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Normally it takes five 3K+ users to close out a question for whatever reason they choose. Or in the case of a race to the finish line, a sixth car will ghost past the checkered flag.

If a moderator steps in, they have the power to close with their lone vote, no matter however many have come before. None even.

But how does it happen when one user closes a question when the closer is not a moderator?

Case to the jury: How to force PHP to use UTF-8 charset

How does something like that happen?

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up down up down left right left right b a b a select start. That's how it happens. – Eric Sep 6 '09 at 4:53
up vote 27 down vote accepted

Back in November of '08, it only took a single user (with at or above 3K reputation) to close a question. And users with considerably less reputation could close their own questions.

The "vote to close" system we all know and, uh, love... came later (December '08, AFAIK).

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