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What are the rules around moderators closing questions outright?

I'm just looking for some guidelines and examples, with an explanation of why it would not be acceptable to leave it up to the community to vote close.

I couldn't find any answers to this in the FAQ or here on Meta.

  • Remember, that our mods are humans that we voted for and are almost always open to hearing a reasonable argument to re-open a question. – Steven Evers Apr 11 '11 at 18:10
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The way I see it is that there are two basic scenarios:

  1. When there aren't that many users of a site who have "vote to close" rights (normally 3K+ rep, but only 500 rep on beta sites). When there are a largish number of users who can vote to close it becomes less necessary for the moderators to step in and close a question "unilaterally". Personally, I might add my "final" vote when a post is on 3 close votes, just to "speed things along".

  2. When a question is flagged by someone who doesn't have close rights. This is an indication that someone thinks that the post is bad enough to be removed as soon as possible. The more flags there are the more "urgent" it is that the post is closed sooner rather than later.

If there are "enough" users with access to the "tools" menu (normally 10K+, 2k+ for beta sites) then these users will be able to see lists of questions with close votes and add their own vote. This reduces still further for the moderators to step in.

  • Is it acceptable moderator flag a post to alert users with tool panel access about a problem he doesn't want decide unilaterally? Your experience will be valuable to me since I am a newbie moderator. – Maniero Sep 25 '10 at 15:55
  • @bigown - the only flags the non moderators see are offensive and spam. You can still flag it "for moderator attention" so that the other mods see it. Or bring it up in the Teacher's Lounge on chat - that will mean that mods from other sites will be able to give you advice too. – ChrisF Sep 25 '10 at 16:09

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