Andrew Barber keeps unhelpfully closing valid questions

The current story is some observation by multiple Trusted Users about Andrew Barber‘s closure pattern on Stack Overflow.

While the name does not really matter, it is still mentioned as some people seem to complain if they do not see concrete data.

Let us see two posts from the near past that he closed with his moderator binding votes out of his expertise area (!) based on the Stack Overflow track record, at least.


First of all, the other thread had very poor answers. Secondly, the OP over there had been inactive, so it is unlikely that he would accept new answers to get the best new answer to the top. Thirdly, the OP in this new question is the top one asker in the Qt tag.

Yet, Andrew Barber, who has no any Qt track record (!), decided to know better what he is doing in the Qt tag.  Then, the top one answerer for the time being also got into this thread to agree with the top one asker. Unfortunately, we cannot show that comment anymore as it was removed by some moderator. Guess whom? No, actually, do not guess. It does not matter who exactly did that after all.

Either way, we do have Andrew Barber’s response in the comment section, which was also removed:

@lpapp If you think so, and since you’ve used your Mjolnir to back that up, I won’t do anything further here. –  Andrew Barber♦

There are many other cases, but I will not waste your time too much with those. I will only show another example that was happening this week:

andrew-barber-2Again, this was done on an extremely good question which is so rare on Stack Overflow these days due to the obvious decline in moderation. The most active top answerer in the tag expressed his disagreement with Andrew. We have captured these comments with a screenshot before they get removed:

andrew-barber-3As you can read, he claims that “it was likely a simple mistake“. Unfortunately, it seems to be a continuously repeating pattern rather than a simple mistake. We have just shown two cases, but there are more to it. It is not “a” simple mistake. It is a series of those.

Even then, why is the top contributor accused to be “a bit out of proportion” with the reaction of saving a valid question? These closures are unreasonable. In this special case, it would have made the OP locked out from getting further help along with, possibly many, future readers.

To be fair, Andrew Barber is still one of the moderators who at least apologizes for his mistakes unlike some other moderators. That is not to mean that he ought to carry on with repeating this type of irritating mistake. It would be nice to see this changed.

Edit: Andrew Barber seems to have now blocked some of the top contributors on twitter after noticing this post. Even Omar took his words in the comments below back in private on IRC. Yet, Andrew Barber keeps talking about out of proportion. None of the contributors called them abusive and what not; none of the contributors blocked any of them and they speak about out of proportion.

We will continue analyzing moderator behavior patterns in the future on this blog. We will come up with the next moderator in action soon. Stay tuned!


One thought on “Andrew Barber keeps unhelpfully closing valid questions

  1. Omar

    Unlike other moderators, Andrew is modest. Other moderators would argue to prove you wrong, while Andrew just confessed and apologized for such a mistake. Kudos to Andrew!

    The main issue on SO is that 20% of tags generate 80% of traffic. What about the 80% of tags? Even if they generate low traffic? Those tags have low moderation activity by moderators. Instead, Trusted Users (20k rep) who experienced with such tags do the job on behalf of SE assigned moderators. However, with the privileges they have, they still lack power to perform effective moderation.

    Why doesn’t SO provide experienced users with more power? By this, SO will win such users and make sure that low traffic tags are well moderated.



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