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I've just noticed this Meta post, Testing three-vote close and reopen on 13 network sites and I wondered whether we should employ it here, and what do other people think?

We are a smallish site, with a smallish number of active users (although it isn't that small, and is slowly growing over time, it should be noted). We don't have a problem with review queues building up except with the close votes. Some questions do seem to hang around for a while in the close queue.

The problem with the close vote review queue requiring 5 votes when there is a limited number of active reviewers (where two of which are moderators) is this: If a moderator votes, then the question is automatically closed, even if there aren't 5 votes - if a moderator casts the first vote to close then the question is closed straight away, without waiting for another four votes - so the vote is not democratic, but instead, dictatorial in nature. As such, moderators tend to not vote, unless the question blatantly needs closing (i.e. spam, vulgarity, etc.).

There are ways around this problem:

  • sock puppets (moderators have a fake account to cast votes only in the review queue), or;
  • waiting for four votes and then a moderator casting the fifth vote (or waiting for three votes and then moderators agreeing (behind the scenes) to cast the final two votes, etc.)

However, these aren't ideal, and just shortening the queue might make things better. This need not be a permanent change, I guess, so if this site, for some reason, eventually exploded in popularity, the review queue could go back to five votes (but I'm not 100 % sure about that, see the SE.Meta post above to check).

So... should SE.3DP jump on the "three votes to close" train? Or are things OK as they are? What do other users think? Please leave a comment or answer.

To make things super simple, and if you don't have time to write a comment or answer, you can just vote on the Yes answer or the No answer.

End of voting date

To give this vote an end point, and not make it so opened-ended, I guess we should tally a "final" vote on the 1st July 2021 - which is May 6 (trial start date) plus 45 days (length of trial) plus a little bit more. As we can't join the trial halfway through, there isn't much point to tallying up the votes before that.

At that point Catija will be sent the results.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please note: Catija has been notified of the results (8-1 in favour as of this date). $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Jul 6, 2021 at 3:20

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It's been almost a whole year since this was escalated this to the Community Team, so I apologize for the delay in actually processing the request! But the good news is you now officially only need 3 close votes to close a question on 3D Printing SE!

After looking at the data, I think it's clear that there's no reason for y'all to have this set at 5. Thank you so much for bearing with us while we got to this request.

We'll check back in with you all in a few months to see how things are going — if things are going great, we may not post an update but please feel free to leave a comment if you want us to post something.

Here's some basic stats of how things look:

Over the last two years, you've had heavy fluctuations in effectiveness, when looking into what percentage of questions that received at least one flag or vote to close actually ended up getting closed. As you can see, the effectiveness is in the 60%~100% range — the good news is that the numbers of posts this represents are relatively small (always under 20 posts per month).

Graph showing the percentage of handled tasks, as described in the paragraph above

The graph below, however, does show something that is a bit more concerning:

Graph showing all closed posts, posts closed by the community, and posts closed by the moderation team. The line representing posts closed by the moderation team matches the line of all closed posts on almost all of the reporting period

This shows that the moderation team is doing the bulk of the closing, which can be problematic because the mods shouldn't be making these decisions on their own, even with other users weighing in. To add a bit more nuance, though, it looks like the moderation is not single-handedly closing the posts, but rather stepping in to aid the community on a big chunk of cases — the graph below shows which vote the moderators cast, to close posts:

Graph showing the amount of times mods cast the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th vote to close questions on the site

When working on this project, Catija had found two primary use cases for this change:

  1. When too many items are going unhandled (not unclosed, just unhandled)
  2. When the moderators are doing the bulk of the closing/reopening.

Because the mods here are casting the bulk of the final close votes, the first graph looks good (at least in the months where 100% effectiveness is reached). However, this creates an imbalance between closing and reopening as the mods now have to be really thoughtful about reviewing for reopening.

So, my hope is that changing this to three votes to close/reopen will take some of the workload off the mods and also increase the number of posts that find their way to be reopened - assuming it's worth reopening them!

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for sorting this out. I would like to add that the moderators do try not to close single handedly, but rather wait for at least two other votes, thereby making our vote the third... I think that it is fair to say that waiting for an additional third or fourth community vote usually means that a bad question hangs around for waaay too long, perhaps indefinitely... Often there are only two community votes - it's a small (active) community. The mods will try to discuss the third close vote in mod chat, making it a better concensus (rather than just a dictatorial third vote). $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Jun 17 at 11:24
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    $\begingroup$ To clarify: it's not a problem that mods cast close votes in and of itself. Rather, it can only be somewhat concerning if the majority of closed posts are closed by mods, which seems to be the case here. But, to your point, I'm aware that the community is rather small, and that because of that the other option might be that the close votes end up just aging away — and since y'all do wait so your vote isn't the first one, it's even less concerning that you're casting the votes. That being said, hopefully the adjustment helps with removing the need for y'all to have to cast the votes at all. $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jun 20 at 10:27
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Yes, we should have a three vote close question review queue

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  • $\begingroup$ Being a relative small site with few very active members that can actually vote, it is more a need to have a three vote closure review queue than a five vote. Note that three used to be the default, but large sites required five: We ended up with five votes to close based on very specific feedback from the early days of closure and the very immature state of review, though it had previously been three. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar Mod
    May 18, 2021 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @0scar; for a small population site, three votes should be plenty. What's our membership here, a few hundred? And how many of those have review privileges? $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    May 24, 2021 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon - you can see the users' statistics here. review queues at 350 rep and close votes at 500 rep - see Privileges. $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    May 25, 2021 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Greenonline. My guess wasn't far off. Heh. I'm "in on the ground floor." $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    May 25, 2021 at 11:31
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    $\begingroup$ We are a tiny community. We should be able to lock questions quicker. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Jul 31, 2021 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon We are about 10 main people active, 2 of them mods. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Jul 31, 2021 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ With three votes being the consensus a mod feels less burdened if the mod hits the third vote on the three vote option than the third on a five vote option.... @Trish of that 8 not all have the ability to vote I think. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar Mod
    Dec 21, 2021 at 16:42
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No, we should stay with the five vote close question review queue

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  • $\begingroup$ Just for the record, if I could vote on my own answer, personally (and not as a mod) I would vote "No - keep 5 votes". Why? Because a number of stupid reasons: (a) I don't like closing things; (b) I don't like change; (c) The system sort of works as it is (with the mods using their super-powers to clean things up); (d) laziness, and; (e) I like playing "devil's advocate"... All of which are bad reasons to vote "No", I agree - but that is my vote. $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    May 22, 2021 at 0:40

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