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Especially for some of the less frequented tags, such as , it can take a long time till a question is closed as duplicate. (For example, How to load a series of files into MATLAB matrix via loop has been up for closing for over a week.)

Given that gold and silver tag badges usually mean that a user has spent quite a bit of time answering questions, user with these badges are also more likely to remember the duplicates, which may have a non-intuitive title, and thus not show up in the automated search.

I suggest to give the more (e.g. 2-3x for gold, and 2x for silver) weight to gold and/or silver tag badges for close-as-duplicate votes (of a question with that tag, obviously), to make the duplicate questions disappear more quickly.

NOTE Three years later, a similar suggestion was very positively received (see link to duplicate)

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marked as duplicate by doppelgreener, ɥʇǝS, Aziz Shaikh, Emrakul, Kobi May 13 at 6:28

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Rather than go through all that to change the voting procedures, if the question is stagnating and a reasonable amount of time has passed, flag it for a moderator to look at. –  jonsca Aug 20 '11 at 3:58
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We've already made close votes stick around based on the number of views rather than a particular period of time. This should help to solve the problem of questions in less-active tags not getting closed. I don't think adding the complexity is worth it, but it's not a bad suggestion I suppose. –  Cody Gray Aug 20 '11 at 4:00
    
Bizarre this original got downvoted but the dupe was adored and implemented. Have a +1 for your struggles :) –  mhlester May 23 at 17:46
    
+1. The site owners are quite conservative, sadly. Good ideas are so often torpedoed and then brought back by them quite a while later when they realize they would be wrong. –  lpapp Jun 28 at 21:40

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Time passes more slowly in low-view tag areas.

  • Questions are closed more slowly.
  • Questions are answered more slowly.

Closing is a significant operation that without the intervention of a moderator does and should continue to require the cooperation of five different users with vote to close privilege. Changing the rules would allow many questions in high-view tag areas to be closed by only two users leading to a significant decrease in perception of community consensus.

Recent changes allow close votes not to expire too quickly in low-view tag areas. Give those changes time to work.

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I agree that the issue of the high-view tags would lead to an additional layer of complexity in the definition of the rule (i.e. it would have to only apply to low-view tags), and might thus make it prohibitively impractical. Nevertheless, the issue of open duplicate questions in low-view tags persists, and it certainly doesn't help in making these subject areas more attractive. –  Jonas Aug 21 '11 at 2:00

There are two assumptions that are, IMO, not correct:

  • Users with a silver/gold tag badge has spent quite a bit of time answering questions
  • There is a relation between the tag badges users have, and their ability to find duplicates

Users with a silver/gold badge have just a high score for answers to questions tagged with that tag. That doesn't mean they have spent more time answering questions; it means they got more votes for questions using that tag.
The fact a user has a silver tag badge doesn't mean the user is able to find more duplicate questions, or that the user is always correct when voting to close duplicate questions. A duplicate question then doesn't necessarily use the correct tags; using your example, a user with a silver badge for would have more weight in voting to close a question that is erroneously using .

The other point I would make is that voting to close a question doesn't mean to be the user who found the duplicate question. If I notice that a question has already a vote to be closed as duplicate, I just compare the new question with the old question, and decide if the new question is really a duplicate; at the point, having a silver tag badge or not having it doesn't have any difference: My vote to close the question is as valid as the vote casted from who has a silver tag badge.

The general rule is that, eventually, more importance is given to actions done from users with higher reputation, not to users with a specific badge.

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Well, technically you have to have 80 or 200 answers in the tag to get silver/gold, which takes a bit of time (especially if you're earning 1000 upvotes for them). I assume when writing 200 answers for a tag, you'll get a feel for what questions are commonly asked. –  Troyen Aug 20 '11 at 4:45
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@Troyen: I agree. I think the most important point here is that questions are often mistagged. You might be an expert in matlab, but that doesn't mean you're an expert on duplicate questions, or that you're an expert on questions that have been erroneously tagged [matlab]. –  Cody Gray Aug 20 '11 at 5:01
    
@Troyen There are users who answered 200 questions, but don't have a silver tag badge simply because those 200 questions are not using the same tag; such users could even have, from those answers, a score higher than the score required for a silver tag badge too. Having a silver tag badge, then, doesn't mean to always be right about voting to close a duplicate question. –  kiamlaluno Aug 20 '11 at 5:04
    
@kiamlaluno I was just disagreeing with your first bullet point "Users with a silver/gold tag badge has spent quite a bit of time answering questions is an incorrect assumption." Given how rarely they are awarded and the requirements involved, I do think it takes a lot of time answering questions to get a tag badge. Now whether time spent answering questions should translate to stronger closing privileges I'm not so sure. –  Troyen Aug 20 '11 at 5:07
    
@Troyen Having a tag badge is more a measure of how many votes you got on questions with a specific tag, than the measure of how much time you took answering questions, IMO. –  kiamlaluno Aug 20 '11 at 5:55
    
@kiamlaluno: The top ten users in the matlab tag get, on average, three upvotes per question (for c# it seems you get about four). This means that they've answered more than 300 questions to get a gold badge. If they at least remember their own answers, will have a pretty good knowledge of the kind of questions that have been asked before. –  Jonas Aug 21 '11 at 2:09
    
@Cody Gray: Maybe it isn't clear from my OP, but the higher vote weight would only apply to questions to which you have the specific gold badge, and it would only apply to duplicates. Note that if the question was mis-tagged as [matlab] and is, in fact, about something totally different, I'll have a hard time remembering possible duplicates. –  Jonas Aug 21 '11 at 2:11
    
@Jonas I could have read all the questions tagged matlab and answered none of them; does this mean I would not be able to find duplicates just for the fact I don't have a silver tag badge? –  kiamlaluno Aug 21 '11 at 2:16
    
@kiamlaluno: Of course it is possible that you may be good at finding duplicates if you have never answered a question. However, if you randomly pick two users, one from the set of the silver tag badges, and one from the set of those who do not have a silver tag badge for the subject, who do you think is more likely to remember that there has been a similar question before? –  Jonas Aug 21 '11 at 2:23
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@Jonas There is no relationship between having a silver tag badge and understanding if questions are duplicates. Take the case a user notices there is a question that has been voted to be closed as duplicate; he compares the new question with the old question, and decide they are duplicates. Do you think that his vote to close the question should have more weight than my vote just because the tag badge? If I were the first one to vote to close the question, then I would have searched for the duplicate, and the other user would just confirm I am right. In which way his vote is more important? –  kiamlaluno Aug 21 '11 at 2:42

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