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Currently the process that we have tried to follow for closing questions is as follows:

  1. Update the "List of candidate questions to be closed" list with a link to the question that is proposed to be closed with some reasoning.

  2. Provide a link on the question's comments to the meta thread so that the OP or anyone else who wants to give their input will have a say in closing the question.

  3. After a reasonable amount of time we either close the question or keep it open.

The above process does add a lot of transparency to the question closing process but is a pain to implement (especially steps 1 and 2).

Two key points:

  1. I think it is desirable to maintain transparency so that the reasons for closing questions are clear and the community gets a chance to debate the merits of the question.

  2. In my opinion, it is preferable that discussions about the merits of the question (reg closing or not) happen on the meta site to keep the question page itself uncluttered.

Is there any way in which we can simplify this process?

PS: If the above is too complex a process then we can simply abandon it and revert to a standard voting procedure. If someone (either the OP or someone else) needs to discuss some aspect of a closed question (e.g., clarify reasons for closing, request for re-opening etc) then they can open a meta thread for that purpose.

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I think that the basic StackOverflow process - discussion in comments with votes to close - works well for the most part. The current Meta process we're using is useful at this point because we're still hashing out what the closing criteria are and because relatively few people have hit 500 reputation (and so are able to vote to close), but I think it will be too burdensome as the volume of questions increases.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that your desires for greater transparency and to minimize clutter on the question page are a bit in conflict with each other - moving things to Meta inherently makes them less visible, especially to people who aren't yet familiar with the Stack system. Once we have more of a consensus about what to close, I think the comment discussions will become less... voluminous, so the clutter problem will hopefully diminish.

In short, I propose that we stick to the Meta system for now; once we have better agreement on what should be closed, we should switch to StackOverflow-style comments and vote-to-close on the question page.

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