When reviewing the questions marked for reopening, I quite often wonder why that question was marked for reopening. For example, I've seen questions closed as duplicates, and the OP added a comment or edit why this question is different to the one linked. In this case a vote-to-reopen makes perfect sense to me.

But consider this question: Dividing a page into several horizontal minipages. I can't see a reason why someone would like this question to be reopened. It also doesn't seem to have been edited, such that e.g. a simple tag edit perhaps could have triggered the reopen voting automatically (I'm not even sure if it actually can be triggered automatically).

Or another example: Submitting paper to arXiv. This question had been closed and then was marked for reopening. I voted against reopening because I couldn't see a reason for it. However, this question is open again now, so apparently other people did see a good reason for reopening it.

So is there any way to get a hint why a question was marked for reopening? Should I prefer voting for reopening a question even if I don't see a good reason for it? Or is there at least a way to see who marked the question for reopening?

EDIT: Because there seems to be some confusion about the intends of this question, I just want to add that the question didn't aim at asking for new features (although opening a request for adding an optional reopen reason might actually be worth a try). The aim was to ask for hints or things to consider I haven't thought of when reviewing the reopen proposals.

Reviewing close proposals feels much easier to me, because there's usually a lot of information available you can use to come to a decision, like an explicit reason, links to duplicate questions, name of the user suggesting the closure, comments that lead to the proposal etc. Reopen votes apparently lack all such useful information; they often seem somewhat arbitrary to me. Hence my question how to gather more information to come to a reasonable decision.

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    I think I can shed some light on the reopening of the arxiv question. I was asked in chat if I would mind converting my comment into an answer, not because the question itself would be good or even provide the necessary information to answer it, but people in chat thought that it might be a good idea to explain to future users that it's better to fix errors than to workaround. I voted to reopen and I assume some of the other chat users might have as well. Nov 22, 2018 at 22:14
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    Here is the start of the arxiv discussion: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/41?m=47559022#47559022 Nov 22, 2018 at 22:17
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    One idea which would make the system more transparent: just like the automatic comment for duplicates "@xyz voted to close this question as duplicate of ..." one could introduce automatic comments like "@xyz voted to reopen" or "@Community voted to reopen..." if the question was automatically added to the queue because of an edit. Nov 22, 2018 at 22:28
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    Closing and reopening unfortunately is not always a perfectly rational process IMHO. Even more, I have seen users closing questions as "duplicates" of questions for which they had the accepted answer even though it was pretty obvious that the accepted answer won't allow the OP to solve their problem. I can see why some users want to stay anonymous when voting for reopening since those who show the above-mentioned behavior sometimes try to take revenge when they are stopped. But I agree that in an ideal world, in which up- and downvotes would not be anonymous, this would not be necessary.
    – user121799
    Nov 22, 2018 at 22:49
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    @samcarter Thanks for your explanation on the arxiv question. This is a good example where it would have been helpful to at least know who raised the reopen flag. If it comes from an experienced user I would expect there's a good reason for it, as opposed to e.g. the TO just trying to take another chance
    – siracusa
    Nov 23, 2018 at 16:21
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    The site voting mechanics are network wide and can't be set on tex.stackexchange so if you wanted to change this you would have to raise it as a feature request on the network meta not here. Nov 24, 2018 at 9:48
  • Maybe a small change to the title could help to prevent potential misunderstandings: Would "Find out reason how a question was marked for reopening" better describe your question? Nov 26, 2018 at 9:48
  • @samcarter I changed the topic to a third option and I hope it's clearer now. But from the answers and discussion so far it seems there simply is no more information available
    – siracusa
    Nov 28, 2018 at 13:24

3 Answers 3


The only general voting behaviour that requires an explanation is closure. All other voting (including up-voting, down-voting, voting to re-open and voting to delete) can be done without adding any reference or motivation. So, without any additional comment, or explanation under those circumstances, you have make a judgement based on what is contained within the post/original content.

Having said this, you should always make an educated judgement/informed decision based on the original content or current state of the question. Don't just assume something in the re-open vote review queue should be re-opened, or that every question in the close vote review queue should be closed. Make an informed decision.

  • I think that voting to delete is different from up-voting, down-voting and voting to re-open. It is true that there is one (out of several) option "No comment needed" but IMHO this does not mean that no explanation is needed. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think "No comment needed" means something along the lines "inappropriate beyond repair".
    – user121799
    Nov 28, 2018 at 0:38
  • @marmot: Not at all. I use it often if someone else has already commented.
    – Werner Mod
    Nov 28, 2018 at 0:40
  • How is this different, then, from just using the same reason as someone else when closing a question?
    – user121799
    Nov 28, 2018 at 0:41
  • @marmot: Visually, comment X is upvoted if it's chosen again in the list of comments by a subsequent reviewer. For me it's just quicker to read that someone else has already commented something appropriate and then choose "No comment needed" rather than to then search for the same comment in the list.
    – Werner Mod
    Nov 28, 2018 at 0:45
  • But this just confirms what I am saying: voting to delete is different from up- or downvoting, or voting to reopen, doesn't it?
    – user121799
    Nov 28, 2018 at 0:47
  • @marmot: It's similar, but different. If you go through the review queue, then some comment is suggested with a vote, although you don't have to do that. However, people can see who voted for deletion, so your vote is not anonymous. Another way to vote for deletion is to use the 10K tools menu - it identifies items that have delete votes. You can visit those and vote-to-delete without any comments. Your vote will be shown/visible to folks with 10K+ reputation if the post gets deleted.
    – Werner Mod
    Nov 28, 2018 at 17:59

Since this is a discussion question, here is an answer that does not really answer the question. I guess that you implicitly ask that the rules of this site are to be changed in such a way that one has to specify a reason for why the question is to be reopened. And I almost fully agree with this request: after all, one also has to specify a reason for the closure of a question.

However, there is one point that one has to consider IMHO. If a question has been closed, it is always clear why this has been done (duplicate, unclear, off-topic, ...). This almost automatically implies that if one votes to reopen the question, one simply does not agree with the assertion made. That is, if I vote to reopen a question that was closed as a duplicate, this simply means that,in my opinion, it is not a duplicate. (The question how precisely a duplicate is defined is nontrivial, but I do not think we have to delve into this here.) Therefore, the reason for reopening is automatically clear and there is no need to enforce that it has to be added.

Of course, as in the case of closure, it is always nice to have some explanation for the vote. If your question is just to encourage users to consider adding explanations, I fully support this encouragement.


Some questions are closed for no good reason. Moreover, those who voted for the closure do not want to go back on their vote at all, regardless of the arguments. For example, it was closed for no reason and reopened at @Mico's request, not without difficulty.

How to migrate from numprint to siunitx while keeping the same font?

So the question you should ask yourself is this: was there a real reason to close the question?

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

  • When you are saying "So the question you should ask yourself is this: was there a real reason to close the question?", who do you address here? Remember that these lines will be read by all users, also by Mico and those who have voted to reopen the question. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to make these points, with which I agree, in another post like this one, and to clarify that these comments specifically apply to those who closed the question?
    – user121799
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:12
  • @marmot I'm talking to Siracusa. As everyone can be wrong, including users with a very high reputation, the question to ask when considering reopening a question is "Wasn't this question closed by mistake?" and not as Siracusa asks the question. Indeed, the Siracusa question amounts in fact to considering that the question has been legitimately closed. As if high-profile users were infallible. In a closure or reopening vote, we must remain humble.
    – AndréC
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:28
  • But @Siracusa is not talking about this question, but as far as I can see about two other posts. And I guess there is a large set of questions that are legitimately closed. (Yes, of course, high reputation does not prevent users from making mistakes.)
    – user121799
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:43
  • @marmot The question of siracusa is general (he says a question and not these questions). The two questions he cites are therefore only examples to illustrate.
    – AndréC
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:46
  • Yes, but (s)he wants to "Find out reason why a question was marked for reopening" while you are complaining that a question was closed even though it should not have been closed.
    – user121799
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:48
  • @marmot I'm not complaining that my question has been closed. I start from the following observation: a question can be closed by mistake and acknowledging its mistakes is difficult for everyone. Thus, when considering a reopening request, one should not ask oneself "whether there is a reason to reopen the question", which in fact means that there was no error when considering the closure, but "was there not an error when it was closed".
    – AndréC
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:55
  • Again, the title of the question is "Find out reason why a question was marked for reopening". I fully agree that many questions are closed by mistake, and yours is a very good example. But as far as I can see, the topic is here to find out why a question has been reopened, not closed. (I agree of course that if no question was mistakenly closed, one would not need to worry about reopening, but since this is an opinion-based process I guess we will have to live with the fact that questions get closed by mistake.)
    – user121799
    Nov 23, 2018 at 19:59
  • @marmot The reason is simple, the question is not duplicated because he wants a division into 4 equal horizontal parts while the duplicated question divides into 2 horizontally and 2 vertically, which divides into 4, but not in the same way.
    – AndréC
    Nov 23, 2018 at 20:04
  • Yes, sure, that is a specific reply to his suggestion that this post does not qualify for being reopening. However, this is the meta forum, and the question is hence a meta question. It is perfectly fine to use specific examples in your post, but I guess ultimately you need to relate it to the question.
    – user121799
    Nov 23, 2018 at 20:13
  • @marmot I must misunderstand you because I think I have already answered that.
    – AndréC
    Nov 23, 2018 at 20:19
  • OK, let's leave it at this stage. BTW, I did not downvote your answer. You can easily check that I have never downvoted on meta in case of doubt. ;-)
    – user121799
    Nov 25, 2018 at 18:21
  • @marmot Actually, it doesn't matter to me who downvoted. I said what I thought and if it doesn't please, that's fine.
    – AndréC
    Nov 25, 2018 at 18:52
  • Well, I think this is supposed to be an open discussion. Personally I would not like to get downvoted without knowing the reason. If I do not agree, or if I believe that a given post does not add any value to the discussion, I do not upvote. But I guess that's a matter of taste.
    – user121799
    Nov 25, 2018 at 18:59
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    @marmot Yes, the confrontation of ideas in science is essential. But the voting system is not scientific. This voting system induces a media effect, a celebrity effect in the votes.
    – AndréC
    Nov 25, 2018 at 19:18
  • Good that we have now a nice final statement that we can agree on. ;-)
    – user121799
    Nov 25, 2018 at 19:19

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