We've already had people ask if they can decline the ability that comes with a gold tag badge to insta-close-as-dupe questions in their tags. I did this by accident today myself.

On reflection, I decided not to reopen, and my asker thanked me for finding the dupe, so that question is staying closed. But I think it would be nice to remind us as we do this that our word will be law.

Here's what it looks like if I pretend to close a question tagged :

dupe closing

Now after I've used my powers, I and everyone else can see:

post closing

Maybe a small gold dot on or near the final button that we click after entering the possible duplicate?


  • 30
    If we do this, the reopen button should be marked as well. In the reopen queue too. May 14, 2014 at 17:42
  • 24
    Just a little styling on the button should suffice
    – mhlester
    May 14, 2014 at 17:52
  • 17
    Why are we making distinctions between a binding vote to close and a 1 of 5? Isn't a dupe a dupe?
    – user102937
    May 14, 2014 at 18:42
  • 4
  • 4
    I think over time I will not be startled when I get immediate gratification. But whether it's "don't be alarmed, this is going to work for you on the spot" or "remember, you are marvelous and have superpowers" I think a little dot on the button would be good May 14, 2014 at 18:43
  • 8
    Kate Gregory ♦ --
    – user102937
    May 14, 2014 at 18:45
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey eh? May 14, 2014 at 18:47
  • I guess you didn't notice the little diamond next to your name. Nor do I when I apply my binding vote on Stack Overflow. It should only startle the first time.
    – user102937
    May 14, 2014 at 18:47
  • 1
    Before I click Vote to Close I don't see my name, or any indication of my specialness (just went and started to close a random discussion question to confirm.) Afterwards, when I was startled to see it insta-close, yes, there was a gold badge symbol. I just want it a little earlier in the flow. It's rather a special case that only dupes, and only those with certain tags, behave this way. May 14, 2014 at 18:55
  • 21
    @RobertHarvey it is worth taking into account that as opposed to permanent diamond powers, dupehammer kicks in by a condition that isn't very obvious. It's not reasonable to expect one to always carefully inspect tags of the question (to learn whether there's one they have gold badge or not), so from user perspective this feature turns on and off rather unexpectedly
    – gnat
    May 14, 2014 at 19:38
  • @KateGregory: That's fair enough. You get a little symbol next to your name when you insta-close?
    – user102937
    May 14, 2014 at 19:40
  • 6
    I like the simplicity of the gold icon. It conveys a message without being intrusive.
    – Travis J
    May 14, 2014 at 19:57
  • 2
    From the implementation side of this, it could be a pain to display this icon. Perhaps just a note in the privileges page would suffice. Users will adapt to it once they have used it enough times.
    – Travis J
    May 14, 2014 at 20:02
  • 16
    That button should no longer be called "Vote to close" if you can wield the dupehammer. It should simply be labelled "Close", because that's what it does.
    – stakx
    Jun 22, 2014 at 16:33
  • 2
    It isn't quite equivalent, but there's a StackApps script that provides reasonably similar functionality.
    – E.P.
    Jan 18, 2018 at 17:00

5 Answers 5


If the button says "Vote To Close" when you have super powers, the text is actively misleading. The action is not a vote action, it is a close action. The button should say "Close". That is, I think UX considerations suggest the button should not have its current label.

Shog9, in his answer, says he does not want the two modes distinguished, as voters should not be unsure about whether a post should be closed when they vote to close. That could be achieved by labelling the button "Close" in both modes.

  • It is still a vote, where you nominate the master question
    – random
    May 16, 2014 at 3:40
  • 4
    This happens throughout the site - deleting my own comment is voting to delete it, but only one vote is needed - so I don't mind that. If I knew my vote was the only one needed I wouldn't be surprised when it happened. May 16, 2014 at 13:16
  • 5
    @KateGregory Yes, and exactly for this reason it asks Delete this post? on your own posts, and Vote to delete this post? (19 votes remaining) on other posts. Therefore I'm for the idea of Vote to Close vs Close button. +1
    – yo'
    May 17, 2014 at 16:22
  • 2
    @KateGregory, keep in mind that with the power to insta-close one of these questions, you also have the power to insta-reopen. If you ever do feel you've acted in haste, simply go undo the operation.
    – jmort253
    May 18, 2014 at 1:56
  • 1
    I know. I referred to this in the question and in other comments, @jmort253. I don't want this so that I will think harder about closing or not. I want this so I won't "wait, what?" when I happen to be in "my" tag and it instacloses. May 18, 2014 at 12:08
  • Would you really be more likely to "vote to close" than "close"? I hope not. Either you think it should be closed or you don't. Since you have the hammer you've demonstrated that your judgment is good, so we trust you to do the right thing. If you're not sure, don't vote. Jan 22, 2016 at 17:45
  • @jmort253 Note that this undoes all close votes that may have existed on the question before it was closed and reopened.
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 20, 2017 at 11:54
  • 1
    It's when you un-hammer stuff that it really matters. Often, if somebody else has dupehammered a question, and I believe they were wrong to do so, I'd like to vote to reopen the question. However, I'm not arrogant enough to imply to the original hammerer that my opinion ought to trump theirs, so I'm careful not to hit the reopen link if I happen to have the required gold badge. I feel there's a feature lacking here. Dec 14, 2017 at 4:19
  • 1
    It's worth noting that this is indeed done in the Low Quality Posts queue: the button after selecting a comment merely says "Delete", even though you may only be submitting a delete vote or delete recommendation. Dec 15, 2019 at 18:43

We're keeping this intentionally minimalistic starting out: let's face it, this the biggest change we've made to the actual criteria for closing in a good long while, so it's worth taking some time to see how it's actually used.

At minimum, we'll be adding a note to the documentation noting the attachment of a new ability. I believe this is only the third time we've ever tied a privilege to earning a badge (the previous two being review access and moderator election nominations), so there's not a lot of precedent here - finding a good way to announce this might be tricky.

Philosophically, I'm against calling out binding votes in the UI: one of the persistently troubling themes we've seen over the years has been this notion that by voting you are somehow abdicating responsibility! Seeing close voters - even experienced folk like yourself - pause to think about how they're voting when there's the possibility of that vote having immediate effect is... Refreshing.

Perhaps then, it would make more sense to remind folks of the responsibility that comes with voting all of the time, not just in cases where they stand a good chance of seeing immediate results?

Your vote tells the system that this question should be closed - which may then happen immediately. If you're not sure, then do not vote.

  • 4
    It's not that I pause before. It's that I was startled after. And for a moment I worried if I had been rude. Then my brain took over from my emotions and said I hadn't. I won't use the reminder to stay my hand, it's just to avoid that moment of disorientation. May 14, 2014 at 20:52
  • 11
    Firing squad vs executioner all over again
    – random
    May 14, 2014 at 20:52
  • 9
    Well, we changed things - everyone's disoriented @Kate. That'll pass. (and then we'll change them more)
    – Shog9
    May 14, 2014 at 20:53
  • 2
    it sounds like you demand of them to treat every vote to close as if it's binding (same way as nominated, elected and trained mods do). It may happen that challenged like this, some will prefer to simply abstain of closing. Why is it so that closing-related stuff is designed in a way that's difficult to work
    – gnat
    May 14, 2014 at 22:09
  • 10
    No, I expect folks to treat every vote as though it matters, @gnat. Because a good many of them do matter - regardless of whether or not they're "binding". If you're voting to close a question and aren't convinced it should be closed, then there's something deeply wrong.
    – Shog9
    May 14, 2014 at 22:53
  • 1
    Plus, no one's even allowed to touch anything else in that dialog until Duplicate dialog close button causes preview to be too narrow is fixed.
    – Tim Stone
    May 15, 2014 at 1:45
  • 1
    just call them Sue "I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along. So I give ya that name and I said goodbye I knew you'd have to get tough or die And it's the name that helped to make you strong..."
    – gnat
    May 15, 2014 at 4:13
  • 5
    Sometimes I'm not sure that I have identified the best possible duplicate. The need for 5 votes used to provide a nice opportunity for others to chip in with alternative dupe suggestions. Now, I get it that this "nice opportunity" came at quite a high cost in eyes-on-dupe-questions, that SE has chosen to change. You're telling me something is deeply wrong with what I did. So the result of this change, together with your advice, is that I stop voting for dupes at precisely the time that SO starts trusting me as the sole authority? I guess I'm (in my own opinion) not worthy of that trust :-) Jun 6, 2014 at 1:16
  • Long ago, before all of this pesky overhead existed, we'd just edit new/better dup links into the question when we found one after it was already closed @Steve. I have some plans for building something similar into the system, but until those are realized nothing is stopping anyone from just adding links manually (via comments or edits) - the system will recognize them.
    – Shog9
    Jun 6, 2014 at 1:19
  • The "note to the documentation" was applied to the help center, but not in the gold tag page
    – Braiam
    Oct 27, 2014 at 15:19
  • View any gold tag badge, @braiam - it's there.
    – Shog9
    Oct 27, 2014 at 19:15
  • "I'm against calling out binding votes in the UI" -> I don't think deceiving the user (in case the one with the gold badge) is a good way to encourage a specific behavior supposedly desired by the site. Stackoverflow is complicated enough. Let's keep the processes transparent. If you want to encourage people to take responsibility for their votes, stick with the suggestion in the last paragraph. Regardless, idk what the UI looks like in 2022.
    – Joooeey
    May 11, 2022 at 13:29

I freely admit I'm more likely to close vote just because other people already have. And since I'm being honest, I'll also say that I'm somewhat irked by being told this is a bad habit, and that it's therefore my fault if for any reason I give less than my highest level of attention to every VTC.

Since I don't evaluate every question on English Language and Usage, but I do regularly go through the review queue, it stands to reason that I see more questions where others have already VTC'd. And the site search facility is particularly bad on ELU (because it ignore many words which are irrelevant "noise" on other sites, but highly significant on ELU), so checking for dups (more importantly, identifying the most appropriate one) can get quite tedious.

If I see that other people have already identified an earlier dup, it's ridiculous to suppose I'll always double-check as carefully as I might otherwise have done. Especially if four other people have identified the same dup, and the two question titles strongly suggests they cover the same ground.

That's my first gripe. My second, which I find far more bothersome, is that as things stand, I feel my new superpower is effectively unpredictable. I don't actually know which particular tags I'm currently eligible to "instaclose", and I really don't see why I should be expected to go and check my context-specific status regularly to keep tabs on this.

As an aside, I'll just point out that I don't think tags work very well on ELU. Things may vary by site, but on ELU few if any users know or care about distinguishing between idioms, expressions, and phrases, for example (for all of which I have silver badges which could "go for gold" at any time).

The idea that not knowing the effect of my VTC will encourage me to exercise it more carefully seems to me misguided, puerile, schoolmarmish, and dismissive. The system obviously knows (or will find as soon as I do VTC), so I see no possible justification for it not telling me what my relevant status is.

  • 1
    It is your fault. It's certainly no one else's. If you don't have the time to devote to evaluating a given question, it's on you to refrain from taking action until/unless you do. Fortunately, we designed the new system with a path by which you can instantly correct any mistakes you make - my hope is that folks will gradually become more accustom to taking responsibility for their own actions.
    – Shog9
    Jun 8, 2014 at 17:34
  • 2
    @Shog9: I remain baffled by your position. Okay - so I introduced this answer with "I freely admit...". But I don't see how you can read what I say here as equivalent to my only reason for closevoting is that I'm not #5. Particularly when I've specifically pointed out one reason why I'm "more likely" to cast "non-first" VTCs - it's simply that I see more of them because they're in the review queue. Jun 8, 2014 at 20:52
  • 4
    ...I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than address the concerns of one disgruntled user, and my natural instinct is to assume that you would understand the issues involved better than me. But so far I still don't see anything from you or anyone else that specifically addresses the issue of Why can't we have advance notification? in terms that make sense to me. This constant exhortation to be careful with your votes all the time just comes across as an irrelevant platitude to me. I am usually careful - but I'm also only human, and I could use some real help. Jun 8, 2014 at 20:58
  • 1
    And I don't know how to state this any more plainly, @Fumble: making a mistake along with four others is not somehow "better" than making a mistake alone. Someone still needs to be accountable; someone still needs to be willing to step up and fix it. This distinction you're drawing between your 1/5 votes and your 1/1 votes is immaterial to everyone else concerned with a given question, so the sooner you stop thinking of them as two fundamentally different activities, the better.
    – Shog9
    Jun 8, 2014 at 21:32
  • 2
    @Shog9: If you really think there's no (justifiable) reason why I should want to know whether I'm casting 1/5th of a VTC or a whole one, there's presumably nothing I can say to change your mind. I will simply have to work with the system as presented to me (I'm hardly going to stomp off in a huff! :). Let my final remark on the subject be that I consider the original 1/5th VTC system akin to the US constitution's Checks and Balances, and so far I remain baffled as to why you/TPTB have the position you do regarding this notification request. Jun 8, 2014 at 22:04
  • The problem is, @Fumble, it's often not a check and never a balance, and it was never intended to be. Go read the original rationale for implementing voting - the idea was to prevent rogue individuals from causing trouble, in the days before closing had... really, any other limits that would prevent such things. Voting serves essentially the same purpose that it does in Congress: it keeps things from changing very quickly without coordinated and/or overwhelming support. Reopening is the real check here.
    – Shog9
    Jun 8, 2014 at 23:19
  • 1
    @Shog9: We're just going round in circles now. I don't disagree with much if any of what you say - but I still don't see why you're so adamant we can't have a notification. Perhaps you have addressed that specific point and I've simply missed it in all the irrelevant stuff. But I know when I'm fighting a losing battle, regardless of whether my cause is just or not. What you won't do, you won't do. I take it for granted your hostility to the proposal has nothing to do with implementation overheads, so I guess I just have to accept it as "inscrutable". Jun 8, 2014 at 23:33
  • 1
    I guess I can't really explain it any better than I have, @Fumble. I will note that I'm trying to look a few steps ahead here; I feel that we've moved in a bad direction with our attitude toward closing over the years, and all too often the changes made to mitigate the worst aspects have done more harm than good; once upon a time, I loved close/reopen for its ability to quickly remove questions and just as quickly restore them when appropriate, and some day I would like to get back to that. Doing so involves fighting 5 years of inertia, and there's no way that's not gonna hurt a bit.
    – Shog9
    Jun 8, 2014 at 23:39
  • 1
    @Shog9: I guessed there was probably an element of "planning for the future" involved. And even before you posted that enlightening link to the 2008 discussion about the original decision to implement "voting", I was well aware your perspective was bound to be more long-term than mine. You've been "fighting inertia" for 5 years, but I've only been here for 3.5 years. Naturally, I've gotten used to how things actually work - and if I had much time to worry about how they should work, I'd mainly moan about the generic search facility not working very well for ELU (or ELL, now). Jun 8, 2014 at 23:50
  • 4
    @Shog9: "@Fumble: making a mistake along with four others is not somehow "better" than making a mistake alone." -- I definitely beg to differ. There's a reason why there are protocols with voting schemes, e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-man_rule, and most governments. People make mistakes, and having the consensus of more than one person puts a check on the power of one individual's mistake.
    – Jason S
    Feb 23, 2016 at 17:06
  • 2
    You're not launching nuclear weapons here, @Jason. You're marking a question as a duplicate, and if you do make a mistake you can just as easily unmark it. There's no shame in using training wheels when you're first learning to ride a bike, but if you're still using them after months or years of riding you're probably doing something wrong.
    – Shog9
    Feb 23, 2016 at 17:26

If you don't think the question should be closed, don't vote to close it.

If you're not sure, don't vote to close it.

Your gold-badge binding vote should be thought of no differently than a tipping vote cast on a post that already has n-1.

And if you're currently in the habit of being more likely to close vote just because other people already have, then that's a habit you should try your hardest to drop!

  • 4
    I guess I am doomed to leave this comment on every answer: I don't want this so that I will think harder about closing or not. I want this so I won't "wait, what?" when I happen to be in "my" tag and it instacloses. To reduce surprise and disorientation. Unlike a diamond, the vast majority of my votes do not come with a hammer. The hammer surprises me. I am perfectly willing to use it. May 20, 2014 at 18:25
  • @KateGregory: I suspect you missed my point. :( Yes, I read all your comments, and I understand what you're saying. But the point is that this shouldn't be surprising. First of all, you're aware of the feature. Secondly, are you surprised when a non-binding vote tips a question over the threshold and it gets closed? Probably not. It seems like you're paying far too much attention to the number of existing close votes, either consciously, subconsciously, or both. As long as this feature is documented I don't see much reason it has to be plastered on the UI. May 20, 2014 at 18:27
  • @KateGregory: That all being said, relabelling the button makes all the sense in the world from a UX standpoint. :) May 20, 2014 at 18:28
  • I'm aware of the feature. It's possible I'm aware, in a vague way, what tags I am gold in. And sometimes I look at the tags when VTC as dupe (a PHP question isn't a dupe of a C++ question) but sometimes I don't (especially on meta) which means that this feature catches me by surprise every time I actually "use" it. I don't regret the vote, but I don't enjoy the "what? -- oh I see, tagname, ok fine, dupehammer, that's cool" moment. Jun 13, 2014 at 19:01
  • I guess that, like the others, I am struggling to understand this "wait, what?" reflex that nobody else seems to get. I'm already totally used to the magic hammer popping up in my workflow once in a while. :) Jun 13, 2014 at 19:07
  • 1
    "If you're not sure, don't vote to close it." - +1. I use the Skip button regularly. Folks should be educated that its OK to skip a question they don't have high levels of domain expertise, instead of feeling they are obligated to act or move. And an upshot: I rarely fail audits anymore.
    – user173448
    Sep 20, 2014 at 20:45

Based on our current roadmap, we don't have immediate plans to work on this request. However, we are planning to start some discovery work in late 2021 on the question close experience and will revisit this request when we start on that project.

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