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EDIT This question is about a general mechanism to draw attention to old questions that have received a new "close as duplicate" vote. It seems that the chances of an old duplicate question receiving extra attention are very low, and the only recourse is for the close voter to hang out on chats and ask for more close votes.

Below is just a specific example from StackOverflow.


The question How can I use JavaScript on the client side to detect if the page was encrypted? has two clear duplicates:

I voted to close the duplicates 3 weeks ago. No activity (that I can see) occurred on the questions. I then flagged the questions for moderator attention, but my flag was declined:

Moderators declined flag

I feel that I've done more than my part in signaling the duplicates by making a note to check back on those close votes three weeks later, and unfortunately I don't have time to canvass for votes on the chat. Is there a mechanism that takes over from here? I assume we want to continue encouraging volunteers to find and report duplicates.

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    Have you already brought this up on the Stack Overflow Meta? – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 0:24
  • @Catija: no; it seems like a general SE issue. I could bring to the SO Meta the particular question, but I wanted to raise awareness about the lack of options once a clear duplicate doesn't get closed and the volunteer has already voted and flagged it. – Dan Dascalescu Aug 6 '15 at 1:04
  • If you're really interested in this as a site-wide issue, here's a possible solution. – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 1:20
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    An answer that explains why it's unlikely for very old questions (on SO) to be closed as duplicates – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 1:23
  • @Catija: I'm not out of closed votes? As to the answer, it suggests flagging, which I've already tried. Am I out of options? – Dan Dascalescu Aug 6 '15 at 1:46
  • It's not about you being out of close votes. It's that other users with close vote privileges run out of close votes before they get to duplicate questions, which are less important than other types of close votes. If dupe votes are exempt from CV limits, then more users can vote as duplicate. – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 1:48
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    This is probably not a satisfactory solution to you, but I think it should be noted that you can recast your close vote after it has aged away. – Josh Caswell Aug 6 '15 at 2:28
  • @JoshCaswell actually this appears to be a reasonable duplicate to the edited version of this question: "the only recourse is for the close voter to hang out on chats and ask for more close votes..." – gnat Aug 6 '15 at 7:21
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How to achieve your aim will I think vary greatly between sites that vary in size from small betas to StackOverflow.

In your case, which involves the largest site in the Stack Exchange network, I think a good option may be to ask for support in its chat room to get others to agree with you and add their close votes to yours.

If that, after your earlier efforts, goes nowhere, then I think you have a case to expect a moderator to do the close for you. Just be sure to provide a convincing case for it using an Off topic > Other close vote rather than the standard Duplicate.

Moderators will not always have the technical knowledge of particular specialist questions to be certain that one question is a duplicate of another, so perhaps that is why yours were declined.

As a moderator on one modest sized site and on another small one, I try to almost always explain why I have declined flags, but I'm not sure whether the flag:moderator ratio on StackOverflow allows time for that to happen there.

  • I'm not sure that moderators are even supposed act on closure requests anymore. (unless it's flagrant) It's supposed to be taken care of by normal users and the review queues. Moderator actions are binding, and if it's just one person with a very strong opinion and nobody else to support, it's usually better for the moderator to side with the silent majority and stay hands off. – Mysticial Aug 6 '15 at 2:13
  • @Mysticial I don't think so... I see questions closed as dupes by individual users with no consensus here on Meta SE all the time. I even had it happen to one of my questions... but I think it was later reversed. – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 2:26
  • @Catija You're probably seeing the gold badge holders do that. It's been a while since I've seen any diamond moderators dupe-close anything on SO. – Mysticial Aug 6 '15 at 2:31
  • @Mysticial Even if it's gold badge holders, the result is the same, is it not? A single user is doing it. Why should it matter if it's a mod? – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 2:35
  • @Catija Only moderators can see mod-only flags. Gold badge users don't see those flags and therefore can't act on them. – Mysticial Aug 6 '15 at 2:38
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    @Mysticial I get that. But if the Mods are the only one who can see those flags, why would the OP get the response he's getting? Surely a question that is obviously a dupe deserves to be closed. I agree he should try to raise awareness for close votes through chat or at the most the SO Meta but if one of the solutions is supposedly "flag it so mods can check it out", why should mods avoid agreeing with a user who thinks it's a dupe? – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 2:41
  • @Catija I'm basically saying that if only one person has a strong opinion and nobody else agrees, perhaps the person with the strong opinion is wrong. (I won't speak for this particular case since I'm not a subject expert.) Voting to close puts the question in the review queue for others to see. If no one agrees with the close vote, then the vote will age away harmlessly. It would not be right for a moderator in such case to side with one person over the majority. – Mysticial Aug 6 '15 at 2:46
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    @Mysticial But that requires that people actually see it. The link I posted above essentially says that the likelihood of a very old post being visible in the review queue on SO is extremely low. I don't know if this is actually the case but if it is, it sounds like a problem. – Catija Aug 6 '15 at 2:50
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    @Catija I don't know either. But put yourself in a moderator's shoes. You see a single person flagging a question for dupe. You're not a subject expert so you're not qualified to make a unilateral call. There are a gazzilion other things that need urgent attention. IOW, you can't do anything. – Mysticial Aug 6 '15 at 2:57

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