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So low-rep users could help closing duplicates without flagging. No other close action of course, that would render the rep-requirement useless.

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Why do we want low-rep users to be able to vote to close? – nb69307 Aug 4 '10 at 13:55
@Neil Butterworth: only to help identifying duplicates, not close-voting in general – Tobias Kienzler Aug 4 '10 at 13:56
This is a horrible idea; closing is as bad as it now with the 3k rep requirement. – NullUserException อ_อ Aug 7 '10 at 4:12
There are too many unclosed duplicates; anything that encourages them being found is a +1 from me. (Shame it's too late) – romkyns Aug 14 '10 at 10:54
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I like David's answer, but let's add some mechanical concerns.

There's one fatal flaw in that auto-comments are neither guaranteed nor consistent. If the post already has a comment that links the target question, then no comment will be generated. Furthermore, the auto-comment can be modified by the closer, sometimes to specify additional information. This gets pretty problematic as sometimes we'll link more than one question when the duplicate has been particularly common.

Which means that this is subject to a lot of error. You'll have to basically parse out links in comments that correspond to a duplicate vote, regardless of who wrote them. Consider...

For some extra information on the topic, check out [this related question].

People find that related question useful, they upvote it because it is a useful tangent. One person thought that it was actually a duplicate, though, and casts one vote. Suddenly those upvotes turn from noting a good link to closing the question. People are already furious about incorrect or "spurious" closings from 3k users, let's not amplify this issue.

Another issue is that 3k close voters, if their judgment occurs but they realize they weren't correct, then they can vote to reopen the question. However, comment upvoters lack any capacity to reverse their decision.

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Maybe you should have used the time to shorten it. – Ladybug Killer Aug 4 '10 at 14:39
@Ladybug Argh, I tried this time. I'll fix it at lunch, see what I can cut out. – Grace Note Aug 4 '10 at 14:45
I actually meant only the automatic "possible duplicate: ..." comment created after a first dupe-close-vote to have this special function. But you and David are correct concerning judgement capability and reopen-voting – Tobias Kienzler Aug 4 '10 at 18:03

That would assume that apparent duplicates are in fact duplicates, which isn't always the case.

Whether something is a duplicate is not always obvious. Something that looks like a duplicate may not be (for example, a question about the meaning of i++ + i++ in C++ is not a duplicate of the same question in C#). Something that may not look like a duplicate at first might be one, with different wording on the question. I believe this requires judgment, and hence would like it restricted to higher-rep users.

Further, if I vote to close as a duplicate nowadays, I have to specify the question it duplicates, and the close box shows me that question. I believe this is a good thing, and it won't come up as part of a comment upvote.

Nor do I see an actual problem here. At least on SO, there's plenty of 3K+ users to close duplicates. I don't see duplicate questions staying open all that long. There may be a SF or SU problem, but I'd have to hear from those groups to find one (and this group is MSO, after all).

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@devinb But 3k users actually can reverse their decision when in the wrong, by casting a reopen vote. How would comment upvoters accomplish this? – Grace Note Aug 4 '10 at 14:15
@Grace: Ouch! completely correct! Deleting my comment. – devinb Aug 4 '10 at 14:19
@devinb I'm going to move that into my answer, now, actually, since that's also a mechanical issue. – Grace Note Aug 4 '10 at 14:23

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