As I've started reviewing more this question keeps occurring to me. In my judgment there are three ordered categories of question quality: should definitely stay open, should definitely be closed, and lies in the gray area. (I'm sure everyone has the same categories, although the category boundaries will differ.) The first two are obvious, but some decision rule is required for the third. Consider a hypothetical new question that may be somewhat (i.e., a gray area case) "ambiguous, vague, incomplete" (etc.) and may be difficult to answer. My policy in this situation is to give the OP the benefit of the doubt. In addition, I would probably comment and ask for more details to be provided. Now consider such a question that is bumped by the community user (for example, but I might also stumble across it via a different route), it has been around for months and has garnered no answers, or no answers worthy of an upvote. I look at it and wonder if it will ever get a decent answer (it still might). If I tend to fold the grays into the 'stay open' category for new questions, is it reasonable to default to 'close' for old questions? The danger is that the site seems to have an awful lot of such questions floating around, and this process could easily become fairly assertive and fill up the close votes queue in the review system. Another way of putting this is, do we want to eliminate many of the old, inactive questions that seem to be going nowhere (i.e., no answers or no upvoted answers)?

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    $\begingroup$ Regarding your last bolded question, I rather like this perspective, though it was given in a somewhat different context. I agree, though, that a sizeable proportion of the older unanswered questions are unlikely to get good answers, and not because of lack of expertise on the part of site participants. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Sep 29, 2012 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ Good point, @cardinal, I always enjoy your thoughts & I don't follow math.SE. FTR, I don't think we should start closing "interesting unanswered questions". $\endgroup$ Sep 29, 2012 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure why we should (or should not) close old questions more readily than new ones. How could it fill up the close votes queue? And, if it does, couldn't that queue be increased? $\endgroup$
    – Peter Flom
    Sep 29, 2012 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ It wouldn't literally fill up the queue in the sense that the queue would run out of space, but that the queue would go from having a couple of posts for review to many. As to the reason why (potentially) we would close old Q's like those I'm describing, my thinking is that they seem unlikely to go anywhere / garner decent answers & amount to clutter. $\endgroup$ Sep 29, 2012 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ OK, but what does clutter do? I guess it might harm the search function, at some point. $\endgroup$
    – Peter Flom
    Sep 29, 2012 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ Beyond annoy me? $\endgroup$ Sep 29, 2012 at 20:05
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    $\begingroup$ @gung: If I could, I would give a bounty to the "Beyond annoy me?" comment because I know the feeling so well. $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Dec 3, 2014 at 16:09


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