Situation: when a user self-marks their post as a duplicate, it shows as closed by "community" rather than the original poster.

Problems: this is not clear at all to most users of SE what has happened. It looks like the question was "mod closed" as a duplicate against the asker's wishes.

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Suggestion: instead of the community user "closing" the post, have the final close user be the asker (or make it "Community & Asker"). This will help clear up confusion and streamline the process for understanding what happens.


1 Answer 1


The asker is not closing the question. They're not closing it unilaterally, they're not closing it with Community's help, they're not casting a binding vote or exercising any special privilege. They are answering a question posed by the system, and the system may close their question based on their response.

I know this seems like splitting hairs, but... It's a pretty important distinction. Losing it opens up a huge, huge can of worms: users expect to be able to undo actions attributed to them, to understand what the system is saying they did. Maybe someday that can will need to be opened; maybe someday we abandon this closing system and move on to something a bit more lightweight where askers do have a lot more say into what happens on their questions. Or maybe we abandon closing for duplicates and go with some other system. But not today.

If you want to reduce confusion, propose an alternative to the tooltip that currently tells the story here. Maybe an alternate description for the close?

This question has been asked before and already has an answer which satisfied the asker's needs. If you have a related question, you can ask it separately.


It looks like the question was "mod closed" as a duplicate against the asker's wishes.

Then every other form of dup-closure looks this way too. Perhaps you could suggest alterations that would make duplicates look less... combative?

  • 2
    It might be worth mentioning that hovering over 'Community' provides a pretty good tooltip to explain it. Hmmm... I wonder how we can fix that ;) Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 6:15
  • Doesn't solve anything, @cde - if the current dup-message looks combative when Community♦ closes, then it looks combative when Shog9♦ closes - so what tip do you want to display next to my name?
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 0:48
  • 3
    By answering "yes" to that question, they are indicating (or marking, if you will) that the question linked is close enough to their question and has a satisfactory answer for their purposes (or it's a duplicate, if you will). Thus, they are, quite literally, marking it as a duplicate, as the proposed update would suggest. Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 13:44
  • How is this distinction important? What can of worms opens if we change it? To me, this argument seems like arguing that I'm not closing a question when I perform a hammer-close; I'm sending an HTTP request, and the system closes the question based on my request. Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 17:16
  • 2
    In that scenario you clicked a button labeled "Vote To Close", @user2357112. The OP in this scenario did not. In terms of concrete problems: you get to reopen any post you hammer closed. The OP in this scenario cannot. If we wanna give folks the ability to insta-close/reopen their own questions then I'd be more than comfortable with displaying their name in the banner when they do so... Until/unless we allow that though, it would be misleading.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 18:21
  • 1
    It would be helpful if you'd describe some of the worms that are in the can you posit. I don't think it is at all obvious why the distinction is so important. The system is quite literally giving their response the same effect as a dupe hammer vote on the question, so for all practical purposes, they do have the privilege of dupe closing their own question once a duplicate has been proposed. The details sound like implementation details, rather than fundamental complexities with the concept.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 19:48
  • The system effectively gives authors a binding close vote on their own question in this particular situation, @jpmc26... Without giving them a matching reopen vote. As far as implementation goes, this makes the system considerably more complex than just giving authors binding close/reopen votes on their own posts - we gotta essentially track the vote through the system, allowing it only in this one scenario, and reassigning ownership prior to recording it. If you wanna propose just giving authors binding votes regardless of context, be my guest: if it flies, we could ditch that complexity.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 20:18
  • @Shog9 Thanks. Since no one is suggesting that it be implemented as an actual close vote (nearly as I can tell), I think what you're trying to say is that the fundamental problem is tracking that the user initiated this action so you can detect it at display time, that there's nowhere to store that data. Is that correct? Either way, as comments are for improving answers, why not edit the answer to include some of this info? As I said, why it's a can of worms isn't obvious.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 21:58
  • There are zero implementation issues to doing what you want, @jpmc26. The issue is entirely one of perception: if we're gonna put someone's name on something, they should have actual control over that thing. Every time we've done otherwise it's caused some amount of grief; the more impact the action has, the more grief is caused by being unable to control it. Everyone who can vote to close can vote to reopen; if your name is on a closed question, you have some say in whether it stays closed. You're proposing we deviate from that.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 22:15
  • @Shog9 I attempted to edit the answer to reflect your concerns (namely the expectation of being able to undo actions that are attributed to a user), but its already recieved a reject vote. I'd appreciate if you could clarify the answer with that concern, since comments are ephemeral. Feel free to reject my suggestion and make your own changes, of course; I'm just concerned with getting the content into the answer.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 2:08

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