I asked a question on Meta that was inappropriately closed by a moderator who incorrectly thought that it was a duplicate of another question which was hardly even similar.

At this point I am stuck:

  • I cannot reopen the question. This requires 5 votes from 5 people who each have unreasonable amount of rep. I don't know that many people who are that active on an obscure meta-website.
  • I cannot delete the question.
  • I cannot contact the moderator, or indeed any moderator, to ask them to undo their error.
  • Super User then? – random Apr 9 '10 at 13:02
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    I'm sorry, I don't understand these comments. What is it that you don't believe me? And what is "random♦" talking about in the first comment? – Timwi Apr 9 '10 at 13:09
  • <p lang="friday meta">@dow, Waffle unicorn? Pony rainbow!</p> – perbert Apr 9 '10 at 13:43
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  • @json: I don't think that "recourse" is a verb. – Aarobot Apr 9 '10 at 13:47
  • @aaron, better? – perbert Apr 9 '10 at 13:49
  • @json: Much better! – Aarobot Apr 9 '10 at 13:51
  • @Timwi hello from Redtailed. :) – JYelton Apr 9 '10 at 14:46
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    @json - the question was closed by a moderator, not the community. Your edit changed signficantly the sense of the issue, i.e., it's not clear that the OP would complain about a "community" close. In this case it was a single admin vote that closed it. – tvanfosson Apr 9 '10 at 15:20
  • @tvanfosson: it was closed by the community, reopened and then closed by random. He complained when closed by us, before random stepped in. – perbert Apr 9 '10 at 15:48
  • @json - I believe that you're referring to the dupe that was closed by the community after @random closed his original. This complaint is referring to the original which was closed with a single mod vote. If the original was reopened by the community after having been closed, then I see little difference if the second close was due to a single moderator vote than if it had been closed originally with a single moderator vote. – tvanfosson Apr 9 '10 at 15:52
  • @Timwi @Random I have posted an answer that I believe to be new information for your original question ( See here ). If this is truly new information, perhaps the original should be re-opened so this new answer can be moved to a more appropriate place rather than underneath this question. Perhaps you guys could comment. – Simon P Stevens Apr 10 '10 at 0:02
  • +1. I see little reason to downvote this legitimate question. Checks and balances, people! – TrueWill Jul 25 '10 at 1:48
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    @TrueWill: downvotes can mean disagreement on MetaSO. – perbert Jul 25 '10 at 7:14
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    @perbert: I think the community is downvoting the wrong thing. Whether or not @Timwi's original question was appropriate is not the question here; it's what is the recourse against apparently arbitrary decisions by a single individual. Similar question at meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/28867/… – TrueWill Jul 25 '10 at 17:14

Your question has two parts. The first part, "How do you find questions to answer?" is a duplicate of How to find the right questions that I can answer?.

The second part of your question, "Why is the most obvious feature, namely to list unanswered questions with a specific tag, still not implemented? Is it because no-one actually needs it?" is a duplicate of Is there a way to get truly unanswered questions of a certain tag?

If you believe your question is different, then you have a few options:

  • Re-write the question emphasizing the differences and why the existing questions don't help.
  • Comment on the question explaining the differences
  • Flag for moderator attention and request that it be re-evaluated in light of your changes and comments
  • Re-post a new question with the differences emphasized
  • Post on meta and request the community explain why the moderator took a particular action (which is what you did, so you're already on the right track)

But at the moment, your question is not differentiable from the existing questions.

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    Thanks. I think this was the most helpful answer. So next time I'll try your advice: edit the question emphasising the differences (it is unintuitive that one should do that on a question already closed), and flag for moderator attention (unintuitive because flagging is usually for offensive or illegal stuff). I already did #2 (comment; didn't help) and #4 (re-posting; doesn't seem very popular, but at least it didn't get closed right away). – Timwi Apr 9 '10 at 14:00
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    @Timwi A moderator is unlikely to re-open a question that was closed by the community based only on edits, because once they do that the community can't then decide they still want to close it. So flagging for moderator attention won't help you much. Better to respond in comments. You can also try posting here, but posting to meta tends to sound too much like whining. – Joel Coehoorn Apr 9 '10 at 14:06
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    @Joel - the question wasn't closed by the community. It was closed by a mod. Perhaps they would be more amenable to reopening in that case. – tvanfosson Apr 9 '10 at 15:23
  • @tvanfosson: it was closed twice. – perbert Apr 9 '10 at 15:49
  • @json - was the first one nullified by a mod (if so, why was it closed by another mod?) or the community? If by the community, then it's the same scenario - single moderator vote closed it. – tvanfosson Apr 9 '10 at 16:09

You say you have no recourse. You have some (in order):

  • Post a comment on your post for others to see out in the open, others may or may not flag on your behalf as well.
  • Flag a post for moderator attention - The mods will read this and your problem will be addressed.
  • Post your grievance here on Meta about their actions and what you feel was done in error.
  • Email the mod directly, or in the last course, the email address at the bottom of the sites.
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    #1: I did post a comment; #2: Next time I'll try flagging (it is unintuitive because flagging is normally for offensive/illegal posts); #3: I did that with this question here; #4: no e-mail address on the mod's page, and e-mailing the site itself I think would be inappropriate. Thanks for your answer. – Timwi Apr 9 '10 at 14:07
  • +1 for a helpful answer, but I feel that this moderator power is open to abuse. – TrueWill Jul 25 '10 at 1:46
  • @TrueWill - which is why moderators are not that many, and can easily see and cancel actions from other moderators if there is a problem. There are not many actions that can't be easily undone. Closing and deleting are things which are easy to change. The steps suggested by random are the way to go, in my opinion. – Gnoupi Jul 25 '10 at 8:36
  • +1 to @Timwi's comment - agreed that flagging is not intuitive, and that there is no clear way to contact some moderators (look at @random's profile on Meta, for instance). – TrueWill Jul 25 '10 at 17:22

There is an issue here in that moderator votes are binding. While in this case I happen to agree that it is a duplicate, perhaps moderators should refrain from being the first close vote on all but the most obvious of candidates for closure (SPAM, for example).

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  • New mods are told to be very careful and mindful of the fact that their votes are binding and superpowered. 3k user habits die hard. – random Apr 9 '10 at 15:44
  • @random - Perhaps moderators should get a completely different set of "close" tools to cast binding votes and regular close tools for simply exercising their personal opinions. – tvanfosson Apr 9 '10 at 15:50
  • Mods should always be open to being called out if their actions cause the community grief. But allowing for different weighted mod votes has been floated: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/41062/… – random Apr 9 '10 at 15:58
  • I cannot reopen the question. This requires 5 votes from 5 people who each have unreasonable amount of rep. I don't know that many people who are that active on an obscure meta-website.

There are many active users here.

  • I cannot delete the question.

  • I cannot contact the admin, or indeed any admin, to ask them to undo their error.

This was not the doing of an admin, but rather the active community.

If you want your questions reopened, don't post duplicate questions, just reword it into shape so as enough people vote to reopen.

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I completely agree with the OP. I just had a question closed as off-topic by a moderator:


Perhaps formatting code in CodePlex discussions isn't programming related. But it would be nice if voting were involved in deciding that.

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    However, I would recommend you to post your own question, in such case, to deal with your case separately. – Gnoupi Jul 25 '10 at 8:39
  • @Gnoupi - I thought of that, but felt that it would be a duplicate on Meta. I ended up following @random's advice. But thanks! – TrueWill Jul 25 '10 at 17:10
  • every question is a different case, so it wouldn't be a duplicate. – Gnoupi Jul 25 '10 at 18:52

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