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I flagged a question that I discovered was left open by a moderator in the review queue. Whenever a moderator casts a vote in the review queue, it is binding and the question is automatically removed from the review queue.

What happens when a moderator clicks 'leave open' in the close-vote queue? (Meta Stack Exchange)

This was my flag message:

Why was this question left open? The incentive to add a source and to check the transcription from the OP disappears when their question enjoys immunity. – Mari-Lou A 15 hours ago

When a question gets closed for lack of detail or research, the OP is motivated to improve their post. Improving that question was easy: add the source and check that the quotation was accurately transcribed. This was the moderator's reply

declined - 2 close votes so far and three more to go. This is not a question that should be mod-closed.

If it's true that the question should not be unilaterally closed by a mod, why vote to leave it open, effectively preventing other users from expressing their judgement?

The moderator sustains that the question didn't need any clarification, any improvement, that it was fine as it was? I don't get it.

P.S. Before voting to close, I left a comment beneath the OP's question explaining that one of the quotes cited seemed weird and ungrammatical in British English. The OP has still not replied nor edited their post since then. It is, in my opinion, an on-topic but very low quality question.

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  • It might be helpful to discuss the particular question and see if there is support for reasons why it might make sense to leave it open. Was your flag before or after it was removed from the queue? I'm not sure I understand the exact sequence of events here. – ColleenV Jun 1 at 14:20
  • For reference, the question is than was expected vs than were expected, and the flag was raised and declined after the Leave Open review. – snailplane Jun 1 at 14:33
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My interpretation of this is that the mod team is allowing the community the chance to override the unilateral "leave open". Yes, it's unfortunate that the people who already voted to close don't get to vote again on it, but if a question can't muster more than 5 votes, it probably won't cause that much damage to leave it open.

Still, given how fast the 100+ item review queue emptied after the moderator election added two more folks with unilateral decision making power, I wonder if it makes sense for ELL to have the close threshold reduced to 3 votes.

From Mari-louA's comments, in my opinion the "leave open" votes are over zealous. Short circuiting the review process when there have only been two votes by the community is not a good idea.

In my opinion, mods can be more liberal with close votes because they can unilaterally reopen a question if it is improved. Short circuiting the review process with a "leave open" vote means we'll never know if the community would have left that question open or not. If a question gets wrongly closed, for example, if it was edited halfway through the review queue and it was improved, it's easy enough for a moderator to reopen it. In that situation, casting a "leave open" vote is a judgement call that the question now meets community standards and that it would benefit the community to have it remain open. That's exactly the type of thing mod privileges should be used for.

Closing a poor quality question so it can be improved before it is answered (and before hitting the HNQ list) helps the site. Leaving many questions open when the community would rather have them closed makes it seem like the moderator is using their power to enforce their own view instead of using it to serve the community (even if that's not what the moderator intends at all).

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  • If the question leaves the review queue, there's very little chance of other users seeing it and deciding whether to close it or keep it open. – Mari-Lou A Jun 1 at 15:11
  • @Mari-LouA True, but you can always bring it up on Meta if you feel strongly about it. The problem is not that it left the queue, but that folks seem reluctant to put it back in the queue if it's truly low quality. I'm surprised you didn't down-vote it if you felt strongly about it. That's another option to incentivize someone to improve it, especially if you retract your vote after it has been edited. – ColleenV Jun 1 at 15:14
  • I'm not going to post on meta every time I strongly disagree with a question that was unilaterally left open or closed. I think reviewing posts should be done democratically. It might help if there were fewer posts to review, but if two or more mods review 60 posts between themselves in less than a week (I haven't counted, it's just a wild guess) why have the review queue in the first place? Let the mods deal with these posts themselves, they seem to know what's best. – Mari-Lou A Jun 1 at 15:19
  • The above comment is rhetorical but serious at the same time. – Mari-Lou A Jun 1 at 15:21
  • @Mari-LouA I think a "leave open" vote is a lot different from "close" vote after having thought about your comments, so I updated my answer. – ColleenV Jun 1 at 16:46
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It now appears clear to me where my own misunderstanding has created this confused situation.

Whenever a moderator casts a vote in the review queue, it is binding and the question is automatically removed from the review queue.

I actually just came to that realization. Thank you for that! As I have explained under your other post, somehow I was in the erroneous belief that only mod-close was binding. So my review policy since elected was that if I personally think a post should be closed but better left to the community to decide, I leave it open just so other reviewers will get to vote on its fate. TIL that is not the case. And it is a good TIL!

If it's true that the question should not be unilaterally closed by a mod, why vote to leave it open, effectively preventing other users from expressing their judgement?

I am sure now you understand what led to my vote and where I got it wrong. I would vote to close that question if my close-vote only counted as one fifth of the decision not a binding one, but since that is no longer the case for me what I was trying to do was leave it to other people's better judgment and not do anything unilaterally. That is exactly why I left a concurring message in response to your flag saying: "2 close votes so far and three more to go."

If the question leaves the review queue, there's very little chance of other users seeing it and deciding whether to close it or keep it open.

Absolutely right. Let's keep close reviews like this in the queue. That was my intention to begin with. The only issue I see is we still don't have enough people looking at the queues, so switching to the shorter 3 vote close cycle could be the way to go as ColleenV suggests.

It seems to me there is no option available to moderators that allows us to put the question back into the queue. I wasn't sure what you wanted us to do with that flag because my vote had already been cast. Did you think it would be better for me to reverse my vote and unilaterally close the question? It was (still is) an option, but I think it'd work better if you brought the matter to our attention in a meta post like this one or in chat (your pick) so that 1. I learn from this as I have and 2. people who see this post will be motivated to vote on whether to close the question.

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  • No permanent damage has been committed, but I do think my post has highlighted the fact that many (if not most) high rep users do not visit the review queues. Why is that? I feel there should be greater leniency and flexibility here compared to EL&U but if no one visits the queues, it is likely that the number of close reviews will swell again and we'll be back to square one. – Mari-Lou A Jun 1 at 22:41

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