How long does it take typically for the community to vote to reopen (or not) a question?

I am new to this website. I asked a question which was criticized for not having been worded properly. To me there was nothing wrong with it but maybe a little provocative. It then went through various editions by myself and by others. The question was then much clearer but suddenly and much to my surprise it was closed for the lack of “focus”. I then went and edited it again and added a lot more details. Now it has gone into a queue for community vote to possibly reopen it.

I have received a lot of comments that are either do not address the underlying question, or deal with procedure and protocols of the site, or are simply irrelevant. I have received one relevant answer to the question but I am convinced that there are many more answers. I have spent much time but am nowhere close to where I want to be.

So here is my question: How long does it take typically for the community to vote to reopen (or not) a question? I am new to this website. I asked a question that, in my view, was reasonably framed but perhaps carried a touch of provocation. It was met with criticism, which led to multiple revisions, both by myself and others in the community. The goal was to clarify the question, and eventually, it did become much clearer. However, to much my surprise, the question was suddenly closed due to a perceived lack of "focus." In response, I edited the question again, providing a substantial amount of additional details. As it stands now, my question has entered a queue for the community to vote on, possibly leading to its reopening.

Throughout this process, I've received a lot of comments some of which didn't directly address my original question, while others focused on the procedures and protocols of the site, which, although valuable, were not immediately relevant to my inquiry. I did receive one relevant answer to my question, but I am convinced that there are potentially many more valuable insights. The journey has been quite time-consuming, and I find myself still some distance from where I had initially hoped to be. So, here's my question: How long does it typically take for the community to vote on whether to reopen a question or not? I'm eager to gain a better understanding of this process and appreciate any guidance or insights you can provide.


1 Answer 1


The question was reopened shortly after this question was asked. Still, some clarifications that might help:

  • The way questions are closed and opened is (generally) through a community-led review process. See eg What is a "closed" or "duplicate" question? and How do you reopen a closed question?. On this site, it currently takes 5 people to agree to either close or reopen a question. Because this site is relatively small, only high-rep users can vote to close/reopen, and not every high-rep user engages in the review queue, it can sometimes take a while. That may indeed result in a question staying close more than it needs to be, which is unfortunate, but that's the cost of having a partly community-led moderation system. Things move along fast only if there are many people willing to volunteer their time engaging in the review queue (that said, the situation in this regard is not that bad on this site).

    It might have looked like the question was "suddenly closed" to you, because you can't see the running tallies. But what happened was that most of the close votes were cast in the previous version of the question, so by the time the edits improving the question were done, only a single vote was needed to close. In fact, looking again at the post history, the question was closed before the edits that actually resolved most of the issues (which, in my opinion, would be V5). You can see the revision history here.

  • As a suggestion to avoid these problems in the future: avoid wording whatever you're asking for in any tone that might be perceived as aggressive, snarky, argumentative, sarcastic, or anything of the sort. Even if you ask a question that has some problems (maybe it's not very focused, or not very clear, etc) people are generally willing to give the benefit of the doubt and advise you on how to fix the issues. However, any perceived unpoliteness will very quickly erode any such good faith assumption, and result in people being more likely to downvote or vote to close, rather than spend their time giving advice. That's not a site rule, that's just how these things naturally go.

  • Yes, sometimes asking questions on StackExchange sites can be a frustrating experience if you're not familiar with the system. But there's a reason for that: to maintain high-quality, well-organised, and easily retrievable content, you need to actively force people to ask and answer things in a specific way. It might take some getting used to, but it is for the best in the long term (at least in my opinion), especially if you think the main target of the site is building a repository of information easily retrievable from anyone googling the question in the future, rather than just the person actually asking the question now.

  • $\begingroup$ I got it. Thank you for taking the time and writing in detail @glS. $\endgroup$
    – Max
    Commented Sep 7, 2023 at 23:29

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