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There seems to be an issue with questions being closed as duplicates when they are not. Often times just because titles are similar doesn't mean the entire question is the same. Here's one example and another.

Is there any system in place for reopening closed questions, aside from casting an open vote? I was thinking it may be good to sometimes give users the option to veto a reopen, for example once a week a user can reopen a "marked as duplicate" question of there's. If the question really was a duplicate then the user would gain nothing my reopening it, so it seems unlikely the system would be abused.

  • Given that your example of "the system not working" in involved the question being reopened reasonably quickly, and being well received, I'm really not seeing the problem here. It looks like things worked out great in your example. – Servy Jan 30 '15 at 20:28
  • I totally agree. Several times my questions have been marked as duplicates to questions whose answers do not help me at all. It would be nice if users could start votes on duplicate questions that would close questions after a certain number of votes. Your solution would be nice, or stack exchange could make users be able to reopen their own questions easier. – GamrCorps Jan 30 '15 at 20:30
  • @Servy I've heard a similar argument around meta. What do you expect? I can only list a few examples that fit in my opinion. – Celeritas Jan 30 '15 at 20:32
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    Well, if you're going to request a significant feature request in response to a problem, I'd expect you to be able to come up with examples of the problem. If you can only provide examples of the system working quite effectively, then that's just signaling to the readers that everything is fine just as it is. – Servy Jan 30 '15 at 20:34
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Users with a gold badge in the tag can reopen questions with a single vote.

That, combined with the fact that the Reopen queue puts questions that may merit reopening in front of users with the reopen privilege, makes it quite easy for a question to be reopened if it really should be open.

Note that if you think a question is not a duplicate but others do, it's a sign that the question is not as clear as it should be. The question should generally be edited to make it clearer why it is not in fact a duplicate. You shouldn't be editing the question just to say that it's not a duplicate; that's not helpful at all. You should be explaining why the questions are different, emphasizing the information being requested that isn't in the duplicate question, or explaining how the answers to the duplicate question don't actually solve the problem at hand. The question should be just as sensible even after it is reopened when you make your edits; it shouldn't have a bunch of content that makes no sense after it is reopened.

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Your example shows a question being closed as a duplicate of another that appears to cover the same general question. Then your question was edited to clarify the differences. Then it was reopened.

This is exactly how the system is intended to work.

A lot of folks who complain have a real problem with the whole "edit to clarify the differences" step. You did the right thing, but too many people stamp their feet and assert, "the answers don't help me!" without elaborating on that. They're… unlikely to fare as well as your example did.

  • If you read the comments users there believe that something needs to be done about people marking as duplicate too liberally. – Celeritas Feb 9 '15 at 10:12
  • They are wrong... Users are not being to liberal. Remember it needs 5 close votes, and can always be reopened. It is better to have a good one closed then reopened than a bad one left. – Tim Mar 10 '15 at 21:47

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