When voting to close a question you can choose from several different reasons. However, when the question actually gets put on hold, it only shows the reason with the most votes. So for instance, if four people voted to close for reason A and one person voted to close for reason B, the note will only mention reason A.

Is there a reason that it doesn't show all the selected reasons? Is this something that might be changed?

Given that it won't show a second reason, how should that impact the voter? If I see a question with four close votes for reason A but I disagree with reason A but I also just happen to think it should be closed for reason B, what should I do?

If I vote to close for reason B, the answer will be put on hold (as mine was the determining vote) but it will say a reason that I disagree with. If the questioner would edit the question to satisfy the reason mentioned, I would still think it should be closed. Additionally, if I think that the other reason is wrong, then I am essentially saying that the question should get closed for my reason with just one vote. Perhaps that is an abuse of power?*

If I don't vote to close then I am failing to express an important opinion on the status of the question, and perhaps allowing a question that should be closed stay open.

Is there an accepted protocol here? Perhaps vote to close but leave a comment explaining that I disagree with the main reason? Or perhaps don't vote to close and leave a comment saying that I think it should be closed for a different reason? Something else?


(This is based on the voting to close this question. It had four votes to close based on comparative religion, but I voted to close as not abut Judaism.)

*Perhaps a separate question, but should different reasons combine to reach the threshold to close in the first place? If you need five people to state that there is something problematic with the question, why should four people stating one problem and one person stating another problem count? There is still no problem pointed out by five people.

  • IMHO, a bad question is a bad question and should be closed, regardless of the reasons it’s a bad question.
    – LN6595
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 22:13
  • Sometimes more than one close reason applies. I sometimes can’t decide between “too broad” and “unclear” , while many other questions are both “off topic” and “unclear”.
    – LN6595
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 22:15
  • @LN6595 Even if I think a question is a bad question and should be closed, there is a reason why five votes are required.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 0:23
  • @LN6595 If you are one of the first voters then that could be a dilemma. But if you are one of the last voters then you can see the reason selected by the previous voters and pick the same one, if you agree with it. My question is primarily about a situation where you see the reason of the previous voters and you think that that is not a reason for the question to be closed.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 0:25
  • For the same reason, btw, if two people voted for one reason and two people voted for another reason, the fifth close voter will determine why it’s closed.
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 17:24
  • @DonielF Which point are you addressing?
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 17:30
  • @Alex The fact that it shows the majority. Just adding onto that point.
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 17:37
  • @DonielF Isn't that already stated in the question?
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


Incorrect attribution of close votes is frustrating, yes. It's also a longstanding problem; that feature request to fix it is from 2010. (Sigh.) As I noted there last year, since the request was made they did fix this specifically for off-topic reasons; if five people all vote off-topic but for different sub-reasons, the winning reason only shows the users who voted for it. (I argued that if it's fixed there now, maybe it's not as hard as it once was to broaden the fix?) Actually, you can see that your name doesn't appear there for the comparative-religion reason, though it does appear for off-topic above.

If a question should be put on hold, then it's still better in my opinion to do it than to wait and let more answers accumulate (possibly based on faulty assumptions, if the question is unclear). Leaving constructive feedback (if not already present) about how to improve the question is always good. You don't even have to identify yourself as a close-voter; if the advice is useful, it's useful without that information too. If, later, somebody asks why you don't vote to reopen when what the other people thought was the problem is fixed, you can always point to your comment and say you had a different issue with the question. In practice, it's very uncommon for people to examine close votes that closely.

As for why the system doesn't require five of the same vote: sometimes questions have multiple problems, it's harder to fix an open question, and we shouldn't delay because 12 close voters are distributed among three reasons. (Consider off-topic + unclear + too broad. It happens.) If five people agree that there's some issue serious enough to put the question on hold, then let's put it on hold, sort out the differences, edit it, and get it reopened! "On hold" isn't supposed to be the end of the line, at least in many cases.

  • I noticed that my name is left off when it mentions the specific reason. But my concern is not so much about people interpreting my vote; it's about whether the question should actually be put on hold. The fact that my name is left off of the reason doesn't really help for that.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 22:29
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/90832/discarding-matzas shows two different close reasons, and has the voters split up based on how they voted. Is this perhaps a new feature, or is there something unique about that particular question? If this is in fact a new feature, it would address part of the problem.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 22:30

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