Sadly our attempts to better coordinate community reviews did not lead to the desired effect to make our close reasons more consistent. Still robo-reviews lead to close reasons that have nothing to do with the affected question. But a consistent community moderation is vital to the site. Especially new user will not understand such an inconsistent voting pattern, and they will also not learn much from a wrong close reason without any further comments.

We observed that some reviewers are affected more than others but we do not want to put anybody on the pillory. Besides, we would also not have the time, will, and resources to maintain a list of people who frequently did not pay enough attention when moderating.

As community review is a vital contribution to the site too, we do not want anybody to stop reviewing. We also understand that sometimes a close reason may not be so clear-cut. This is not what this is about. We are talking about severe or clear-cut cases only.

As a measure to make community moderation better, we decided that we will issue short term review ban for single clear-cut bad reviews, in particular close reasons that do not apply to the question at all (even if the closure is undisputed). To reduce the damage for false positives, we will keep such bans short, starting with 1 day and slowly escalating over 3 to 7 to 14 to 30 days in repeated cases. We will start one week after posting this.

We do hope that this will help that reviewers will just spend this one second more time on reviewing when selecting a close reason or making other community-moderation decisions. Reviewers who were accidentally affected or affected for the first time should not worry too much as the ban will cease quickly – they may not even notice. A review ban will not affect overall site reputation nor will it be displayed anywhere accessible to the public.

1 Answer 1


To avoid a review ban we may only just need an extra bit of caution on voting for cases that may not be so clear-cut than others. Especially when coming from the review queue it occasionally may happen that the first close reasons given was not the best even though there is no dispute that a question was not answerable. I may also be that the question was edited following a comment on what was wrong and the primary close vote was not (yet) redacted.

All this has a risk to lead to close vote reasons that are inconsistent with what he had said in our help section or on meta.

Indicators for such problematic cases are:

  • The post had one ore more recent edits
  • Users gave more than one close reason

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  • More than one off topic reasons was given by different users

Even if all previous votes are identical we should not blindly follow the existing reasons but at least have a look at the post if the reason really is still valid. Keep in mind that your actions affect the work of other users who may not fully understand what you did and why. So if there was no comment yet, don't hesitate and be the one helpful user who writes one.

On casting the last of 5 votes take extra care that all is correct. In case there are 3 or 4 votes who had a different or in your opinion wrong close reason don't vote because your vote will be overridden. In extreme cases flag for moderator attention instead.

If you have even little doubts whether a canned off topic close reasons meets the post in question, use the other box:

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Explain what individual reasons you have with a post. This always is better than using a only remotely related canned reason and it shows you took care. There is no need to write a lengthy essay here but what you write here is public - remember to be nice.

Lastly we observed that the off-topic reason "proofreading, spell checking, or translations of individual texts" is used rather often, also including cases where only single words or phrases but not "individual texts" are given. Use this close reason with caution as these small text fragments often do not fall in the category we meant when we said we don't want to be a free translation or proofreading service.

  • Overridden or overruled? Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 1:44

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