What is closing?
Closing is a democratic voting process where the community identifies questions that duplicate existing content, are unreasonable to answer in their current state, or do not belong on the site.
When should I vote to close a question?
Questions should be closed by casting close votes if:
- the question is a duplicate – i.e., it is sufficiently similar to an existing question and would be answered identically.
- the question needs details/clarity, needs more focus, is primarily opinion-based, or is otherwise problematic to identifying the problem in a way that can be properly addressed by answerers
- the question is sufficiently off-topic, as outlined in this help center article, or otherwise disallowed for a community-specific reason.
Note that once you gain this privilege, you should no longer flag for moderator attention to have questions closed or migrated. It is your responsibility to vote now. See also: How should my flagging change when I gain the ability to vote to close?
How do I cast a close vote on a question?
The current number of close votes will be shown next to the Close button under the question, in parentheses, like so:
If there are no close votes, it will simply say:
To cast a close vote – or just to view the current count of close votes and reasons – click the "Close" button under the question body. A list of close reasons, with descriptions and current counts, will appear. For more information on these close reasons, see this help center article: What does it mean if a question is "closed"?
If you wish to cast a vote to close the question, use the radio buttons to specify a reason for closing the question, then click the "Vote to close" button. If you select "A community-specific reason", you will need to select an additional sub-reason explaining why the question is not allowed on the site.
- 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).
- You may cast up to 12 close votes per day.
- Close votes age away harmlessly if the threshold is not reached after a number of days. If the question has at least 100 views, close votes will age away after 4 days; otherwise, close votes will age away after 14 days. Each new close vote resets the timer, so all close votes must be at least 4 or 14 days old respectively before aging occurs.
- You can retract a close vote at any time if the question has not yet been closed by clicking on the Close button under the question. This will display the standard close dialog, with the Close question button changed to a Retract vote button.
What happens when a question is closed?
Once a question has been closed, it will no longer accept new answers and the label
[closed] will be appended to the title.
Closed questions can be reopened through a similar voting process. The current number of reopen votes will be shown next to the Reopen button under the question, in parentheses, like so:
A tooltip displays the number of votes required to reopen. If there are no reopen votes, it will simply say:
Questions can go through multiple close and reopen cycles, but each individual user may cast at most one close vote and one reopen vote per question.
(The site moderators may close or reopen any question with a single vote, without any of the restrictions mentioned above.)
Closed questions may be merged with another question, migrated to another site in our network, or even deleted.
Alternatives to closing
If the question has serious problems (e.g. it is spam or offensive), flag it instead.
If you don't have enough reputation to cast close votes, you can also flag for closure.
If you have used up your close votes for the day and the question is a duplicate, post a comment with a link to the question it is a duplicate of.
Reviewing close and reopen votes
This privilege level unlocks two review queues for questions that may need to be closed or reopened.
Any post which currently has an active close vote or a close flag will appear in the Close votes review queue. In this queue, users can either vote to close the question, edit the question, or recommend leaving it open. Edits or a sufficient number of "Leave open" reviews will remove the question from review and immediately begin aging the close votes. If the question receives another close vote after being kicked out, it will re-enter the queue for further review. Questions with vote to close as a duplicate will also list each possible duplicate in a tab at the top for easy reviewing. (See this help center page for more info on using this queue.)
Similarly, the Reopen votes review queue will contain any post that currently has an active reopen vote. Users can vote to reopen, edit the question (which includes a reopen vote), or leave the question closed. A certain number of "Leave closed" votes will again kick the question out of the queue and begin the reopen vote aging process, and of course, another reopen vote will put it back into the queue. Questions which get edited within 5 days of being closed will automatically show up in the reopen queue for review. Questions which have had a revision will add an extra tab at the top so that you can quickly view the revision. Like the Close votes queue, questions which were closed as duplicates will still list the duplicates in the tabs above. (See this help center page for more info on using this queue.)
For more information about review queues, see this article in the help center.