An exchange below Has the patent process been patented? about a close vote goes something like:

"...voting to close "because it belongs on..." is generally not a valid close reason in Stack Exchange.

Of course it is; I do it all the time.

What if you're wrong?

I don't care.

What if there's a move to migrate it and it's rejected?

That's fine; it happens.

Usually the OP decides where to ask, and the community decides only if it is on-topic where it's asked.


I'm the double-block quoted individual and I think my understanding of how SE works is correct on all counts. For close votes we vote based on on-topicality locally. Only the OP decides where to ask, the community decides if it's on-topic or not.

While advice can be also offered where it might be better asked, that doesn't constitute a close reason by itself.

And only moderators decide if, when and how migration actually happens.

If I"m not mistaken this is how SE sites work throughout the whole network.


  1. Are things done differently here? Is "close because it belongs on" a valid close reason, or must a question be shown to be off-topic to close as off-topic?
  2. Is my question about the patenting process off-topic here?

Potentially relevant: Could the scope of Law accommodate the full scope of Ask Patents?

  • What you describe is definitely how every other SE site I've ever seriously participated on has worked. Not answering because I'm not sure if Law is somehow different...
    – Kevin
    Sep 29, 2020 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


We are a democracy

That means, whatever reason you have for voting to close, or reopen, or up, or down is entirely a matter for you.

There are a number of canned reasons but these are shortcuts for the all-encompassing "Other". If you believe that the question fits better with another site then you vote that way. If you leave a comment the OP can take your advice or not; that's their choice.

All users can vote for it to move to meta and back.

Mods can move it to any site in the network. I do it as do other mods; sometimes on my own and sometimes because someone else has suggested it. The most common destinations are Politics, Patents and Expatriates. If the people on those other sites don't think they fit there then they can vote to close on that site too.

  • 2
    Thank you for your answer. I've heard SE communities compared to democracies before I'm sure, but I never understand how that works; five users can deny fifty thousand from an opportunity to post an answer (on a given question), and five more can then let them again. I'm just interested in the origin of the notion that an SE community operates as a democracy. I like the way SE works, but in general SE users exercise remarkable amount of caution and usually feel a greater sense of responsibility than voters do in the democracies I know because of this sensitivity to small numbers.
    – uhoh
    Sep 24, 2020 at 20:32
  • 1
    @uhoh Well, a democracy doesn't have to be a direct democracy. I suppose the open/close system is something more like a lightly-trained (minimal rep requirements) government bureaucracy that can dynamically expand to approximate a popular vote. Basically we collectively let the bureaucrats sort out the open/close nonsense, but at any moment we can, collectively and at least in principle, force this into a larger vote whenever the bureaucrats make a controversial decision. Since we're on Law, it's sort of like appealing for an en banc hearing, only nestable. Sep 28, 2020 at 8:54
  • @zibadawatimmy I've seen several of your comments around SE and they usually make me stop and think, and this one is no exception. I'm not sure I can accept this one yet though. Five close votes in Stack Exchange is more like leaving the government office building's front door open to pedestrian traffic, and random people on their way to the liquor store stopping by to make a bit of policy.
    – uhoh
    Sep 29, 2020 at 23:12
  • Doesn't the existence of mods who are able to override the procedure mean we're not a democracy? Oct 25, 2020 at 1:34
  • @Studoku not at all. I live in Australia which means I can vote for MPs (state and federal) and Councillors - I can’t vote in parliament or at council meetings.
    – Dale M Mod
    Oct 25, 2020 at 2:57

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