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When looking at the flag tools, I very often see that most questions are flagged as being duplicates of X. I’m often unsure what to do with them, so I usually leave them alone.

But what should be done with them? Usually duplicates should be closed, not flagged – at least that is what I would say given that we have a close reason for duplicates, but no flag reason. Sometimes, when the question is not too old, I might even go to the page, and vote for close to “copy” the flag into the more appropriate close request.

Would that be the correct thing to do? Is there a way to remove the flags then, or should I object the flag after voting close (maybe with a message that I voted for close instead)?

(edit: Same applies to questions being flagged as “not a real question” or “off-topic” where the same close-tag, or even a different one, would make more sense.)

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When looking at the flag tools, I very often see that most questions are flagged as being duplicates of X. I’m often unsure what to do with them, so I usually leave them alone.

The flags for questions that are duplicates are done from users who don't have the privilege of voting to close questions; once you have that privilege, every flag to close a question is converted in a vote to close the question.

This is what I see when I flag a question on Meta Stack Overflow.

screenshot

When I select "it doesn't belong here," I see the following dialog:

screenshot

As you see, that is the dialog to vote for closing a question.

If I do the same in a site where I don't have the privilege to close a question (in my case, on Programmers), what I see is the following dialog (after I chose "it doesn't belong here"):

screenshot

As you see, the title is different, and the button is "Flag Question," not "Vote To Close."

But what should be done with them? Usually duplicates should be closed, not flagged – at least that is what I would say given that we have a close reason for duplicates, but no flag reason. Sometimes, when the question is not too old, I might even go to the page, and vote for close to “copy” the flag into the more appropriate close request.

When you see those flags, you should vote to close the question, if it is really a duplicate; in the case it is not, you should choose "invalid flag."

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So basically when there is a flag for something that would be a closing reason, and I agree with it, I should vote for close; otherwise invalidate the flag. That sounds good to me, thanks :) –  poke Nov 11 '11 at 15:16
    
Yes, that is correct. –  kiamlaluno Nov 11 '11 at 15:18
    
How is it converted to a vote to close a question? I usually see "request moderator attention" flags that state in some way "I think that this is a duplicate of url";. –  Kevin Vermeer Nov 11 '11 at 19:03
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@KevinVermeer That is because you are a moderator, and you see the flags where a custom reason is selected. If the users would choose "it doesn't belong here," and they have the privilege of voting to close, what they should be doing is voting to close, not flagging. –  kiamlaluno Nov 11 '11 at 20:01

You should stop worrying and love dupes. But sometimes it is worth voting to close as dupe.

I will close as dupe when a question

  • is a 100% dupe (I'll close and then merge)
  • is low quality, and the canonical dupe is good
  • is a question that gets asked all the friggen' time
  • does not contain information specific to that user's issue
  • is trivial, or the question is very short
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