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Please note: this is not a duplicate of How Do I Opt Out of Privileges?, which asks to give gold tag badge holders the ability to cast normal close votes in case they're not sure of their vote. I understand why that request was declined, and while it is true that implementing that request would solve this problem as well, the reasons I'm proposing are totally unrelated to the reasons given there and the declining reason.

Recently, I've been seeing users complain when their question gets closed immediately, without warning, by a gold tag badge holder. Unlike votes from normal users, where users are shown a notice to consider the proposed target and edit if they don't think it's a duplicate, users aren't shown this option.

Now, users can edit their post, which will add it to the reopen queue, but new users don't really know about this. They can also leave a comment @reply to the user who closed the question, but their name isn't shown as one of the possible users to ping (unless they commented).

I'd like to propose a new system that can be used at the discretion of the gold badge holder (meaning they can opt for a standard binding closure if they like), to simply propose duplicates to the author. In my mind, this would:

  • Leave a standard "Possible duplicate of [link]" comment
  • Insert the normal notice at the top for the author only, with the link, an option to close it themselves, and an option to edit
  • Put the question into the Close Votes queue, where other users can review it to see if it should be closed, in case the original closer doesn't come back
  • Give gold badge holders the ability to bindingly close later on should they choose

This can be implemented as a standard close vote, or (my preferred way) a recommend closure flag, but without a flag (to prevent gold badge holders from inflating their helpful flag count). A recommend closure flag adds the comment and author-only notice and puts the question into the CV queue, which is exactly what my described feature does.

While this is partially accomplished by simply leaving a comment with a link, the link can be hidden if there are other comments, and a duplicate link will get posted if someone later votes to close it as a duplicate. I've seen moderators on Travel do this, but I've also seen a lot of redundant comments from users later voting or flagging to close the question.

I believe this feature will help increase the overall inclusivity of Stack Exchange, since users are sometimes offended by immediate closures, and in some cases think of the closers as simply "satisfying themselves" because they don't know the answer.

  • 2
    If the hammer was used to close questions as off topic then I would have agreed it's off putting and better have option to not wield the hammer. However duplicates are not off topic. They are on topic, just been asked before. Such type of closure is special, and users, new and veteran, should learn and understand that duplicates are not bad, and sometimes even good to have them around. – ShaWiz May 8 '18 at 11:16
  • @ShadowWizard I agree that users should learn that duplicates are not bad and are often useful instead. But are we teaching it well? I asked a separate question to pursue that. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 8 '18 at 13:20
  • @Joonas maybe not, but that's a different issue. – ShaWiz May 8 '18 at 13:21
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I think the current mechanism is just fine. The only problem is in communication. As you mention:

Now, users can edit their post, which will add it to the reopen queue, but new users don't really know about this. They can also leave a comment @reply to the user who used their Chaos Emerald, but their name isn't shown as one of the possible users to ping (unless they commented).

Having the question marked as duplicate without warning is not such an issue, as long as we communicate to the OP what it means (I posted a separate feature request on this):

  1. It's still a good question and you're still a good person. A duplicate isn't evil; you can't be expected to know all earlier questions.
  2. If you think it's not a duplicate, you can make your question more specific. Elaborate on the problem you're trying to solve and explain why the linked post doesn't help enough.

If these two points are conveyed to the OP, I would be happy. The second point is practical, but the first one makes a big difference, too, especially for newer users. Leaving a comment "Possible duplicate of X" doesn't communicate much better in my opinion.

As we can't expect voters-to-close to elaborate on their actions every single time, a far better remedy would be to make the duplicate closure notice less terse and more supportive.

What you propose is already the case for most users. It is just the few very experienced users in that tag (and moderators) who have the immediate duplication powers. There is a reason why there is a threshold for those powers, and it makes sense to enlist top users as deputy moderators. That's how the site is supposed to work anyway. Voters and mods will make mistakes, but it's not irreversible.

  • Top users can make mistakes too. – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog May 8 '18 at 10:29
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    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog True, but the decisions are not irreversible. Mods make mistakes as well. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 8 '18 at 10:34
  • They're not irreversible, but they're difficult for new users to reverse and just off-putting in general. – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog May 8 '18 at 10:35
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog I agree, but there's no way around making mistakes with some newcomers. I think the solution is in better communication. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 8 '18 at 10:36

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