12

I'll structure this as a question.

You have probably seen closed questions that you thought should be reopened, but it didn't happen. You may have chalked it up to community decision. But if you thought they qualified to reopen, there's a good chance they remained closed for no good reason.

Questions from non-technical users often take multiple rounds of clarifications and edits to make them answerable. That makes it easy for them to get into reopen review before they're ready, and then fail to get reopened. Once a question is out of the review queue, there is permanently no mechanism to get it in front of reopen voters. So you experience situations like this:

  • You edit a closed question that has a fixable problem, but it doesn't attract any reopen votes.
  • You vote to reopen a closed question that looks fixed, but your vote is the only one it gets.
  • You see a bad, closed question get fixed, then it starts gathering reopen votes and looks like it should reopen quickly. But then it stalls and gets no more reopen votes.
  • You see a closed question get fixed and it starts attracting reopen votes, and you prepare an answer so you can be an early poster when it reopens. But it never does.
  • You notice a lot of closed questions with some reopen votes, but their vote count never seems to go up.
  • You assume reopen votes aren't coming in because it's a slow day, or not enough people are working the review queues. But days go by with no vote increase.
  • You check a fixed question's timeline to verify that it has had the benefit of reopen review, and sure enough it has. The community voted to leave it closed (but it isn't evident that it happened before the question was fixed).

Your assumptions about what's happening are based on the activity you see on the question, but there is no information there about the reopen queue, which changes everything. If you were aware that the question had already failed review, you would know that your actions on the post, or waiting, will not lead to reopening; only external intervention will do that. So many of these questions, that have been fixed, end up needlessly remaining closed and fading into oblivion.

Well that sucks! Don't we have a way to know at a glance the context that the question failed review?

11

Now we do. Bob created a userscript, SEReopenReviewWarning, which does that.

When a question has been through the review queue, it produces a message under the Close message that looks like this example:

sample message

When I started using it, the results were surprising. I was used to seeing a lot of closed questions with some reopen votes, and naturally assumed they were actively being reconsidered. It turns out a substantial portion are actually dead in the water and require outside intervention. However, nobody was aware of it.

You can use this installation link with your userscript manager: https://github.com/BobVul/SEReopenReviewWarning/raw/master/SEReopenReviewWarning.user.js

If you've never used userscripts, you load a userscript manager, like Tampermonkey, Greasemonkey, or Violentmonkey, as an add-on/extension in your browser. Then you can make use of it to install and utilize userscripts.

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