Sadly, there is always a steady influx of low quality questions, but that is not just on this corner on the SE network.

I want to know if a review behaviour I have used for a while is reasonable, or if it is something I should stop doing:

When a question appears in the "close votes" category, I sometimes, after reading it and if needed after adding a comment, think it is a question that should be closed.

Sometimes, it has more than one issue. For instance, a combination of "off-topic", "too broad" and "primary opinion based" is perfectly possible.

What I have been doing:

If someone has voted to close it as "too-broad", but I think it is "off-topic" as well, I go for "off-topic". Generally, When someone has voted to close it for one reason, but I think there are other reasons as well, I chose one of them instead to signal that there are several issues with this question.

Is that a reasonable thing to do? Or is consensus preferable?


2 Answers 2


:: shrug ::

No, really. Doing this doesn't do any harm, but I'm not aware that it does much good either.

Questions get closed for one reason.* The reason picked is based on the consensus created by the close votes (which is why the number of close votes must always be an odd number in the site settings). If a moderator casts a close vote, the reason they pick is the one that gets used.

If a question has multiple issues, it's perfectly reasonable to have close votes for both/all of those reasons, as it allows others to choose the one they think most applicable. However, if only one reason gets votes, the question will still get closed under that reason.

Hence, it doesn't really matter.

* I think there used to (not sure whether there still) be an edge case or two where two close reasons would be displayed, but I never worked out the conditions.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I know about the majority thing. I just do it so it is visible for other close-voters. This question was sparked by a thought like "I really do not have much that justifies my behaviour, thus, there is a chance I am doing something horribly wrong." $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2016 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Hohmannfan Nothing wrong, no :) $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    Apr 22, 2016 at 16:35

I think the best decision is what carries the most constructive value to the original author.

There's a spectrum of severity for each close reason.

If one close reason is nebulous or tentative, there isn't as much value to setting it as the final, public-facing close reason. After all, to me it's so the author of the question sees it and says, "Oh, so this is how I can improve my question or as an author." So choose the strongest one.

Or, maybe, solving one problem solves the others, so it has more value.

Let's say a question can be marked as too broad and primarily opinion-based at the same time. You see that the question is marked broad, but you realize that if it's not subjective it automatically restricts how many possible answers there can be. Broadness is just a side effect.

You vote to close primarily opinion-based and write "Hey, here's an objective, empirical metric you can incorporate into your question."

Now instead of the author of the question letting a possibly great question fall by the wayside because they don't know how to restrict the question, that close reason at the very top tells them exactly what they could fix about their question. It's no longer broad and it's all gravy.

When I can see no extra value between vote reasons, I do the same as you and vote for the others so the next person who votes can vote for what they think is best.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If it is "a possibly great question", it is also a good idea to be more detailed in a comment. $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2016 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ I strongly agree. $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2016 at 19:39

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