Consider the revisions of a question about dual-phased lightsabers I asked. It has been posted, downvoted, upvoted, edited a few times, commented on, closed and finally reopened.

I'm not here to discuss whether the original question deserved to be closed or not. My problem is the following:

The original question received a bad reception, so I tried to fix it to my best abilities. It had gathered 1 downvote and 2 close votes by the time I got some major edits in.

It then received the following attention:

  • A total of 3 upvotes.
  • Three more closevotes (which closed the question 2 hours after the last edit and 3 hours after the major edit).
  • Five reopenvotes (which reopened the question 2 hours after it was closed, 6 hours after it was originally asked).

That the system works slowly is one thing, but 3 people closevoting a question as "primarily opinion-based" when it clearly isn't, is beyond me.

So here's the question: what is causing these closevotes that lag behind the actual state of the question and what can be done about it?

  • 1
    related, very similar issue but different focus in the question, and since that was during the beta and it's now over 3 years later, I say this warrants some more attention.
    – overactor
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 15:20

3 Answers 3


The fact that at least one post-edit close-voter disagreed that it wasn't primarily opinion based is evidence that your argument that it "clearly isn't" isn't 100% true. There's very often disagreements on close votes.

Maybe this one is a bit fuzzy, but I see no evidence of the system failing. The thing "causing" the close votes is people believing it's opinion based.

You can edit it until you're blue in the face, and get it to a state that you think is 100% unequivocally not primarily opinion based. That does not, however, mean anyone will necessarily agree with you.

Regarding your "blind close voting" comment - having been a part of this community for a few years now, and seeing many of the same people participating in the community moderation, I can tell you that so-called "blind close voting" is pretty rare around here. We may not always agree on whether something should be closed, but the idea that we just vote to close without giving thought to the situation is nearly absurd.*

*We've definitely seen retaliation down-votes and close-votes, but these are VERY rare, and the users doing this are typically in the middle of rage-quitting.

  • 2
    Sorry, I was in the community nearly as long as you, and I totally disagree. There are definitely people who routinely "close without giving thought to the situation". Not as retaliation, but because they don't understand the purpose or scope of the site. Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 1:54
  • 1
    They may disagree with how you or I view the site or the purpose of it, but voting "blindly" and not agreeing are two different things.
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 2:01
  • 2
    reflexively closing anything that smells of subjectivity without considering if it's good subjective is "blindly" in my book. Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 2:03
  • @pantom - here's another example Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 2:06

I must disagree with my esteemed colleagues here.

Yes, there are people casting spurious close votes for a variety of reasons. Among those I observed over the years (the list isn't exhaustive mostly because I'm weary of people trying to make this SE restricted to the kinds of questions THEY personally like):

  • Not understanding "Good subjective/bad subjective" idea and thinking that any question that even smells of subjectivity should be closed

  • Not understanding that any question that is voting-controversial should be first discussed on Meta before casting the vote.

  • Not knowing the canon and thinking that a question is by-design unanswerable except by opinions (frequently, only to have a real expert come and pull out a fully NON opinion answer from canon).

    • This speaks to Richard's answer's quip about "canon sources only" being a cheat. If you restrict the answers to canon sources, you can no longer have opinion and subjective answers. NOT closeable.
  • Closing "because the poster had bad intent" independently of the merits of the question itself (e.g. "troll").

  • Closing because the user didn't put in enough research effort (previously discussed on Meta ad nauseum - that is NOT a reason to close, though open-and-shut cases of laziness may be worth downvotes).

  • Clearly the so-called good/bad subjectivity is of course highly subjective itself! There's no objective standard of good subjectivity, so you can't fault anyone for judging a question as the bad kind of subjectivity. Nor should anyone have to discuss anything before voting. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 5:04
  • @curiousdannii - Yes they should if there's clear disagreement. And the point is that people don't make a nuanced judgement about whether something is bad or good subjective. They just yell "subjective" with no reasoning. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 5:10
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    I agree mostly with this post and think it is well reasoned. However, "not understanding" a question as a reason to VTC is less spurious than it is uninformed. I especially agree with you on people who don't know canon as thoroughly as some other might closing questions on the basis that a question cannot be answered. I don't know why this received a downvote -- like I said, it's well thought out. +1 Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 2:10

I was one of the five who voted to close and I can honestly say that I've never done so "blindly". With great power comes great responsibility (who said that, it sounds awfully familiar?) and I make a point of carefully reading each question, judging and weighing the existing close-votes and making my decision accordingly.

In this case, I felt that the answer was more of an attempt to discuss the topic of dual-phase lightsabers (they're useful, aren't they? Why don't people use them more, eh?) than an actual answerable question.

Even with the edits, it still seems quite opinion-based. I think that sticking a "canon sources only" tag on the end smacks of cheating.

  • If that's your honest opinion, then that's fine. You can do with your votes what you want. I'm glad to see this answer even if I don't agree with uour opinion about the question.
    – overactor
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 19:32
  • I advised @overactor to place more emphasis on canon. It may feel like cheating to you, but I think it's a useful distinction to make, both for the poster and for other users. If the poster can't rephrase the question so that they're asking for a canon explanation, they weren't interested in canon in the first place and were seeking speculation. To me it's a given that every answer should be rooted in canon unless otherwise, but explicitly mentioning it can be a good reminder to all parties involved.
    – SQB
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 6:29
  • @sqb - I don't disagree that it does bring the question back within the rules.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 11:27
  • That's either worth another meta question or should be discussed in chat.
    – SQB
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 11:36
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    "sticking a "canon sources only" tag on the end smacks of cheating" - this takes it 100% squarely into "NOT opinion based". The fact that you dislike the question doesn't make it worthy of closing if the answers given to it can not be based on opinion. Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 1:55

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