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How does stackoverflow prevent the tyranny of selfish moderators who close questions at will (for instance because they are bureaucratic or have an ego problem)? Closing questions can be very frustrating for powerless newcomers.

  • 7
    Actually, the mods are not selfish, they enforce the rules as set by the site owner. See meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/350/… You may not like the rules, in fact many members have expressed frustration about that, but currently it's how things are done.
    – user281377
    Jun 22, 2011 at 10:44
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    To add to what ChrisF says here, there are ~150 users on the site who can vote to override a moderator's decision. As a general rule, they don't. Anecdotally, SO users seem much more willing to fight for a question they think is worthwhile... And by "fight" I mean "argue for it and use the tools the site gives to you achieve your goals" not "make hyperbolic complaints on Meta"... In the last 30 days, one question has been re-opened by five users voting. 1. Either the moderators are doing a really fantastic job, or the community is consumed by apathy - pick the one that appeals to you
    – Shog9
    Jun 22, 2011 at 14:55
  • Awesome point. Ironically, @Mark Trapp quit StackExchange in November: plus.google.com/app/basic/stream/…
    – Jim G.
    Dec 31, 2012 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


There are several checks.

Firstly, any user with more than 3,000 reputation can cast a reopen vote. When 5 people have voted the question is reopened.

Secondly, moderators review each other and they can reverse the decision with a single vote. If there is a particular question you have in mind flag it for moderator attention to speed this along.

Thirdly, you can post a question here on meta raising the issue. This will help with the first two points as well as more people will see the question.

Finally, you can send an e-mail to the team - use the "contact us" link at the foot of every page. Though this should be reserved for the most serious problems.

  • 3
    I would say the checks fail sometimes. You closed my question which was migrated from Stackoverflow because it is subjective, although one of your own questions is very subjective, too. If the question is not about programmers, then what question is? It certainly helps us to be better programmers, and this should be the purpose of the site. Therefore it seemed to me a biased and unjustified decision. Many other uses complain about similar experiences.
    – 0x4a6f4672
    Jun 22, 2011 at 11:04
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    If you are referring to this question, it was asked in the early days of the site before the guidelines were revised.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jun 22, 2011 at 11:07
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    @0x4a6f4672 Thanks for bringing that question up. It's hard to find all the old questions that no longer fit the site's guidelines. It has now been closed as it would've been if it were asked today.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jun 22, 2011 at 13:32
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    @0x4a6f4672: Which is why if you find a good old question, keep it to yourself. If it comes to the attention of mods they'll kill it.
    – user8685
    Jun 22, 2011 at 15:53

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