Since May 2014 users having the gold badge for a specific tag have been able to close questions as duplicates with a single close vote - the dupehammer.

Back then, when asked if that feature would be extended to close a question not only as duplicate but for all close reasons, a community manager said that more data would have to be collected to see how this new feature would work out.

Now, almost a year later I'd like to hear if the dupehammer will be extended?

  • giving a binding vote to one gold badge holder would be roughly equivalent to giving additional 15 regular votes to 10 silver badge holders... – gnat Feb 11 '15 at 13:02
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    FWIW I'm opposed to this change. I don't see any evidence that it's needed and I've seen enough evidence of incorrect dupehammer wielding that I'm deeply concerned about the effect of giving gold badge holders the power to close any post for any reason they like. At least with the dupehammer they have to put a bit of effort in to find a dupe and then at least pretend that it's close to the question at hand. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 12 '15 at 22:09
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    Actually I think I could close a lot of questions as unclear or whatever. And the area I am active in, I do not see any incorrect gold-dupe-closing. – juergen d Feb 12 '15 at 22:19
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    Having a gold tag badge means you know that topic pretty well and have seen a lot of questions on that tag. So the dupe-hammer makes sense. But I have seen no evidence that someone who's an expert in a tag has better-than-average judgement about what's too broad or opinion-based or even off-topic. Expedited closure makes sense to me as a high-rep priv, with safeguards, but not as a tag-badge ability. That's too dangerous. – Monica Cellio Apr 27 '15 at 14:24

The reason I was able to get it implemented (a lot of thinking internally was that the idea was completely crazypants) is that you have to have a plausible duplicate in order to use it. Folks can't go around just closing everything they don't like. That's a measure of power that the community must trust you with quite deliberately, as in through you winning a moderator election.

On the other hand, the hammer has been used quite judiciously, proving my assertion that most people that could use it are pretty sane and generally helpful folks.

To be considered, this would need to be much, much, much more narrowly-scoped. E.g: (This is just a brain dump, you might not need some of these, you might think of different things - just my ideas on it):

  • Question must have a negative score
  • Question must not have an up-voted answer
  • Some safeguards against close rings in chat getting out of control with it
  • Perhaps require other moderator / editor badges for the feature to activate?

IOW - make it hard to do terribad things with the hammer if this is implemented.

The third item scares me, because I know people in chat that would totally abuse this. We're finally able to at least see the goal of closing less while editing more, and I'm afraid this would be a huge step backwards in that process. At the same time, if you want to clean up even more litter, I'm damn well going to try to find a broom that fits.

I'll take it, and try to push it through if the possible abuse cases can be sufficiently addressed in a way that doesn't horribly complicate the implementation.

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    "Question must not have an up-voted answer" What? Absolutely not. – bjb568 Apr 27 '15 at 12:53
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    @bjb568 Really, why not? Someone understood it and if it's not a duplicate, why would it need closing instead of editing? – Tim Post Apr 27 '15 at 12:57
  • There was a proposal recently (MSO I think) about letting gold tag badges be awardable(?) more than once. You could make the extra hammers kick in only at say 2 gold badge level initially to measure the impact. – Mat Apr 27 '15 at 13:05
  • @TimPost Because it's totally off-topic, for example. – user259867 Apr 27 '15 at 13:10
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    I recently found examples of people up voting and accepting completely incorrect and irrelevant answers to avoid the Roomba scripts from deleting a closed negatively scored question (10k P.SE link (look also in the comments in the question)). Such behavior on the part of the asker to upvote the first answer to avoid rapid gold badge closes would be a very negative repercussion if upvotes were to protect against such. And one doesn't need to look too hard to find upvotes on crap answers. – user213963 Apr 27 '15 at 13:12
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    @Tim An upvote on an answer isn't a strong signal for "good question". It's really easy to get an upvote for any crap answer already and incentivsing OP upvoting bad answers to prevent closing won't help. – bjb568 Apr 27 '15 at 13:16
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    Besides, the question isn't "should we close, or edit?". Bad questions should be closed. Improved questions should be reopened. Improvable questions should be edited. They're not binary nor mutually exclusive. – bjb568 Apr 27 '15 at 13:19
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    @bjb568 Right, and mods can handle that, it's enough of an exception to put on their plate. The vast majority of total crap that I see is either unanswered, or has a (notably) crap answer to boot. I'm going to run some numbers, but I believe it will still give privileges on a whole lot of questions. – Tim Post Apr 27 '15 at 13:19
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    For those without 10k, "I am accepting your answer so as to save my question from auto-deletion. Your answer didn't explain all the concerns raised in the original question." and then in the question comments: "I've edited my question and accepted that answer only for the sake of making the question reopen and save it from autodeletion. If you could answer the original version of my question then I'd appreciate that." -- don't incentivize upvotes on bad questions to prevent closing, people already know that trick, we don't need more of it. – user213963 Apr 27 '15 at 13:20
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    Also, to be clear, I am tossing out possibilities, not laying down the law on how this would work. The gist of it is: Make it very hard to do bad things if implemented. Might not need that exception if everyone can come up with other ways to safeguard it. The bullet list in my answer is full of ideas. It's not in any way "This is how it would need to work". I'll edit to that effect. – Tim Post Apr 27 '15 at 13:21
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    Some ideas, and data points to run... I've got a query that I called "cliff questions" which are questions that are on the cliff of the Roomba script - closed, but not yet deleted because they got an up vote on an answer. It pulls up things like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. These are mostly questions that required five close votes. ... – user213963 Apr 27 '15 at 13:28
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    ... if they could have gotten closed quicker with gold badge powers, upvote on the answers not withstanding, it probably would have been a good thing. It would have meant less close vote exhaustion from other people participating in community moderation. I'd hate to see the questions that were roomba'ed away if they had the 'upvote to avoid quick closes' but instead disappeared into obscurity with no upvotes on their answers. – user213963 Apr 27 '15 at 13:31
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    (and thinking about it, if you are worried about chat abuse by gold badges (who likely have 20k rep), preventing speedy closes with an up voted answer would just mean the first chat message would be "down votes on $answer please" and then the close vote, and maybe even "20k speedy delete votes to refund down votes on $answer please" follow up) – user213963 Apr 27 '15 at 13:51
  • @TimPost: Another issue I am interested in is this Area51 discussion. We asked for an answer in January. Do you have anything on the matter ready to post? – juergen d May 24 '15 at 9:27

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