# How do close votes work?

Lets say someone has submitted the first close vote, and some of us with that privilege see that. But lets say that we press on leave closed. Does that negate that 1 close vote or does the system simply ignore it and 4 more people still need to approve?

What I want to understand if there are 5 people voting to close and 5 people voting to open, whether the question gets to stay open or close.

The voting system is an integrator followed by a Schmitt trigger with a hysteresis of five votes.

Imagine a perfectly controversial question, so that a new reader has a 50% probability of voting to close or voting to reopen. Suppose the question gets a new reader every $T$ seconds.

Then the question will oscillate between "closed" and "reopened" at an (expected) frequency of $1\over 2T$ Hz.

Interestingly, the duty cycle of this oscillation will reflect the sentiment, but the oscillation will always be there unless the sentiment is 0% for closing or 0% for reopening.

• There is also close vote aging, so you could derive a minimum frequency of this oscillation depending on the traffic to the question.
– W5VO
Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 21:57
• Although it is a bit misleading because you can't strictly integrate the "close" and "open" votes because only one is accepted at a time. You can't 'cancel' a close (or reopen) vote, only wait to participate in the opposite action.
– W5VO
Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 22:00
• right, I need to update my model. Do you know what the time constant on the aging filter is? Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 22:08
• It is 4 days from the last cast close vote, assuming an aging condition has been met (100 pageviews, 3 "Don't Close" votes). The one glitch is that when the expiration condition is met, all votes expire. The minimum period (in this case assuming perfect dissent and that an aging condition has been met), would be just under 40 days.
– W5VO
Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 2:39
• this answer is fun Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 23:36

At the simplest level you switch back and forth. To answer your second question, people would have to vote it closed before someone can vote it open. So the order decides if it is open or closed. If you are referencing a just posted question, it would be open. For it to be closed again you would need to have 5 different people vote to close, as you can only vote once on a question. This is designed as a messy way to allow the community to decide if it should be open or closed by popular vote. This is not ideal behavior though and will generate a notification for diamond moderators.

When you press "Leave open" in the review queue it does not act immediately, but once you hit 3 people pressing that button it starts the aging process. This means, even if the question has very low views, it is 4 days until the other close votes expire, and it will leave the review queue.