When I vote to close on StackOverflow only one other vote is required to close.

On emacs.SE I think it used to be similar (maybe it required 3). Now it seems that it takes 5 votes to close before a question is closed.

Why this difference? Seems like there are questions with multiple votes to close which remain open (forever), though I don't have any particular ones in mind.

This is a problem, I think. For example, it causes duplicate questions to stay open, accumulating answers. The result is multiplying duplicate questions with answers. I don't understand why we now have this policy here (apparently). I don't see such a policy on other SE sites or StackOverflow.

Could a moderator please take a look at this problem, and perhaps fix it? Or explain why it's intentional? Thx.

Is there any way this problem can be fixed? We apparently don't have enough people reviewing questions, so we have many that have 3 or 4 votes to close but that remain open. And a few users (sometimes the same IRL person with multiple user names) count for many of these unhelpful, unclear, questions. (And the same users seem to pollute the help mailing list and Reddit with exactly the same questions.)

How can we get to, say, closing a question if only 3 people vote to close? This annoying, and it spams the site with bad questions that obscure real questions - it's a NOISE problem, as well as a problem of wasting reviewer (and user/reader) time.

UPDATED 2023-07-28

I don't understand how this question apparently got closed with only one close vote, whereas it takes 5 votes to close other questions, even for the same close reason. What am I missing?

Never mind. That question was closed by a moderator. (I don't think it should have been closed, FWIW.) There sure is a big difference between a mere mortal vote and a moderator vote...

  • Can we please get a moderator to lower the threshold for this site? There are not that many people reviewing questions, and 3 Close votes should be enough. Currently, even 4 isn't enough. Or what about having a formula that takes into account (1) percentage of reviewers (measured somehow) and (2) length of time before closing? We have far too many questions that are zombies, in limbo, whose reviewers have voted to close, to no avail.
    – Drew
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 16:24
  • And there's the particular problem of many bad questions from a few individuals. People resort to downvoting since Close votes aren't effective, and the individuals don't care about the downvotes (they sometimes just create a new user with a new name).
    – Drew
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


https://emacs.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/close-questions says:

It takes 5 close votes to reach the closing threshold. The exception to this is duplicate questions, which can be marked as a duplicate with a single vote from a user who has earned a gold tag badge in one of that question's current tags (unless that user participated in editing that question's tags).

The same page on S.O. says 3 votes rather than 5, so apparently there is a difference in the config here, which could always be reviewed if the setting isn't working as well as it could in practice.

The exception for duplicates is noteworthy, because outside of E.S. almost any Emacs questions are tagged emacs, and so the users who have answered a lot of Emacs questions on S.O. can usually close other Emacs questions as duplicates by themselves.

Here on E.S. the tags are spread much thinner, for obvious reasons. You being rather active in making corrections when people have used tags inappropriately is probably working against you for this particular purpose :)

  • I see. When there are multiple tags on a question, is the criterion based on the existence of any tag for which I have a high score, or any tag for which I have a low score, or some average or sum across all tags, or...?
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 14:02
  • My question is really about the number of people it takes to close a question. How is that number related to your answer about the strength of my close vote on the question being based on my score for a given tag? It sounds like your explanation is behind what I see, but I don't really understand how it works.
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 14:03
  • Thanks; that likely explains the variable behavior I was wondering about.
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 17:37
  • I've updated the answer in accordance with the earlier comments.
    – phils
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 3:02

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