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Questions that are not duplicates should not be marked as duplicates. There should be some sort of peer review system. See for what is, it seems, a legitimate answer to what the hallmarks of a duplicate are.

Moderators should spend a couple of seconds, at least, thinking about their decisions.

Here is such an example.

Consider the differences. A "difficulty menu" presumes the question of "Is this hard?". A beginner menu presumes the question of whether the user knows he/she is a beginner. Are those not entirely different questions? In the linked question, I made that explicit-- halfway through, which would not have been obvious after a 5-second perusal.

The key question for me was, if I'm starting out and I can't get my bearings (e.g., I want to place a bunch of items at the bottom of the screen, and it's not working out, but I don't know the key words "autolayout" or "collection view"), how can we make that process easier for noobs.

This was completely misunderstood by the moderators, and evidently most of those who commented.

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Is there an actual question here or is this just a rant? There is a peer review system, this is how close votes work... mods close exceptionally and are elected by the community. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Jun 19 '13 at 0:44
The actual question is in the title. I could have repeated it, but figured that would have been duplicative. – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 0:46
No, that's not really a question, that's more of an accusation. "Why does AMayes like cinnamon rolls?" - see what I just did? – Benjamin Gruenbaum Jun 19 '13 at 0:47
Your question would have more weight if you gave examples of "legitimate questions with no duplicates" that are marked as duplicates. – Keith Thompson Jun 19 '13 at 0:48
I just had a question that was clearly not a duplicate marked as a duplicate. And do you really think suggesting peer review is not something worthy of a survey? – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 0:48
@AMayes Peers reviewing posts is how they are typically closed. If you had a concrete suggestion it would probably be more well-received. – Jeremy Banks Jun 19 '13 at 0:49
@AMayes Would you mind adding a link to that question in this question? As for closing, this is how closing is done for the most part. You can always flag a post for moderator attention if you do not agree with a close. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Jun 19 '13 at 0:49
@AMayes: So you had one single question closed as duplicate that you don't agree with and you post it as a general problem on Stack Overflow? – juergen d Jun 19 '13 at 0:50
Well... that's random for you. -_- – Jeremy Banks Jun 19 '13 at 0:50
The flagging mechanism is not clear to me-- if I flag a question, what am I actually doing? I don't have the option, that I know of, for flagging a moderator decision-- and I've been using this site for three years. – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 0:51
@AMayes If you use the Flag option on any post, you may select the "other" option and explain why you think the closure was inappropriate. If you are objecting to a particular moderator action, the policy is that a different moderator will review your flag. – Jeremy Banks Jun 19 '13 at 0:52
Lesson learned: never talk back to a moderator. – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 1:01
There is a difference between talking back and being so vague you have glaucoma – random Jun 19 '13 at 1:03
After reading this post, the original question, and the proposed duplicate, it looks like the moderation system is working as intended. – Dour High Arch Jun 19 '13 at 1:09
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Questions that are not duplicates are not marked as duplicates. There is a voting system and a review system in place to ensure this process isn't a Monarchy but a Democracy. If you feel a question was wrongly marked, you can appeal the process and have it reviewed.

Also, you can go back to the question and make sure you have clarified your question as much as possible. If you feel it's being wrongly compared to another question, feel free to put a "contrast clause" in your question and explain why it's different from other similar questions. Links to those questions are also a good idea so they can be easily distinguished.

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This isn't strictly true, since sometimes "duplicates" are reopened (even without rewording)... – hayd Jun 19 '13 at 1:38

First, there is a peer review system. It takes 5 votes from ordinary users to mark a question as a duplicate. FIVE. (Alternatively, a diamond can cast a single binding vote, but this can be overturned just like ordinary 5-people votes can.) Any one person can vote to re-open, which puts the question into a review queue where more people can vote to re-open it - 5 votes and it is open again.

Second, if your question was closed as a duplicate and you think it is not, edit it to make this distinction more obvious. This does not mean to add a sentence simply stating it is not a duplicate. Add details that distinsguish the question from the duplicate. Reviewers can then easily vote to re-open the question.

Third, a closed question is not thrown away. When a question is closed as a duplicate it typically sticks around to help other people find their way to the "master" question. You might be interested in this answer of mine: Why are questions closed as duplicates if you could have never found them without knowing the answer? for more on my thoughts around closing as dupe. It's a gift to you, not a slap in the face. Truly it is. Asking moderators not to do it is, well, odd.

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It wasn't closed, it was tagged. It bothers me that @random, a moderator, would, within seconds of a 500+ word question being posted, mark it as a duplicate. – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 0:56
It was closed as a duplicate. The site puts [duplicate] on such questions because [closed] was offending people. I see it didn't help. – Kate Gregory Jun 19 '13 at 0:57
Nope. It's a pretty lame mechanism, if the moderators don't think about it first, but have the ability to close a question. – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 1:00
@AMayes I don't know why you think there should be a time mechanism. I can determine that something is a duplicate in just a few seconds - and a moderator who spends far more time on the site is probably as fast as me or faster. All that's required is being familiar with what is already on the site. – Kate Gregory Jun 19 '13 at 1:24
@AMayes You've asserted that the moderators don't think before they mark a question as a duplicate, both here and on your original question. a) Even if it were true in the instance you experienced, claiming that this alone is symptomatic of a widespread problem is a gross generalisation, b) The mod did nothing wrong as far as your question was concerned. The question marked as a duplicate is a duplicate. – Asad Saeeduddin Jun 19 '13 at 1:31
and not just "ordinary users" either but ones with over 3k rep :) – hayd Jun 19 '13 at 1:33
@Asad You are wrong. – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 1:33
@AMayes Glad you set me straight, don't know what I was thinking. – Asad Saeeduddin Jun 19 '13 at 1:35
@Asad I try, man, but sometimes it's hard. I hope that my ensuing edits clarify what I meant by that. – AMayes Jun 19 '13 at 1:42

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