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First of all, apologies if there is some kind of 'meta-FAQ' that I missed which answers these questions. If there is I couldn't see it.

What I want to know is how much flexibility in the software/rules the moderators have here. Looking at the meta questions I see a lot of people (like me) who are peed off because their question got downvoted or close-voted with no explanation or apparent reason. My question 'https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/17337/did-anyone-try-to-negotiate-an-end-to-the-first-world-war?noredirect=1#comment45139_17337' is a prime example.

My suggested solution to situations like this is that people who want to close the question should have to come into the open and say why, and if the question can be saved, the asker is responsible for saving it. Is it technically possible for the mods to enforce this?

  • Your question wasn't actually closed; if it was, there would in fact be a message explaining why. Are you unable to see the close reasons while the votes are still adding up? It does make sense to let the asker know why close votes were being cast automatically without another member commenting, but I don't know if the admins had any consideration against that. – Semaphore Nov 30 '14 at 14:16
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    Also, don't get too bothered by close votes - a closed question can be easily reopened. You are still able to edit and fix the question once it is closed, it just prevents someone else from answering a question that may change drastically. – Semaphore Nov 30 '14 at 14:21
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    Not entirely sure what the problem is here. People sufficiently explained their close votes in comments. As for the single downvote, the explanation is trivial: there's no evident prior research in your question. – yannis Dec 1 '14 at 9:49
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    What possible value is there in more information on who voted to close or downvoted? There is plenty of opportunity for the abuse to escalate beyond the status quo; we already have retributive downvotes, and personal attacks. Instead, why not let the system function as intended; votes are secret, reasons for close are open, and people are expected to read the FAQ before posting. – Mark C. Wallace Dec 1 '14 at 13:54
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    @MarkC.Wallace can low rep users see the close vote reasons before the question actually closes, though? I sense that might be the issue NeMo have here. Either that or the close reason of trivial is too well hidden (behind off topic?). – Semaphore Dec 1 '14 at 15:09
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    @Semaphore There's a 250 rep requirement to see pending close votes on your own question (see: history.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/view-close-votes). – yannis Dec 1 '14 at 15:45
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My suggested solution to situations like this is that people who want to close the question should have to come into the open and say why

The close vote reason tells this. It may seem short and unspecific, but that's because these reasons come up again and again, it would be a waste of time for people to make the same comments to questions that fall under the same set of shortcomings.

and if the question can be saved, the asker is responsible for saving it

Not just the asker, anyone can edit the question which automatically puts it in a reopen queue, and the question is reopened when enough people vote to do so.

Is it technically possible for the mods to enforce this?

No need, the existing software already handles this. All mods can do are cast "super votes" which are equivalent to 5 votes, in effect opening or closing questions with a single action.

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    This is correct. Opening and closing questions single-handledly is kind of a drastic action, that I at least would not consider doing in any but the most extreme cases. So in effect, this gives us mods less power than a typical user, as we don't really get to participate in the voting. – T.E.D. Dec 6 '14 at 17:16
  • As T.E.D. pointed out, mods generally are not the first to cast a Close vote because it would result in automatically closing the question. I have done so on occasion when I felt that a question was likely to result in undesired responses, but usually we wait until there are at least three other close votes to allow the community to have a voice. The system does require that anyone casting a Close vote must select a reason. – Steven Drennon Dec 12 '14 at 16:03
  • Human intervention is always subject to "moods". Which is why 5 votes is alays better than 1. Also- remember that we are cross cultural, cross language and across a 24hr time zone. We don't always understand language/questions in spite of the fact that everybody is TRYING to express themselves in English. Let's have the benefit of doubt and the leniency deserved in an a cross-cultural environment. – Rajib Dec 13 '14 at 17:49

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