This is regarding the following question, but is part of a broader pattern of people not using their votes: If my aunt got married and had a child with her ex-husband, would that make my cousin's father's side of the family my family?

I briefly noted this question shortly after it was posted, but did not have chance to respond, and was not at a computer at the time. But I thought, it's not urgent and I'm sure will be closed by the time I'm back.

But 10 hours later, the question is still open. It is as clearly opinion-based and off-topic and for this site as it gets. Not a single close vote, not even a downvote.

So why wasn't it closed promptly? There was not even a single close vote, despite a twice-upvoted comment indicating it was opinion-based (that probably should have been 3 close votes there). It had even been cleared from the First Posts review queue without any votes.

This is the sort of question that it would be nice for the community to vote to close, and shouldn't really reqire moderator intervention. I don't think there is much room for disagreement here that this isn't a good question for the site.

Why are people not using their close votes?

  • 1
    Side comment: given the comments that are currently showing on the question, I would question the tagging as well, and close the question as "too broad". The legal answer on cousin marriages differs depending on locality in the United States. The religious answer differs depending on denomination. The societal answer belongs in Anthropology. It's a poor fit in any case -- it isn't a question about determining the relationship of two people for genealogy -- that relationship is stated in the question itself (however confusingly).
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 23:54

2 Answers 2


In my case, it was because I didn't see it -- it didn't turn up in my review queue (perhaps because a number of people had already reviewed it and resolved to get to it later) and I was too busy yesterday to look through everything. Had I seen it I would probably have been at a loss for which closure reason to choose, like sempaiscuba.

On the more general point, I've noticed that it's mostly the same small band of 'usual suspects' who do cast close votes -- the ones who feel a responsibility for maintaining the site and who are still active here. We may ostensibly have 72-ish users who could vote to close, but more than half of them have not been active in a long time, and most of the others seem to 'drop' in very occasionally and/or see their role as asking or answering but not 'cleaning up'.

So the reason why it wasn't closed promptly? We're a site reliant on a very small group of core users to carry out moderation (with a little m) activities. What can we do about it? Probably very little but I'd love to be contradicted.

  • I think that you are probably right on the general point. The stats on Area 51 notwithstanding, we are still a fairly small site. Even with visits from the link on this meta post, that question has only been viewed 22 times so far. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:30
  • Upvoted because I didn't see it, either because I didn't log in to the site before it was closed, or I was in too much of a hurry to look when I logged in to perform another task. (With this upvote, I am answering this Meta question as if I had an ordinary user's close vote, which I don't any more.)
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 2:20

I downvoted it when I reviewed it as a first post. For some reason, it doesn't look as if my vote was recorded (perhaps because I was working on a mobile device?).

I didn't vote to close at that point, partly because I wanted to parse the question and close for the right reason (there are far too many choices in this case). Yes, the question is a poor fit, but @JanMurphy's comment explains the problem. It's too broad, unclear what is being asked (legal, religious, societal, or something else?), off-topic for the site, and primarily opinion-based.

The theory is that we close questions to allow the OP to improve the question. I wanted to choose the most appropriate reason (probably 'unclear what you're asking', on reflection). I just didn't get back to it. Life, as they say, got in the way.

It happens.

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    I've added a link to my answer on genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/6821/1006 to include Judy G. Russell's post on shirt-tail relatives so the question could be closed as a duplicate of that question. That may be the most appropriate response. But I could make a case for "unclear what you're asking" because we don't know what "are they my family" means to the person asking the question. Are they asking us for permission to include them in their family tree, or a reason to exclude them? Or what? That's not our determination to make.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 18:56
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    @JanMurphy I agree, I think I'd have VtC'd on the basis of 'unclear what you're asking' in the hope that they then edited and clarified the question. I probably still wouldn't have voted to reopen (based on the discussion in comments), but at least by then we'd have been clear on exactly why it was off-topic for this site! ;-) Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 0:20

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