When a question goes to a vetting process, I notice that there is a counter called "closed" under the question, but I don't see any counter for the "Leave open". Does this mean that a "Leave Open" does not negate a "close" (during the vetting process)? (which then means that the opinion of a user that considers the question as valid counts less than that of a user with the opposite judgement)

Conversely, does this mean that the counter is a net result of subtracting "Leave open" count from "close" count, but not displaying negative results (which means that a hesitating voter, or a voter with a tendency to "follow the crowd" would be enticed to click on "close").

  • $\begingroup$ The "leave open" votes are counted but I don't think it's in a way we can always see. I believe that they are used by the site's internal calculation that decides how quickly the close votes "decay" over time. In other words, I don't think any amount of "leave open" votes can stop five close votes, but if there are only four or less, the leave open votes will slowly make them go away. There should be a FAQ answer for this, I'll see what I can find. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 20 at 23:15

2 Answers 2


Well I think we can argue a lot, how wise is this system. Sometimes it happens, that we do not understand something, and see a complex, but logical structure behind to explain its behavior. Then it becomes clear that the structure is actually very simple and not very logical. Or very complex and not logical. The SE review system is the last, in my humble opinion.

The important things here:

  • You can give "leave open" vote only as a part of a close review.
  • "close" votes can be given also as part of a close review (by clicking closure in the review UI), and also independently (by clicking the "close" link).
  • There is no such thing that a close would negate a "leave open" or so.
  • If 5 close votes are collected, the question gets closed.
  • If 3 "leave open" votes are collected, the question is removed from the close review, but the close votes remain.
  • If someone votes a question for closure, or (in the case of users lesser than 500 rep) flags it suggesting closure, it will go into the close review again.
  • Old close votes timeout, maybe 1/week or so, if there is no active review behind them any more.
  • "Leave open" votes live only inside the review entity.

Rumors say that mods can see close/leave open/reopen/leave closed votes realtime, and also by their caster, in some only for them available timeline. Note, still no one can see ups and downs, except some company employee who a mortal likely won't ever meet.

To track the "leave open" votes, you can see the review entity. Over 2000 rep, you can see about everybody in the review history page, how did they vote in reviews (but you still can not see the out-of-review close votes). Below 2000 rep, and it is very funny but it is public data, even as an anonymous user can you see that, you can see the induvidual votes in the review entities, even if they are not active, like this. However, mostly it is not trivial to find the link of the review entity.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I am hesitating to accept that this solves my question because I don't know whether anybody else has additional info on the process. But it's eye-opening (about the complexity). It is neither an anonymous nor an open voting. Somehow, it gives the impression that the designer has a preference for influencing the decisions for "close" (less time/action to act in this direction). Wonder how you achieve all this insight, but kudos, really. $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Jan 21 at 9:45
  • $\begingroup$ @NgPh Yes, very clearly the closure is the intention. The "leave open", reopen and migration to a better site are only for exceptional cases, by intention. Old posts of the founders clearly show this. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jan 21 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ @NgPh Stack Exchange is not a part of what the rest of the world considers as "Euroatlantic Civilization". Also I have no idea, what is it then. Their attitude, their mentality, their stupidity, but also their talent to grab power, is something what I never could deal with. They have nothing to do to an average USA company. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jan 21 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ @peterh This is a great answer! It may not be possible, but can you find some sources in the main meta to link to to support your description? I looked in FAQ and could not find anything, but I think you have a lot more knowledge/experience in the inner workings of SE. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 21 at 22:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @NgPh "...the designer has a preference..." The way that SE works had an initial vision but it has evolved over the years through discussions and input from thousands of users in meta. It has evolved to where it is now by adapting to all sorts of problems besides the ones you personally experience and perceive at this particular moment. There are almost 200 Stack Exchange sites, each with its own community and behavioral norms. Some sites have even adapted the 3-close vote faster process and close questions within minutes. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 21 at 23:02
  • $\begingroup$ @peterh, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. With limited experience, it is inappropriate to say whether I agree. But with hindsight (thanks again), I feel guilty of my own enthusiasm in vetting. I want to apologize if I might have offended by voting impulsively. My principle has been that moderation takes time and humility. I might have been tricked to act against my principle, by what the « system » chooses to present to me. Finally, I agree with your spirit that there is always a good side of the coin. I have observed cases of people truly helping each other here. Heart warming indeed. $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Jan 22 at 12:20

You can find more information about how Stack Exchange works on the site dedicated to exactly that purpose. When you come across a situation that isn't immediately straightforward such as this, it's best to check on Meta Stack Exchange first. You'll often find perspectives on the function/mechanism fits into the broader Stack Exchange system as well, and why it works in that particular way.

In particular, this question and its answers give most of the basic details.

[I]f enough people (currently 3) select "Leave Open" within the review queue, the question will be immediately removed from the queue (not shown to any more reviewers) and the aging starts immediately.

This doesn't prevent it from being closed, mind you - if someone visits the question directly and votes to close it, that'll both count toward the 5 votes needed to close it and stall the aging for another four days (14 days if it has less than 100 views) - but it will both reduce the number of people viewing it and hasten the removal of votes on questions for which there is clearly no support for closing.

That is, a Leave Open review result will

  • remove the question from the Close Review Queue,

  • immediately begin aging-away the existing closevotes,

Note that the threshold for removal from the queue is to meet either three Leave Open votes or a moderator choosing Leave Open.

Other people have suggested the same thing as you and there are good reasons why a Leave Open vote should not cancel a closevote.

It comes down to the fact that Stack Exchange wants increasing quality, not quantity. It's better to have a question improved before the answers come in, to prevent the answers from being wild guesses, generically vague, or a list of all possible solutions for any situation (instead of specific answers that respond directly regarding a particular situation).

The result is a system that errs on the side of caution. If a question gets closed a little prematurely, and receives improvement while it waits for reopening, it will waste a lot less effort than leaving open a question longer than it should have.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for confirming my guess, and also not stopping at « read the Law, read the FAQ » argument (upvoted you for that). Note that I was not proposing an alternative, I wanted to understand the logic, first. I do not buy into the « quality vs quantity » pretext. Because I think it is much straightforward to spot an offending answer. If we are strict on answers, the « law » on good questions becomes much clearer. To risk an analogy, the logic you defend is akin to advising the police « better kill a few innoccents than letting a single criminal escape ». $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Jan 22 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ ?! Maybe if the police has the ability to bring people back from the dead. I'm not sure you understand the Stack Exchange mission: to establish a repository of high-quality Q&A. "Quality not quantity" is a significant aspect of why SE does so well. There is no point putting energy into answer moderation when the problem is an inadequate question. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Jan 22 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Nij Stack Exchange is both a floor wax and a desert topping. It's both a repository for future readers and a group of communities of living, breathing human beings who want to learn about things with each others' help. Neither can exist without the other. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 23 at 6:26
  • $\begingroup$ The existence of a community does not require leaving questions open and ignoring their issues in favour of only flagging/voting on/moderating answers; the existence of a high-quality repository does require this. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Jan 23 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Nij, You use « reopen » to jusify a quick « close », as if you are not aware that the system is set so that « reopen » is a nearly impossible task. It’s like saying « the victim is not technically dead as his heart is beating », while knowing that the police put 5 bullets in his head. You justify preemptive « close » by the (supposedly) unreasonable energy spending to vet answers, as if you are not aware that the system is set, so that « close » can be done with minimal time and energy (silently and w/o due justifications). $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Jan 23 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ "so that reopen is a nearly impossible task" - only if nobody bothers to improve the question. A question that is not good enough should be impossible to reopen, because it's not good enough! Reopening needs only a decent edit and checking that it's meant to be sufficient, and letting the reopen queue do its job. The site has much bigger problems if you can't follow that process successfully. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Jan 23 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Nij, I think we agree, except a main point: perhaps people do not attempt to improve because they can not understand why it is not good enough to begin with. Given that almost anybody can edit, and given that often "the 5" don't suggest a "decent" edit, it's like stating that the question failed w/o justification needed. I wouldn't criticize if the reason to close is the OP rejecting a suggestion, or keep silence himself. When the OP explicitly asks for an edit and still get a (silent) close, do you agree that it's indicative that the intent is to piss him off? $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Jan 23 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ If the OP wants an edit, why have they not made it? It's not required of anybody to make any particular contribution, least of all to make up for someone else's lack. Arguing that nobody can VTC unless they've done something that makes VTC unnecessary is, to be blunt, a nonsense waste of time and effort for community curators. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Jan 26 at 0:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .