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If a question is a clear duplicate but is not accumulating enough close votes (e.g. due to the short list of close nominations), how do we handle these?

  • Flagging for moderator attention?
  • Ignore it and hope they will get closed some day?
  • ... ?
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If you're really bothered flag. However, it worth noting that close votes decay. – ChrisF May 22 '10 at 20:17
When they have decayed the question is most likely forgotten anyway and will stay open unless someone stumbles upon it accidentally. @chr – Georg Fritzsche May 22 '10 at 20:18
Actually I'm now not sure about whether close votes decay. I know flags do - maybe I'm confusing the two. – ChrisF May 22 '10 at 20:22
Close votes decay after one week. Also related: Not a duplicate, but the advice I received is probably similar to what you should do for duplicates – Grace Note May 22 '10 at 20:24
Looks like it, thanks. @cco – Georg Fritzsche May 22 '10 at 20:28
@ccornet - thanks for the confirmation - at least I'm not going senile (yet!) – ChrisF May 22 '10 at 20:55
Close votes decay after 4 days, unless the system has been changed and the FAQ is out of date:… – Jon Seigel May 22 '10 at 21:20
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I can't speak for the "real," appointed moderators (my ♦ is administrative), but here's my take on "handling duplicates" through any means except community moderation.

From the blog post, A Theory of Moderation,

"...what it is, exactly, we expect moderators to do. The short answer is, as little as possible! We intended Stack Overflow and Server Fault to be mostly self-regulating..."

If you see a duplicate post, vote to close it. That's your role. If you feel the reason is too subtle for the average reader to act promptly, leave a comment. If the post still isn't closed, move on. Everyone does not have to agree with your assessment, no matter how sure you are of your convictions.

Flagging for moderator attention is intended to handle egregious problems such as harassment, blatant spam, or illegal content. They are the human exception handlers. Moderators are not your super-vote-by-proxy.

share|improve this answer
Sure, the vast majority is closed when the post is new - but for those where a duplicate is only found/linked after "prime time" - who should happen to close it if it isn't visible in the 10k tools? I don't want to force my vote on the community, my issue is with clear cases that too few people happen to visit. We have a problem in that regard, the volume of the site has grown over the length of the close-vote list. – Georg Fritzsche May 23 '10 at 4:47
@3chars - Okay. I withdraw and have removed my opinion about extending the 10K list. You may be right. It was incidental to my point about the role of Moderator. – Robert Cartaino May 23 '10 at 6:40
Just to add a minor point of clarification; for things like "close as duplicate" I'd largely agree - but if it is for blatant inappropriate content you find on an old post (spam, noise, etc), then flag away! ;p – Marc Gravell May 23 '10 at 8:04
+1 please flag only when necessary :) – Sampson May 23 '10 at 18:41
Surely this can only work where a question in a high traffic tag? Questions in little-visited tags will not be closed, marked as duplicates or moved, especially when all these actions are under the one heading, 'close'. I have seen questions linger for days with no answer and one vote short of moving to an appropriate area; from the above it seems it is the intention of the meta community that they should be ignored. – Remou Dec 16 '11 at 9:25
Here is an example that is going to linger for ever without moderator attention :…, is that what you want, because that is what this answer requires? – Remou Jan 4 '12 at 10:47

Can't really speak for the actual moderators, but on Super User, given

  • the wide range of topics,
  • a large part of the audience being less "strict" than a programming crowd,
  • the motivation to keep the place clean,
  • the fact that questions usually stay on "recent" for more than an hour and can give a wrong idea of what is allowed or not (a wrong question on SO disappears anyway after 15 minutes, to only appears periodically after that),
  • and the fact that there are still not that many 3000+ users (even if it increases)

The word is usually to flag for moderators, when voting is not enough (or when you can't vote). But this is a particular case, I guess, as it goes indeed against the "theory of moderation", that the community runs the site.

Is it good, is it bad? Super User, after months of using up the Diago resource, is finally the site which has (for now) the most "classic" moderation, with 4 very active moderators. In my opinion, it was necessary to keep focus, and clean out wrong questions as fast as possible.

And I think it was actually useful, because thanks to that, I see more and more 1000-2500 users commenting about the FAQ, doing their community job by pointing out when a question should be closed, or what should be changed. So it is quite encouraging for the following, and I think that by its anniversary, the community will be on its tracks, and moderation won't have to be as direct. Moderators will still be needed of course, but the "flagging when voting doesn't work" will probably disappear by then.

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