Is there a process in place to dispute a "duplicate" flag?

The accepted answer on the question above indicates that I should take the following steps to appeal a duplicate flag on a question:

  • Edit the question such that it's clearer what you're asking. Be specific.
  • Raise a question here in meta, explaining to the community why you feel that it's not a duplicate and why it should be reopened.

Earlier today I asked How can I pass gas with professionalism on days when it is a constant occurrence?

Shortly thereafter, the post was flagged a duplicate to this question. How can I manage my need to take short bathroom breaks in a professional setting?

If the questions are truly a duplicate as presently voted, I should logically conclude that the only way to professionally pass gas in the office is to do so in the restroom. Furthermore, no number of trips to the bathroom to pass gas is too many.

If that turns out to be the answer, I will be glad to have gained the insight. However, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity for the community to weigh in with votes on well worded answers to my question.

I searched for other questions related to the topic of flatulence in the workplace, and everything to date has discussed the problem from the observer's perspective. To date there has been no meaningful discussion on the topic from the perspective of the flatulent professional.

I could make a number of arguments for particular reasons why the two questions are not duplicates, but I honestly feel a little silly doing so. I feel like adding these "clarifications" to my question as requested would make my question worse, not better.

  • Someone might counsel me to go outside to pass gas, but the asker of the other question is not likely to be told to go outside to urinate.

  • Someone might opine that there is nothing wrong with passing gas in my office if the door is closed and the window is open (currently the only answer,) but no one is likely to suggest that the other asker urinate in her office with the door closed.

I understand in reading the meta question referenced above, that duplicate flags are largely a function of community vote. I would like to kindly request that the community reconsider its vote and reopen my question.

  • Would it be uncouth to attract the attention of individuals who have flagged my question by mentioning them in the comments here?
    – Lumberjack
    May 6, 2016 at 22:24
  • 5
    It wouldn't be uncouth, but it also wouldn't ping people. Thank you for bringing your question to meta; that's the best way to get community feedback. (Or sometimes chat, but meta is more structured and people can vote.) May 6, 2016 at 22:47
  • I kind of agree they are different but I just don't think it is a good question.
    – paparazzo
    May 6, 2016 at 23:24
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    @Paparazzi Why not? Have you never had a day where you were especially flatulent? Do you not feel that it can ever be a concern in the workplace? Or is the issue not with the topic, but rather with the way in which I approached the question? I am genuinely interested in hearing your feedback.
    – Lumberjack
    May 6, 2016 at 23:28
  • @Lumberjack This is site where people get to have opinions and I think I expressed mine in a polite way. Can be a concern in the workplace does not make it a good question.
    – paparazzo
    May 6, 2016 at 23:46
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    @Paparazzi Interesting that you feel the need to express your right to an opinion in response to my request for your opinion. As for whether or not your comment is polite: I would dispute the politeness of any criticism that does not include some constructive element or detail beyond a declaration of your dislike. I'm still trying to understand what if any issues you have with my question.
    – Lumberjack
    May 7, 2016 at 0:22
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    @Paparazzi That said, I am perfectly fine with you being impolite. I am more interested in your opinion than I am in your decorum. It seems to me that the latter is impeding the former at the moment.
    – Lumberjack
    May 7, 2016 at 0:24
  • Now it is need and dispute the politeness. To me you are tolling and I don't wish to interact with you. I get you will disagree and I don't care.
    – paparazzo
    May 7, 2016 at 0:58
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    @Paparazzi I can see where my questions might be misconstrued as trolling. I have no doubt that my arguments will do nothing to change your opinion, so instead I'll invite you to read the philosophical article I linked Aristotle, On Trolling, and bid you adieu.
    – Lumberjack
    May 7, 2016 at 2:05
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    I totally love this site for this! "This is not a good question." - Why not? "You are trolling, I don't need to explain."
    – Masked Man
    May 7, 2016 at 14:17
  • I think you are correct that yours is the only flatulence question here from the point of view of the originator. Did you get a sufficient answer to your question anyway? May 7, 2016 at 16:44
  • @joestrazzere it was closed so quickly, I don't feel like the question has been fairly considered. A number of people have made helpful suggestions but the question was closed, so their only option was to answer in the comments. A lot of the people commenting seemed to hold the opinion that it is not unprofessional to pass gas in the office, and others felt so strongly that the restroom is the only place for flatulence that they sought to silence the discussion. In short, no. I do not, though I do thank you asking.
    – Lumberjack
    May 7, 2016 at 17:29
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    If the community voted to close it, that means that enough people considered it to meet the site threshold for closing. If prople disagree with that decision, they can vote to reopen and if that threshold is met it will be reopened; if they don't do so, that means there is a consensus that the decision was correct. Standard Stack Exchange process. In many cases, a question can be edited to improve it and encourage reopening.
    – keshlam
    May 7, 2016 at 17:44
  • Is Gas-x available in your part of the world? If flatulence is this big of a problem for you, it might be wise to keep some in your desk. May 7, 2016 at 23:18
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    @IshanMahajan we shouldn't be trying to answer the original question on meta, but meta is the place to discuss community decisions, including closures, reopening, how to improve a question so it can fit better, etc. We even have a tag, specific-question, for this purpose. Jan 1, 2017 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


To answer your question, NO, your question is not a duplicate.

Rampant closing of questions because they're supposedly dupes is an issue on all the stackexchange sites and it is especially acute for subject matter that is subjective or edgy. That is not to say that stackexchange sites such as Workplace aren't incredibly valuable resources, it is just a defect and there's no workaround without changing the way things work in these communities (for the record I do accept things the way they are now).

The problem is that you have a small number of people that honestly feel they're providing a service by shutting down questions that don't meet their highly personal and rigid interpretation of the rules. For some, the very idea that there's "rules" means it goes without saying that any interpretation is necessarily rigid. Yes, even to the point of absurdity. In this case, some folks saw a parallel between yours and another question and it triggered a "mark-as-dupe" response. I've seen far worse examples which cross the line into comical rather than merely wrong as this closing was.

In a gameified environment, such rules-oriented folks are going to exert a greater influence than people who don't care so much about scores and rules. Valid questions will be closed far faster than they will be re-opened.

The solution is to not get bent out of shape because of it. Don't take it personally. Yes, your question was closed, but now there are already 2 re-open votes. In the meantime, people will still comment.

  • 3
    I made another edit to hopefully focus the question more. The way it was worded initially was pretty much a duplicate, but I think at this point it's a slightly different enough situation that they are separate questions.
    – enderland
    May 7, 2016 at 13:36
  • 3
    Good answer - here at The Workplace, like other stackexchange sites, it is what it is. May 7, 2016 at 16:41
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    Gamification works against closing since people want rep and badges, which they get for their answers, and you can't answer a closed question. People close because they genuinely believe the question should be closed. You can disagree with them without mocking and belittling them. May 14, 2016 at 19:14
  • @KateGregory, in the case of "closing-for-duplicates," I've seen far too many instances which are outrageous by any reasonable interpretation. Sometimes I even wondered if there was a bot making the dupe judgements. In such cases, those who "truly believe" a question is dupe should explain themselves, a checkbox is not enough. I don't mean to belittle anyone.
    – teego1967
    May 15, 2016 at 11:50

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