Since the changes to the close as duplicate mechanism it is a lot more visible to the OP that there is/might be a duplicate to their question. Empirically, I've noticed a lot more people agreeing, in the comments under their question, that their question is a dupe.

For instance, here:


I'm aware that allowing a binding close vote is (back in the stone age) but now Stack Exchange is so much larger, and Stack Overflow is groaning under the weight of questions, I think this should be partially revisited.

Based on the principle that the simplest way to keep a site clean is to have as many people as possible nibbling away, I propose that the OP gets granted a binding close-as-duplicate vote.

It should simply be an additional line in the banner, which is shown only to the question asker. It might be something like this:

This question may already have an answer here:
  "Allow question askers to close their own questions unilaterally" 3 answers
  Does this fully answer your question? Yes / No

I'm not wedded to the Yes / No thing I just can't think of a better way at the moment.

Clicking on Yes would take the OP to the close as duplicate dialogue with that question highlighted. If there are multiple duplicate questions you'd need to ask the OP multiple times. A No could be used to track the relative success of the project, i.e.

  1. Whether the question subsequently gets closed.
  2. Whether the question gets reopened again.
  3. How many times the OP actually clicks.
  4. How many times the OP disagrees with the analysis of the community.

Potentially, a No could be used to open a comment dialogue asking the OP to explain why they think their question is not a duplicate thereby stopping them simply putting "this is not a duplicate" in the question and formalising this process somewhat. Not sure about this idea...

I do not think this should be restricted by reputation, anyone should be able to close their own question as a duplicate. It gives people with lower reputation a more positive experience of the closing process and emphasises the importance of duplicate finding.

Most importantly, self-closes should not, initially, count towards the question ban. We can help new users learn how to use a lot more of the site than they might otherwise see and encourage them to search for duplicates more thoroughly. If the OP then goes on to do the same thing 10 times in a row then you can start using it toward the ban as they're obviously using the users as a personalised search service but at least the first 3-4 times this should not have any effect.

This question is, deliberately, only requesting 20% of the linked question (from 2009) and then only based on the new UI. The linked question asks for binding migration votes etc, which I do not want to see and I am not requesting a binding close-as-duplicate for the OP until someone else has already voted to close (though I think if the OP has 3k rep this might be allowable). This, I hope, addresses the concern's raised in the linked question and explains why this is not a duplicate of that question.

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    You only get one close vote on a question @gnat, so I don't think this would be possible under the current system. Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 17:08
  • that sounds about... perfect. Your suggestion seems to blend into the system really smoothly. Consider editing it to clarify this nuance
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 17:19
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    Couldn't agree more. There's a question of mine which should be closed as duplicate. I've voted for it myself but it's not had enough traffic to get it closed. Most of the problems with close/dupe come from when the OP disagrees. If the OP believes it's a dupe, there shouldn't be any need for debate. It doesn't stop it being deleted/flagged if it's low quality.
    – Basic
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 23:20
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    See also Increase close vote weight for gold tag badge holders.
    – user163250
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 19:28
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    +1 we already trust people with gold badges to "dupehammer" a question in just one vote, so why not also trust the person who asked the question to judge if a dupe matches their intentions? Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 12:29

3 Answers 3


On the surface, the only danger here is if the OP makes a mistake when making the duplicate/not duplicate decision, but is it really a serious danger?

If the OP clicks No (regardless of whether it actually isn't or is a duplicate), then nothing happens. They can before forced to leave a comment explaining why, but it won't remove the question from the review queue so other 3K member can come along and close it anyway if it really is a duplicate. No harm done at all and no deviation from current procedures except the OP is required to explain why it isn't duplicate.

Frankly, I doubt the OP is actually going to click Yes to close as a duplicate without looking, and especially without being 100% sure the question is answered in the other post. Sure maybe a bad close decision could be made, but just like regular closures, they can be undone. Most likely wrongly closed scenario is the OP thinks it solves his/her problem, clicks Yes, then tries a couple of the solutions and realizes it doesn't actually solve the problem. This could be resolved by giving the OP a binding "not a duplicate" vote on their on own questions only when they used their binding vote to close as a duplicate initially (Not sure I love this idea since it could potentially lead to the OP having a close war with him/herself, but would the resolve the issue with the OP accidentally closing as duplicate - if it were implemented it would need to take this situation into consideration). For questions that they didn't close themselves would be handled just like any other duplicate.

I think the idea is worth discussing because it will give the OP, especially lower rep OP's, some feeling of control on the fate of their questions, and should help improve the user experience.

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    +1 for "some feeling of control on the fate". Realizing it was a duplicate and marking it themselves would feel a lot better to new users than having it closed by others. It gives a feeling of process ownership. Also, sometimes I'll point out a duplicate, and the OP will respond with "Oh, I didn't see that. Thanks!" in a comment, yet it still needs 3 or 4 more votes to close. Sure, they could delete it at that point, but most don't. A simple option to close might be taken up more often.
    – Geobits
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 12:42
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    If the OP casts a binding reopen to counter their binding close, would the system still keep however many other close votes the question had?
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 16:19
  • @cpast Like I said, I'm not in love with the idea of the binding reopen. I was mentioning it for the sake of adding it to the discussion, but if it were implemented and were technically feasible, I think maintaining the other close votes would be the proper approach. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 16:21

To add to psubsee2003's remark that askers like to have a feeling of control over their question, this also benefits the community. Often, when askers who are new to Stack Exchange agree that their question is a duplicate, they believe that they should delete their question. As long as the question has no answers (or a single answer with no upvote), the asker can delete the question without anybody noticing. But as a rule we prefer to keep duplicates around as search fodder, so we don't want them to delete their question. If we give askers an obvious way to resolve the situation (closing as duplicate), they are less likely to resolve the situation in a way we don't want (deletion).

  • +1, example: I just asked a question because I couldn't find anything using the search term "word boundary". A user pointed me to a perfect 1:1 dupe that happened to use the synonymous term "word break". I want to close my question as a dupe - not delete it - so that people searching on "word boundary" will be directed to the "word break" question. I'm sure it will get closed eventually, but surely the asker is just as able to confirm that their own question is a dupe as, say, a dupehammer-wielder? And why not save the community some work? Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 12:26

We should not do this.

The OP will not always know if their question is a duplicate, and will often be mistaken. There are many reasons why this can happen. Often they won't know for the same reason they don't know the answer and had to ask the question--they may not know enough about the subject matter that they're asking about. And even if they do, many askers are new to the site and don't know exactly what it means for a question to be closed as a duplicate. They might agree to close it if a link in a side point in an answer solved their problem. They might agree to close it if at first it seems it solved their problem. They would probably agree to close it if they find a workaround for their specific situation that doesn't help most people who would find their question useful.

And that illuminates an even more important reason why this is a bad idea--questions are not just, or even primarily, for the one person who asked them. They, and their answers, are for the whole community. Even if it meets the needs of the OP for their question to be duped, doesn't mean it meets the needs of others who genuinely have the same problem or question.

This may seem like it would empower askers, and in a sense it would, but the primary effect of their new "power" would be that many users would focus their energies on closing questions by convincing OP's to assent to closing them. Some would be reasonably nice about it. Many would not.

If something like this were implemented, a new review queue for it would have to be set up, to fix all the problems (which would include self-vandalism, but would consist mainly of people who unthinkingly click to close their question in response to someone's comment asserting that it ought to be closed, or who fixed their problem and want the question closed but haven't actually looked at the proposed duplicate at all). Who would have access to that queue? The people who can vote to close and reopen questions, of course. And this would occupy time and energy that would otherwise likely go to actually reviewing close votes. In order to fix all the damage caused by this feature, we'd end up having an even greater shortage in close voters!

This meta question itself even expresses the intuition that an OP shouldn't make this sort of decision alone. Should the OP be able to reopen their question alone? Even if other people closed it? Should they be able to prevent their question from being closed? The wording of this question strongly implies that we should not let them do that, even though for some reason we should trust them to close their questions.

The problem of questions not being closed fast enough--if that is really even an ongoing problem at all--cannot reasonably be solved by a measure that would close lots of questions at the price of closing many wrongly. It may be reasonable to give OP's one actual close vote irrespective of their reputation, but they should not have the same closing power as a moderator, even on their own questions.

  • To address as many of your points as possible 1) "often be mistaken" is almost definitely taking it too far. 2) I've deliberately taken out most meaning of the close-as-duplicate. 3) someone else has already voted to close. It's not just down to the OP. 4) Flag comments trying to convince the OP. This behaviour is unacceptable as are other comments. There are already mechanisms in place and this pressure doesn't currently happen. 5) You can't unthinkingly click, it opens up the close dialogue so you've got to click twice. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 9:18
  • 6) If someone closes as a duplicate without looking at it then there's not much we can do. There is only a certain amount of stupidity you can guard against. Closing brings no positive benefits to the OP it doesn't prevent downvotes for example so this argument doesn't really hold water Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 9:20
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    7) You have absolutely no evidence for many of your assertions that many questions would be closed incorrectly. As I state in my request it's trivial to implement basic tracking mechanisms on how effective this is being. Suppositions don't an argument make and something that might benefit the site (not saying this is one of those things) should not be stopped based on them alone. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 9:21
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    @benisuǝqbackwards For something you assert isn't an argument, you've managed to muster quite a few counterpoints! Why are my suppositions less valuable than yours? You haven't presented any better evidence. I have trouble seeing how any of your points really take much weight away from my argument. No all bad comments are flagged. And it's not so bad because the OP would only have the equivalent of 4 close votes instead of 5? Yes, that's less bad than it could be. The first mechanism we have to prevent problems with a feature is to discuss proposals here first, which is what I am doing. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 9:27
  • "5) You can't unthinkingly click, it opens up the close dialogue so you've got to click twice." You mean like an iTunes license agreement? "There's a fail-safe built in." Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 9:32
  • Obviously not all of your answer isn't an argument. I wrote that you've made a number of unverifiable assertions, for instance "cannot reasonably be solved by a measure that would close lots of questions at the price of closing many wrongly". I'm not certain either of us can provide evidence in either direction on this particular point so I have refrained from doing so. I could argue the opposite I guess (and appear do be doing so here) but it doesn't mean anything. The data is something only SE has access to. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 9:37
  • It's exactly the same as accepting an answer. OP may accept an answer not as useful to others. OP may accept a wrong answer. etc.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 18:07
  • @djechlin Accepts exist for the sole purpose of informing people of what the OP thought about an answer. That has nothing to do with why we close questions. So question closure and answer acceptance are not similar at all. Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 17:44
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    @EliahKagan And OP should be able to close own question as duplicate for the sole purpose of informing people of what the OP thought about a linked answer. This has nothing to do with why we close questions, for reasons other than duplicate. Duplicates are more like valid questions that have linked answers than other closed questions.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 18:34
  • @djechlin Maybe you misunderstand me, or maybe we just disagree about what's important. Duping questions, and the duplicate banners that get displayed, have a different purpose than telling people what the OP thought. Acceptances are always about conveying what the OP thought; closing questions as duplicates is currently hardly ever about that, and could not plausibly ever be solely about that. Here's another idea: How about giving OPs binding dupe votes just over questions with no upvoted answers, and displaying a special duplicate banner such as "so-and-so considers this solved by ...". Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 22:09

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