This question was closed with three votes for "insufficient research" - although I'm unclear why, because even after doing all the "research" suggested in the answers, the correct answer is still not obvious to me. It was then reopened with three reopen votes. And then re-closed with three new close votes - again on the grounds of "insufficient research", but again with no further details given.

Since a question that has been closed and re-opened is plausibly on-topic for this site (given the successful vote to reopen), should there perhaps be an increasing number of close votes required to re-close a question that has previously been reopened? Or perhaps a reason should be required for re-closing, and a moderator would need to approve it?

I think that this community should err on the side of inclusion for questions that are borderline on-topic (even putting aside questions like the one above, which I personally think is clearly on-topic).

  • This idea has been thrown around in chat a number of times, but (in my opinion as someone who spends too much time on places like the main meta), it's pretty unlikely to actually be implemented since it would have to be built as a feature. If we're talking about features that exist, we could make it require 5 votes to close (or reopen) again, but I know even the people who are frustrated with these close-reopen cycles have grown accustomed to closing truly bad questions quickly with 3 votes, so that's something that we would have to discuss in depth. FWIW, I'm frustrated with this too.
    – Laurel Mod
    Aug 30, 2023 at 1:07
  • 1
    @Laurel Thanks for the very useful feedback. (If you think the linked question is on-topic, then please feel free to reopen it! :-) )
    – tparker
    Aug 30, 2023 at 4:18
  • 2
    Just reopened a second time!
    – Mitch
    Aug 30, 2023 at 14:17
  • And it still has no evidence of research.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Sep 2, 2023 at 10:47
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    @AndrewLeach Respectfully, I believe that you are missing the point of the ability to close questions for insufficient research. In my opinion, that close reason is not supposed to literally evaluate how much research the OP did, but to discourage posters from posting questions that are trivially searchable in order to avoid wasting people's time. IMO, the fact that six high-reputation users have voted to reopen that question - regardless of how many people voted to close it - shows that it is not trivially searchable, so there is no reason to close it.
    – tparker
    Sep 3, 2023 at 14:55
  • @AndrewLeach I just looked at the 10 most recent open questions on English SE. I judge that six of them show no research effort, three of them do, and one is borderline (the first draft didn't, but then the OP edited their own question to answer it). I don't think that the six questions without research should be closed, because none of them have obvious answers. I suspect that the majority of all open questions on English SE don't actually show any research effort, but I think that they should be closed.
    – tparker
    Sep 3, 2023 at 16:54
  • Indeed. And rank is trivially searchable.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Sep 3, 2023 at 19:41
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    The system already, in a way, requires an increasing number of votes for subsequent closings, because the votes for reclosing are in addition to the ones that have been cast for previous closings. I agree, though, with the sentiment behind this question that, when there is room for reasonable dispute about whether a question is to closed (as may be manifested by the fact that it has been reopened), the right thing to do is to leave it open; one should therefore hesitate to vote to reclose a reopened question.
    – jsw29
    Sep 17, 2023 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


As Laurel has commented, such a change (increasing the number of votes in a second round of voting) is a system change.

The number of votes required to close/re-open a question can be changed, but it's fixed for all rounds of voting. Members of the community cannot vote more than once: if a question is closed with their vote, and re-opened, they cannot vote again to close it. It must be closed by new votes.

Thus in your case, six people have voted to close the question. So far, five people have voted to re-open. I think it should remain closed.

In this case, you haven't included your research, merely a statement "But I can't find any definition about what the "rank" part means." In the close banner, the link is to a question How much research is needed?, which contains the advice "if you researched and didn't find anything, at least show where you looked." You should include something like "I found X and Y in dictionary A, and Z in dictionary B, but I can't make those make sense for this use of rank."

  • 1
    Oh, that explains why a previous vote to close doesn't show up when I go to vote to close sometimes. It says I voted already but there's no numbers, so the question musta been reopened, and the rules must say you can't vote twice to close the same question. OK, fair enough, but there should be a warning somewhere (here, perhaps?). Gods know there are enough warnings about other stuff. Aug 30, 2023 at 14:36

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