I’ve been creating use cases for the front-end team, and I want to draw the community’s attention in particular to the ones for question closure and associated activity. These use cases are informed by all the discussions on the forum and in chat and also include some new ideas, described here.
One of the overriding goals is to make this process less aggravating for all involved: the question author (who needs to know what the problem is and what to do about it), the curators (who need an easy way to moderate content and provide useful feedback), and the community (who want good questions and a minimum of thrashing). We’re aiming for a process that is fully constructive while not coming across as adversarial.
Duplicates are a separate (related) workflow, not part of question closure. This means anybody can suggest duplicates (not just people with close votes) and the negative feelings that some see with “close” for duplicates don’t arise. There’s nothing wrong with duplicates. (Or, rather, the bad duplicates will get removed by the community.)
There are two other close reasons: “needs attention” and “off topic”. When someone (with the appropriate trust level) nominates a question for closure, we give targeted messaging to the author and other readers. The focus is on the feedback not who said it, so this feedback is anonymized.
While a question has pending close votes it can accept both “close” and “open” votes. Instead of going through close/reopen cycles, people can weigh in immediately, right there on the question. (MVP doesn’t have review queues but even if it did, we want direct access from the question.)
For both duplicate suggestions and close votes, we guide the user toward editing to address the issue, and we accept any edit from the OP as a remedy. This latter could be abused and maybe we’ll need to put some guardrails around it (maybe it’s a trust-level thing), but let’s start here. If there are cases of bad-faith edits, we have ways to deal with them separately. Remember that we are not going to be at SO scale on day 1; the smaller communities we’ll start with can moderate their communities effectively.
See the use cases for details. (The directory is named “flag” because there will be other stuff there too, including handling of spam.)