Today I reviewed a re-open request for a question that was posted in 2015 and put on hold a year later in 2016. My question doesn't come from the reopen request, but from the hold placed a year after the question had been asked and answered by a fair number of people.

Only a few days ago I user and I were discussing the point of voting to close a question a week after the fact when the question and its answers had enjoyed thousands of views, hundreds of votes, and an answer selected. It seemed to me petty to put a question on hold over a mere technicality after it had been voted (from a certain point of view) relevant by the public.

Therefore, I wonder:

A. Can we/Should we put a "statute of limitations" on questions such that they cannot be closed after the statute has expired? Putting a question on hold a year after it was posted is, frankly, absurd. It simply highlights what appears to be the inefficiency of reviewers (no offense intended).

B. Can we/Should we put a modifier on the number of close votes needed to close a question based on the aggragate votes it's received (both positive and negative). For example, for every +50 aggragate votes, one additional close vote is required to close it (thus putting the burden on reviewers to act in a timely fashion if there really is an issue that makes the question worth closing). Similarly, for every -10 aggragate votes (remember, the sum of all votes, answers + question) one less vote is required to close the question.

Note that I'm strongly in favor of the statute of limitations. Honestly, if reviewers can't close a question in even a week's time, we're simply not doing our jobs.

I'm moderately in favor of the vote count modification as it's intended purpose is to give "the people" some power over the voting process. To whit... closing highly popular questions simply makes reviewers look petty, so it should require a larger concensus.

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Mithrandir24601 pointed you to a couple of posts (1, 2) that address your first concern pretty well. The distilled point is that questions set precedents. The scope of a site is often established not just by meta posts or ethereal community decisions, but also by content itself and how it's received. It doesn't matter what we decide on meta if we just let questions that violate a policy stay around. Therefore, if the scope changes, we should close questions that are out of scope, lest new users see them and get the wrong idea. It's kinda related to the broken windows theory.

As for your second point, consider the trouble with popularity. Not all popular questions are good questions; a lot of "fun" content can detract from the overall quality of the site and take a lot of attention away from good questions. Things like the Hot Network Questions list can exacerbate this, rewarding questions that quickly get a lot of answers. So popularity - exaggerated by the HNQ, which gets questions a lot of views - is often orthogonal to quality, and we shouldn't really base our moderation policy on that.

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    I'm always glad when a good question is also popular, but as you say, unfortunately the two are far from always directly related. Lots of the time, unfortunately, the really good questions linger with little activity, because those are the ones that tend to take serious effort to answer well; can't just drop a few sentences into the answer box and start collecting upvotes... – Michael Kjörling Oct 14 '17 at 19:46
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    It's also worth noting that a question with upvoted answers will never be auto-deleted even if it's closed, so having such questions be closed doesn't put them at risk. – Monica Cellio Oct 15 '17 at 1:48

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