I know this is a pretty big idea and implementation may be impossible.

But I had a thought.....

You need 3k Rep to cast close votes. So, if you're casting those votes, you've got some rep.

What if each vote to close cost a user 100 Rep (or some amount to be determined). When you cast a close vote 100 rep is deducted from your account.

If the question actually does get closed by a mod or by other vote accumulation you get your rep refunded. Otherwise, you've lost the rep.

This may cause users to think twice about what they vote to close.

Mods would be exempt.... (and possibly dup-hammer users but only for duplicates, non-dup close votes would still cost dup-hammer users.)

I realize it's of-the-wall and probably an issue with the core structure of SE on the whole. But I was curious if anyone else here though this, or something similar, would offer any value.

Currently, as far as I'm aware, the only way to "spend" rep is via bounties. So adding additional rep-spending items doesn't seem horrible to me.

The primary hurdle I foresee would be poor questions not getting enough close votes and less user-moderation where closing is concerned.

This is really just a thought. I don't honestly expect it to be implemented.

  • 3
    Downvoting Answers is another way to spend rep... a whole 2 points!
    – Ryan
    May 16, 2015 at 23:29
  • 3
    FWIW, I like the idea, as it's essentially "put your money where your mouth is", but I to doubt very much that it's feasible, or even something SE would attempt.
    – Dom
    May 17, 2015 at 11:31
  • 1
    I think this is a very smart suggestion from Scott. I don't know how much rep you need to close a question or even how to do this yet, but I guess people with this privilege can afford to take the risk, and as Dom mentions, "put your money where your mouth is" seems fair for experienced users.
    – go-junta
    Jun 17, 2015 at 4:17

5 Answers 5


I completely disagree.

We want users to clean up the site. Making them give up their reputation to cast a CV makes clean up happen less often. The whole purpose of casting a CV is to say, "Hey, I think this question is off topic." If 4 more people agree, then it gets closed. If anything, we should be giving users reputation to do reviews.

The problem is that we disagree about what's on topic, not the system itself.

Besides that fact, 100 rep is absurd, even 20 rep is pushing it.


I disagree as well. What should cost rep and not is part of the stack model, which has proved itself adequate over many different sites. Besides the fact that it would hardly be possible to enact this change for this site only, it would be very confusing and therefore an unlikely change.

The underlying problem here is the current overuse (in my opinion) of close votes. Apparently, we haven't done a good enough job to reach consensus about what is on-topic and what isn't, and we haven't desrcibed the things we agree about well enough. The result is that users vote to close questions that are on-topic left and right, thinking they are helping the site.

We should handle the problem: our wonky on-topic definition; and not the symptoms: overuse of close votes


If the most recent election taught me anything its that 10k is a goal that a lot of people give a lot of value to. I think the only way to implement an idea like yours would have to also change the way Privileges are handled. You'd have to be able to drop rep without losing Privileges. Especially if its as high as 100 rep. But really even 20 rep would add up real quick making it exponentially harder for people to achieve AND sustain editing and moderating privileges.


I find the idea interesting, but the general idea has been discussed before on MSE and was pretty poorly received.

I think it would work better on smaller sites, but definitely not on a site the size of Stack Overflow. Consider that entirely legitimate close votes on SO can often just age away due to the sheer size of their review queue (currently 7.1k close votes). This type of feature request would be a fundamental change to the SE voting system and would likely have to be applied network wide instead of on a per-site basis. That alone makes me inclined to think it won't happen.

  • 2
    I think the most telling part of that meta discussion is how some horde rep as if it means something or can be converted to bitcoins :)
    – Scott
    May 22, 2015 at 19:22

I think the idea holds some merit, as it would essentially force one to consider if it's really worth casting a close vote on a question that might be salvageable.

As @Ryan pointed out, for active site moderators, subtracting 20 rep for every CV would quickly add up. And we'd like to encourage active policing. But this could be circumvented by giving back the rep when a question actually gets closed. This way, a CV would cost you nothing if it actually makes sense and bad CV's get punished.

I do agree though that this would probably have to be implemented on all SE sites, which would definitely have a huge impact on some of the larger sites. But that shouldn't stop us from trying to improve the system.

  • Voting to close a question does not mean that you think it's unsalvagable. All it says is, "In it's current state, this question is not fit for our site." May 21, 2015 at 3:33
  • Is that a clear distinction for new users though? When you post your first question and it gets 5 close votes, does that make you feel like you should improve your question or does it just make you feel unwanted on this site?
    – PieBie Mod
    May 21, 2015 at 7:35
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    How they feel is relatively irrelevant. While we want to welcome new users and should comment to do so and not just close/dv without feedback, we can't accept poor quality questions simply because they are new May 21, 2015 at 13:20
  • 1
    I totally agree. My point is that I've seen questions receive five CVs, and not one comment explaining why, or how the question could be improved. We could be losing valuable members that way.
    – PieBie Mod
    May 27, 2015 at 13:15

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