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I had a question from more than a year ago (Aug 2011) here, which was upvoted 5 times and favourite twice. There exists a high quality (+12) and accepted answer on this question.

In the last couple of days, it has received another random upvote (I assume another reader must have had the same question, found mine, and upvoted it), and then shortly after that it was closed as "exact duplicate" by five low-reputation members. By low rep I mean that a few of them only just barely above the 3000 rep required to cast close votes, and each of them is below the 10k required to see it in the closure queue using the 10k tools.

It wouldn't bother me having a question closed as duplicate normally but in this case the "exact duplicate" is a quite different (but similar sounding) question, really - it's about returning values from other threads not necessarily about the "return value" of the thread target. The accepted answer on my question contains useful information for future readers which is not present in the alleged duplicate.

How does this happen? Did the upvote place it in some sort of recent activity area where it received increased visibility, and then one close vote snowballed? I know that when I first gained the privilege at 3000 rep, the first thing I did was cruise along looking for a crappy question to try and close, just to "test out" my new powers! :) But I can see this becoming a problem in future - with the increased popularity of SO, we can get arbitrarily many members eager to close something whilst the number of close votes needed remains fixed at 5.

I have left a comment and voted to reopen the question, is this an appropriate and sufficient course of action or should I also flag it for moderator attention?

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Just because they have "low" rep doesn't make them unworthy of closing questions. –  simchona Nov 27 '12 at 7:20
    
No, the initial close vote placed it in the Close Votes review queue, where it then snowballed. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 27 '12 at 7:21
    
I thought the close votes review queue was only visible to people with the 10k tools, which is not any one of the voters who closed this question. –  wim Nov 27 '12 at 7:23
    
@wim: Really? Hmmm. I have no idea then. All I know is that I recognize many of the close voters for generally being careless with their close votes. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 27 '12 at 7:24
    
@simchona I'm not saying that. –  wim Nov 27 '12 at 7:24
    
Sorry, it sounded like you had because you made sure to differentiate them as "low rep". It sounded a bit like "I have high rep so how dare they" –  simchona Nov 27 '12 at 7:26
    
Not at all. I have been helped many times on SO, by members with much lower rep than my own. I will edit the question to better reflect what I meant in that bit. –  wim Nov 27 '12 at 7:27
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Just as a info: the close votes review queue in /review is open for anyone with >=3000 rep. –  Ral Zarek Nov 27 '12 at 7:50
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Now the question has been closed again by just one ♦ level moderator (and it looks like he's not really a python guy, so may have also missed the subtleties of the return value vs returning values). I assume the moderators know what they're doing, but what's the point of closing a perfectly fine old question with a well-written and helpful accepted answer? I feel strongly that anyone who takes the time to read them both carefully enough will agree it's not an exact duplicate. –  wim Nov 28 '12 at 23:44

2 Answers 2

Maybe an old question with lots of up votes should not be put in the close vote queue when it gets its first close vote. It has lived for a long time; therefore I can’t see why it is important to get it closed quickly.

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Thank you for bringing this question here constructively, without pointing fingers or creating a "meta rant". It looks like 4 other users agreed that your question wasn't a duplicate and reopened your post.

This is a good example of how to approach the meta community for help when you think something has gone awry.

In many cases, the crowdsourcing nature of Stack Exchange works great, as many low quality and off-topic questions are quickly closed. However, there are occasionally "mistakes", or even just questions that need a bit of editing before being reopened and released into the world.

Your result here on meta proves that the system works! :)

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No, it does not show that the system works. If anything this shows that you must bring unfair closures to Meta to get the post reopened and that is not how the system is supposed to work in my opinion. –  Emil Vikström Nov 27 '12 at 16:06
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@EmilVikström, you're right. They goal should be to minimize the likelihood that a question is incorrectly closed. But I think what jmort253 is getting at is also right. Given that any system with qualitative judgement will sometimes go awry, this is a good example of that system failure being raised constructively and then being remedied, which is also desirable. –  Jaydles Nov 27 '12 at 16:33
    
Hi @EmilVikström, regarding my point, Jaydles hit the nail on the head. Most questions that are closed are not closed incorrectly. A closure such as the one here is an exceptional circumstance, and for exceptional circumstances, we have Meta. –  jmort253 Nov 28 '12 at 2:33

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