The question H-NMR spectroscopy of [18]annulene presents an interesting problem in chemistry, and an even more interesting one for chemistry SE. Three readers have voted to close the question but others would prefer to leave it open — and the latter seem powerless until after the question is first closed (whereupon five reopen votes are needed). Is there any way to oppose question closure more proactively?

  • $\begingroup$ Regarding Ortho's "edit so it won't get closed", there are some triggers for experienced close voters that make them more likely to close something. When you're moderating (and not answering), you usually spend a few minutes for each thread and that might not be enough to get to the point, but seeing the post is two lines long, contains only one question, has grammatical or punctuation errors etc. would make you want to close it. In this case and most cases, commenting would've done the job. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 10:25

2 Answers 2


Just going to rattle off a quick answer. There are a few ways. None of them will actively stop people from voting to close, but this is about as good as it gets.

Firstly, you can leave a comment, saying "I wouldn't close this because XYZ". Obviously, it helps if you substantiate this, e.g. the references I left might have convinced somebody that the problem is interesting enough to warrant journal articles being published on it.

Secondly, you can go into the close vote queue and click "leave open". If three people vote to leave open, the post will be removed from the close vote queue. It does not stop people from manually clicking on the question and voting to close, though.

Thirdly - and most ideally - you can edit the question into something that is less likely to be closed. I would have done this, but I'm busy, so in this specific case I offer my apologies. My comment seems to have done the trick, at least.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ + You can (after two days have passed) bounty it. Questions with an active bounty cannot be closed (for the duration of the bounty and old votes may age away), and questions with a good answer are also less likely to be closed. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン Although, depending on the question, putting a bounty on it just to prevent closure is sometimes considered abuse. Probably not in this case, but it would be if the question would clearly have to be closed. $\endgroup$
    – wythagoras
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @wythagoras Indeed that would be abuse, which would need to be dealt with by us moderators. However, these are extremely rare cases. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 10:22

Basically this is a rehash of Orthocresol’s answer but coming from the background of the specific question and being one of the close voters, I can provide insight as to what would have swayed my decision in the other way.

The question as it was read like a little-effort do-my-homework question. It contained the information that the spectrum with just one peak was recorded at $\pu{100^\circ C}$. That, along with the little OP had written, made me immediately assume what the correct answer would be and also assume that OP could have found it with five seconds of thinking. Not having looked up any references or knowing the exact case in question I did not know I was wrong.

  1. Ideally, someone would have come and edited the question. They could have included a reference to the articles and/or noted that thermally induced motion enough does not seem to explain the phenomenon because A, B and C.

    Seeing this information in the question itself is the number one reason for me to take a step back and distrust my intuition. Seeing this being edited into the question after I voted to close is a way to make me retract the close vote.

  2. If not that, a comment under the question would have been the next best solution. ‘Hey, nice question, this is actually not as simple as it sounds. See here and here. I might post an answer later.’

    This would not have helped if I have already voted but if I come across the question later I would maybe still hesitate and question my first impuls.

  3. A bad solution would have been to just click leave open or to edit some grammar/wording from the review queue. That would not sway my decision.

Also, I contest your claim that the reopening force is stronger once the question is closed. It still only takes three who want to keep it closed in the review queue to make it drop out. Those users who go through the queue do so frequently and often vote on the questions to close to. They made up their mind earlier, so there has to be a substantial edit that sways them around. But this edit could have just as well been posted before closure if the question is as interesting as you imply. Therefore, no good is done by ‘silently’ clicking reopen.

  • $\begingroup$ 1. I don't get it. Why should someone edit the question to include stuff that should go into an answer? 2. Obviously you should have questioned your first impulse; evidently orthocresol's comment did not change your mind. Which is fine. 3. But that is how review queues work, and should work. And that is how three people disagreed with you. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン 1: Compare the following two questions: ‘Why does cyclohexane only give one peak in proton NMR? Axial and equatorial protons should be different!’ and ‘Why does [18]annulene only give one peak in proton NMR at $\pu{100^\circ C}$? It has inside and outside protons!’ If you do not consider question 1 a low-effect homework question, I agree to disagree. If not, I would ask you to explain why the two questions are fundamentally different. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ 2. I don’t think ortho’s comment was there when I voted to close. In any case, I usually judge the quality of the question and less the comments added below. 3. I meant to say if I arrive in the review queue I cannot tell if people vote to leave open. So a better course of action is always to write out why leaving open is a good decision. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ I just checked. I triggered the review process with the first close vote four minutes before ortho commented. (My comment was six minutes prior to his.) $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, whatever, I misunderstood you. But then again I seem to misunderstand the community in recent times a lot. I don't want to go any deeper into the matter. It is apparent that we both have fundamentally different approaches on how to treat questions on this site; which is good, because only this way we have a discussion. However, I am too tired of doing that anymore. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 12:42

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