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TL;DR: I want to have my question closed as a duplicate. But first I need to have the question reopened so it can be closed as a duplicate.


On The Workplace, I posted the question How early should I arrive for a meeting?, which I now want to have closed as a duplicate What's the best time to arrive for an interview / meeting / appointment?.

Before I had a chance to close my question as a duplicate, it was put on hold as "primarily opinion-based".

Put on hold as primarily opinion based

I still wanted to have my question marked as a duplicate for future users. However, the only flagging option available for a closed question is "in need of moderator intervention"

Flag for moderator attention

I submitted a moderator flag explaining my issue, only to have it denied.

Denied flag

I was told in chat to discuss the issue on Meta Workplace, where it was posted as Is it ok to reopen a closed question so that it can be marked as duplicate?.

Meta Workplace - Reopen to close as duplicate

Currently, it seems the proper way to have my question closed as a duplicate is to convince the community to have it reopened, just so I can vote to have it re-closed as a duplicate.

Can we have the option to flag our own posts as a duplicate, even if it has already been closed for a different reason?

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This feature shouldn't be necessary because legitimate use cases for it should be exceedingly rare.

If your question was closed as inappropriate for the site, then any duplicate stands the chance that it's inappropriate for the site too. Making it easier to just direct a bad question to another potentially bad question is the complete opposite direction to take here. Instead, you should be evaluating whether or not the duplicated should also be closed.

If the duplicated question truly belongs and the new question simply wasn't asked well, or whatever the reason was, that may be grounds for a switch in close reason. But evaluating whether or not the duplicate is useful is still a next step. Not every single question that duplicates another needs to remain. If it adds no value for future visitors and it makes more sense to just delete it, then don't spend the effort switching the close reason - just delete it.

In the sense of evaluation here, it should be difficult to just switch the reason like this. Just letting users throw a link into a box prevents automatic deletion of content the community deemed unfit for its site, potentially preserving content that need not be preserved.

That said, this kind of evaluation is more appropriate for meta rather than a moderator flag. Moderators are exception handlers and you shouldn't be pinning an entire process here onto one person.

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    "If the duplicated question truly belongs and the new question simply wasn't asked well, or whatever the reason was, that may be grounds for a switch in close reason." And coming from The Workplace where questions tend to be more subjective, this happens all the time. Part of having a badly written question remain as a duplicate is that it helps redirect users who are searching using different terms ([boss, manager, supervisor],[resume, CV, application]). The SE search engine is not very strong, so it's very easy for even experienced users to not be able to find what they're looking for. – David K Jul 25 '17 at 12:53
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Moderators can already do this for you, and it's not unusual to ask for it to be done.

Just flag it for moderator attention and use the custom field to ask to have it reclosed as a duplicate. (Include the link so the mods don't have to dig around in comments or guess.) Mods can use their unilateral reopen/close powers to fix this pretty easily, making a new feature unnecessary.

If one is a mod receiving such a request, it should be honoured, or responded to with a custom reason explaining the error that makes a duplicate-close inappropriate.

Basically, mods can make mistakes, but this is what mods are for. A mod making a mistake — or just not explaining why it wouldn't make sense to do — doesn't make a solid case for a new feature.

  • I had my custom flag request denied when I submitted it. Are you suggesting I send another custom flag? – Stevoisiak Jul 24 '17 at 23:26
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    I'm not sure that it's a best practice for moderators to do this sort of activity (speaking as the one who declined this flag). – enderland Jul 25 '17 at 0:34
  • I do not agree that the moderator made a mistake here. Moderators are meant to be "exception handlers", they should only deal with serious issues and things that the community cannot do, not override the community. – Masked Man Jul 25 '17 at 2:44
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    I have this happen a lot - a question is closed (often because it is badly written etc) but someone then finds a good dupe, so they flag it up for a mod, we reopen then close as dupe straight away. It would be nice to be able to do that directly, but it's only 20 seconds' more work for a mod. – Rory Alsop Jul 25 '17 at 9:32
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    @MaskedMan While the community can technically do this, in practice it's hard (and a lot of work) to coordinate 5 reopen votes followed by 5 close votes to resolve this. I agree with enderland that this doesn't seem like a best practice to me but I don't really see an alternative. The main problem with flagging it is that the mod (just one person) has to decide whether it's actually a duplicate. I've declined similar flags before because I disagreed on that with the flagger. – Lilienthal Aug 3 '17 at 18:05

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