened status?", but instead a matter of "should this be closed or open?" — where the group that says "closed" must always make the first move because it's open by default, and the group that says "open" acts only in response. So if 5 people think it should be closed and 5 think it should be open, it gets reopened and stays open. Neither side is more right, but between the tug-of-war we work it out one way or another. – doppelgreener Apr 11 '19 at 13:02
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    I just cast the fifth re-open vote and at this time it is open. I also don't perceive it as POB. Perhaps it will stay open now and the situation of this meta question will go away. – Todd Wilcox Apr 11 '19 at 14:16
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    @ToddWilcox - Given that the number of 'close' voters exceeds the number of 'open' voters by four to one, I suspect that you'll find that this gets reclosed quite rapidly. And then we'll be back here in 14 days. – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 14:29
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    @Valorum That seems to speak against the idea of "abuse of voting privileges" to me. More like "use of voting privileges". – Todd Wilcox Apr 11 '19 at 14:32
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    @Valorum Are you talking about the close voters or the reopen voters? Seems like your comment applies equally to both groups. As a person who just voted on a review of this question for the first time today, I'm not in the category of voting just "because I didn't get my way". I think the question is legit. How many times should I keep asserting that I think the question is legit after today? Zero times? Four times? How many times should close voters VTC again? Once? 20 times? – Todd Wilcox Apr 11 '19 at 14:38
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    @ToddWilcox Close votes can only ever be cast once, reopen votes can in affect be cast infinitely. Leave closed votes is different but then they are only reacting to a review whereas the initial reopen voter is continually doing an action every few weeks until the outcome they want is reached. Subtle differences but quite important to the discussion. So in essence a close voter is limited to how many times they can assert their opinion, this is in my opinion a system flaw but it is certainly worth mentioning. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 14:41
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    @TheLethalCarrot It actually works the same for close votes and reopen votes. Both can be cast infinitely (with the 14 day waiting period) until the objective is reached. Once the objective is reached, neither can be cast again. – Alex Apr 11 '19 at 14:46
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    @TheLethalCarrot They appear to only be able to cast once because they have succeeded. Once the post is closed, the original closevoters can never vote to close it again if it gets reopened. However, until it gets closed you can cast a close vote as many times as you want. The same is true for reopen votes. Once the question is reopened, the original reopen voters can never cast a reopen vote again if it gets closed. – Alex Apr 11 '19 at 14:50
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Null Apr 11 '19 at 15:15
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    <personal comments removed> Discuss posts, not people. I.e. "this post should be closed because X" or "this post should be open because Y", not "user Z is conducting a vendetta". – Rand al'Thor Apr 12 '19 at 15:38
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    @ToddWilcox Just to set the record clear: TLC was mistaken about the asymmetry. The same person can vote to close indefinitely (modulo time limits) until the close vote 'takes' and the question is actually closed. The same person can vote to reopen indefinitely (modulo time limits) until the reopen vote 'takes' and the question is actually reopened. – Rand al'Thor Apr 12 '19 at 15:40

Thank you for raising this important question. For the record, as far as I can tell the question has only been sent to the reopen queue 10 times not 11 times.

The simple answer is that it keeps entering the queue because it keeps receiving a reopen vote. We can prove this by looking at Shog's Meta post describing how questions can get sent to the reopen queue:

There are three ways a question can end up in Reopen Review:

  1. A reopen vote is cast when there are no other active reopen votes on the question. Note that this allows for a single question to be enqueued multiple times, provided all votes age away before another one is cast.

  2. A body edit is made within 5 days of the question being closed by someone who didn't vote to reopen. This allows for a single question to be enqueued multiple times, but only once for each time the question is closed.

  3. The question gets popular, for a definition of "popular" based on votes and views. This can only trigger review once for the life of the question.

Since options 2 and 3 do not allow for the question to be repeatedly sent to the reopen queue, we can deduce that it must be option 1 at play in our situation.

As for the question of whether this is "an extreme breach of voting privileges", let's turn to Shog's Meta post explaining how the aging and recasting system works:

  1. Allow re-casting votes that've aged away after 14 days. That is, 14 days (use the same site-configurable value used in #1 here) after your vote has aged away, you're free to cast the same vote again.

If your first try doesn't get any attention, and you keep tripping over the same problematic question... You should get to have another go at getting it reviewed. A 14 day waiting period means you don't get to spam reviewers with every question you personally don't like, but does give you that opportunity to correct oversights without abusing flags for the purpose.

According to this, a question can theoretically re-enter the queue every 14 days. As stated there this is specifically designed to allow users to send the same question to the queue multiple times, and the 14 day waiting period prevents users from spamming reviewers. There is no specific mention of whether there is a limit to how many times this procedure can/should be used. So far the system seems to have allowed it.

That takes care of the technical discussion. Now for the discussion about this particular example:

To my mind the interesting thing here is that though the question has been through the reopen queue 10 times, has been mentioned as incorrectly closed in two separate Meta posts, has an answer constructed from factual statements in the very book series that the question asks about, has a comment to the question pointing this out, was the subject of a discussion in Chat, and now has a new Meta post about it, I cannot find a single word from any close/leave closed voters explaining why the question fits the Primarily Opinion-Based close reason. Surely, if voters see the same question coming up again and again and are annoyed by this the simple thing to do would be to explain how the question fits the close reason.

As the only answer (positive scoring) to the first of those two Meta posts states:

If a question has been closed incorrectly, then the answer is simple: reopen votes! And if that fails, you can post to meta asking why a specific question is seen to be against community norms. With luck, you may get a response from the close-voters, and with even more luck, either you or they may inspire a change of mind in the other.

So far it looks like the first two of those things have occurred, but the latter two have not.

Now as I pointed out in the aforementioned Chat discussion, a full half of the leave closed votes from the totality of trips to the reopen queue have come from the same four users reviewing the question again and again. It's no secret that there are a handful of reviewers who try to take part in every review they can get their hands on, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, they are perhaps to be commended for their devotion to the upkeep of this site. However, it can sometimes lead to the question not getting seen by as diverse of a group of users. As noted in the question post here, the last eight reviews have unanimously decided to leave the question closed. Yet since this Meta question was posted (and presumably other users saw it), the original question has been reopened twice (i.e. 10 distinct individuals voted to reopen it). The decision to leave the question closed was apparently not as unanimous as the reviews make it seem.

There is an additional important lesson that can be derived from this case. We often have discussions about questions where some users think that there won't be information in the existing material to answer the question and the question should therefore be closed, while other users think that such questions should remain open. A common argument advanced by the former category is that if the question is closed and someone has a factual answer, the question can simply be reopened. To quote a comment from the most recent iteration of this:

I'm reasonably sure there's no canon answer. If I'm wrong, you can always ping me and the question can be reopened with trivial ease

Surely 10 failed trips to the reopen queue has passed the point of "trivial ease". How can we expect voters to reopen a question based on a user claiming that he/she has information from the books (or other material) that address the question, when they don't even reopen a question that already contains such an answer?

This again shows why it is so important that questions where people think we don't know the answer not be closed. This is just the latest example where users have thought that there is no information in existing materials with which to answer the question, even though there is such material (as demonstrated by the existence of the answer). Of course, it is entirely possible that the answer is incorrect. Full disclosure: it's my answer and I make no claim that my answers have more authority than any other answers; it is certainly possible for me to miss some information, or to misunderstand something, and therefore construct an incorrect answer. However, that is precisely why these questions need to remain open. The answers need to be posted so that the community can determine – via voting – whether the answers are good or not. We cannot have a situation where the correctness of potential answers is being determined by a group of gatekeepers preventing the answers from being posted. (In this particular case the answer currently has a fairly decent score for a not-very-highly-voted question.)

So in sum, I don't believe it is a problem that the question has been repeatedly sent to the reopen queue. If there is a problem here, I think that it would be that reviewers have repeatedly voted to leave closed a question as Primarily Opinion-Based – despite the question containing a fact-based answer – without ever explaining why.

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    "was the subject of a discussion in Chat" Ironic considering in that discussion I repeatedly stated I was not talking about any specific case but in general. Please don't take my words out of context. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 14:14
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    @TheLethalCarrot That's precisely my point. Even though, the issue came up in a Chat discussion, you as a leave-closed-voter declined to discuss it. – Alex Apr 11 '19 at 14:16
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    Your "fact-based answer" seems to have addressed an incredibly small subset of the question, namely "Why were there this many rooms assuming only 4 floors?". Your answer in no way addresses why we're assuming there only to be 4 floors, why they didn't have more floors, why they didn't simply have more rooms, why there weren't more rooms to a floor, whether there are unmentioned rooms, whether there were non-bedrooms on those floors, or a countless number of other possibilities. This question is opinion based. This question does not beg a "We don't know" answer, as it elicits opinions. – Edlothiad Apr 11 '19 at 14:17
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    Because that wasn't part of the discussion I was involved in. I didn't decline to discuss the specific post because we weren't talking about the specific post at that point in time. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 14:17
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    Is asking the same question 11 times not the very definition of "spamming"? – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 14:30
  • @Edlothiad My question didn't discuss any of those things because they weren't asked. The question simply asked that given the amount of floorspace there was there should have been more rooms. My answer attempted to show that in fact all the floorspace was used for bedrooms. – Alex Apr 11 '19 at 14:30
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    Could you also confirm whether it's you that had put this question into the review queue each time (or if not, how many times it's been you)? That would seen quite a salient point. – Valorum Apr 11 '19 at 14:31
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    If you've gotten the same outcome in the reopen queue nearly a dozen times and you're concerned about the question "not getting seen by as diverse of a group of users" then why not post a specific meta discussion about this question so the whole community can decide whether it should be closed or not? – Null Apr 11 '19 at 14:52
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    @Alex Well no, your two meta posts were actually asking a general question with some questions as evidence. If you want to ask about specific questions ask about specific questions, don't pretend to ask a general question if you was actually asking about specific stuff. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 14:56
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    "has been mentioned as incorrectly closed in two separate Meta posts" Considering the above this to is then not really true. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 14:57
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    @Alex And? Your meta post is "How precise do the close reasons have to be?" not "Can we reopen this incorrectly closed question". If you wanted to ask the latter you should have asked that instead of pretending to ask the former. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 15:00
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    Mentioning it in two long meta posts doesn't count as "featuring" it. There is a specific-question tag here on meta which you could use to actually feature this question in its own meta discussion. – Null Apr 11 '19 at 15:01
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    @Alex The thing is you never "brought up" the incorrect closure of that post in meta terms. You asked some general questions with that as evidence. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 11 '19 at 15:05
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    You think bringing up the same question on meta for a third time is too much but voting to re-open it nearly a dozen times isn't?! – Null Apr 11 '19 at 15:06
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    This conversation has been moved to chat for further discussion. – Null Apr 11 '19 at 15:10

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