A couple days ago, MolbOrg created a chat room called VoteOpen. They intended it as a venue for discussions about whether a question should be reopened or not - which can get long and unwieldy if they take place in comments. The idea is a good one, and certainly not unprecedented: Math Stack Exchange has C.R.U.D.E. (Close, Reopen, Undelete, Delete, Edit), which I believe has worked well.

The point of this question is twofold:

  • I want to draw a bit of attention to this chat room, to try to drum up more support and activity for it.
  • I also want to know how people think it can (should?) be expanded. I think it could handle discussions about both reopening and closing questions, rather than just reopening, but others might disagree.

What do people think about the usage and scope of the room?

  • $\begingroup$ My only issue is it may make reopening more biased towards people with 3k or more rep as these people are more likely to go to the chat room and more likely to ask for their questions to be reopened. Also, it might be useful to have a feed for any new closed questions if that is possible. $\endgroup$ Commented May 30, 2017 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ I think it should be expanded to get a bit of traction. Once enough people are aware of it and using it regularly we can think about the exact scope, whether we need multiple rooms, ... $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 20:02
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I personally like the idea, but the main question I think needs to be answered is: why is the general chat room not sufficient? $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ I just want to mention, for future reference, that the room has been automatically frozen for inactivity. It looks like the experiment was a failure, as there was not enough activity to be worth having a room for it, let alone to host meaningful discussions about reopening/closing/... in the long run. For the time being we should probably stick to the normal chat, as James mentioned, and to Meta, as apaul mentioned. Maybe this would be more interesting if we had more activity on the site in general. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 11:22

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if this is a good idea...

I'm not an avid user of the chat rooms, but even I've seen the usual "vtc plz" it seems kinda close to encouraging voting rings, just with close and reopen votes.

I guess I'm just a little concerned about users getting into close/reopen battles on questions that under the normal run of things wouldn't have drawn that much attention.

Yes "bad" questions should be closed and closed quickly, but I'm still in favor of a more organic moderation style. Simply introducing a post in a certain light can tilt people's perception of it.

More or less when your first impression of a post is someone telling you that it should be closed you're going to be more inclined to look for a reason to close it, than you might have been if you just came across it while searching for something else or skimming over the front page.

With that out of the way...

I would encourage users to more readily move their close debates to Meta, rather than chat. Meta offers a much more searchable and usable record and allows users to vote on the arguments one way or the other. Over time these debates get hammered out enough that firmer site policies get developed. And eventually (hopefully) you get to a point where some arguments are settled and don't need to be rehashed.


Over on Stack Overflow we have Stack Overflow Close Vote Reviewers (we do reopens and deletions as well). Of course, the moderation load is much larger over there (our Close Vote queue hovers around the 10k mark most of the time and was once about 100k). We have a website with tools, rules, etc (i.e. asking for up/down votes is strictly forbidden)

It's still organic. You still have to convince people to vote. But what it does it it raises awareness of closable questions and often gets them closed in a far more timely manner. You could even hit the Charcoal people up and get Smoke Detector to post notices to the room when it detects spam or bad questions on WB.SE.

I've found Meta a poor choice for closure debates. If you're not familiar with it, there's something called the Meta Effect, where Meta acts like a giant focusing lens on the sun, burning things down. With the new "Hot Meta" bar amplifying it further (on smaller SE sites, Meta tends to get little traffic otherwise), you've now turned a simple closure discussion into a potential drama. Worse is you'll get people who sail in and just act. Post about a thread and suddenly it's been downvoted and deleted before anyone has even commented. It does work well, however, for reopens because the moderation is already done and you can suggest changes to reopen it, or explain the rules why it can't be reopened.

Chat is a bit calmer and you can talk amongst yourselves.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ My experience is that we don't really have a significant Meta effect here on Worldbuilding. Sure, it's not unheard of that bringing a question up on Meta draws attention to it, but Worldbuilding is still slow enough that questions tend to stay on the front page for a while. Take just now as an example: the front page of the main site ranges from 21:28 UTC today (most recent) to 14:24 UTC yesterday (oldest). That's 31 hours' worth of traffic, which is plenty slow enough for the regulars to notice things even without any of it being brought up specifically on Meta. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 21:35

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