It is my understanding that when someone proposed a duplicate and the OP accepts that as a duplicate that it's put on hold by Community.

So if the person asking the question is calling it a duplicate too, why is it still available to reopen? It seems to me that the OP accepting the duplicate is admitting that his question already has an answer and is no longer need. There's no point in editing it so it's not a duplicate because apparently the OP is satisfied that his question is answered in the linked question.

Also, I realize that Community isn't really a person, but it's still considered a moderator. Can they even reopen it since it was closed by a moderator-ish account?

  • Good question. I recall that even if a mod or someone with Dupe Hammer (Gold tag badge) closes a question as dupe it still can go through the reopening voting process. I also recall that yes, Community is not a person, but is still a Mod, and also takes all reputation gains and losses from Anon and Community Posts. – DarkCygnus Oct 18 '17 at 23:07
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    Maybe sometimes OPs are wrong? I know I've seen OPs move their questions to other sites on the basis of one comment suggesting it, even if that move isn't actually a good idea. New users are probably more likely to follow guidance on dupes/migrations/etc, even when the advice is bad, because they don't always know enough to spot and articulate the counter-argument. I'm just guessing. – Monica Cellio Oct 19 '17 at 0:39
  • This usually revolves around SE embracing the "death of the author" concept. – Lilienthal Oct 19 '17 at 9:16
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    Is this a feature request in disguise? It can be reopened because it's closed. Is there currently any way to close a question such that it can't be reopened? Users also can't delete their own questions under a lot of circumstances. – Bernhard Barker Oct 20 '17 at 20:11
  • Unfortunately, SE software is perfect and they don't like anyone finding faults with their "sound design principles" so nothing is going to change per se, but purely from a theoretical standpoint, it makes sense to get rid of the option for OP to close their question as duplicate without "community consensus". By leaving the door open to reopen a question, we concede that it is possible the OP's decision to close the question was not correct, so why bother making a special allowance for the OP? Let duplicates be always marked by community consensus. – Masked Man Oct 20 '17 at 20:22
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    @dukeling no, I'm not that subtle. Yes, something can be closed and not reopened as I understand it, such as when a moderator does it. Then it becomes locked as I understand it also. – Chris E Oct 20 '17 at 21:08
  • @Dukeling "Is there currently any way to close a question such that it can't be reopened?" Yes; or at least, something close to it. It's called locking. A question (and all of its answers) can be locked by a moderator, which prevents editing, answering, voting, commenting, and just about everything else except reading. A locked question can be unlocked by a moderator, or the lock can be set to time out after some predetermined amount of time; the latter can be used in case of "edit wars" or content disputes, typically accompanied by a Meta post to hash things out. – user Oct 24 '17 at 13:59
  • @MichaelKjörling I know about locking, I was basically just saying making it unable to be reopened in this case would probably make it the only exception to the rule. Perhaps an exception here makes sense, but I wouldn't expect SE to necessarily have spent a lot of time considering whether this should be an exception, thus there might not be a good answer to the why it is the way it is. Most posts I've seen that were closed by mods weren't also locked. – Bernhard Barker Oct 24 '17 at 14:24
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    "There's no point in editing it so it's not a duplicate because apparently the OP is satisfied that his question is answered in the linked question." - in general, I would tend to agree. But the prevailing sentiment of The Workplace seems to be that the OP doesn't "own" the question, the community does. That's why major edits can happen, and why the OP's opinion on their own question is no more important than anyone else's. – Joe Strazzere Nov 18 '17 at 21:47

So if the person asking the question is calling it a duplicate too, why is it still available to reopen?

This happens because the powers-that-be at SE did not think this through, and they tend to be rather inconsistent with their philosophy.

The SE philosophy considers "the person who asked the question" ("asker") as nobody special in some cases but not others. For instance, the "asker" accepting a duplicate suggestion immediately closes the question, but reopening requires "consensus" of the community (or a mod-hammer).

This inconsistency can be easily solved by taking away the close hammer from the "asker". The goal of Stack Exchange is to build a repository of questions and answers, and all the posts belong to the "community". In all other cases, it requires consensus from 5 community "representatives" to close a question. Hence, it is illogical for one user to have a close hammer in case of duplicates.

Ironically, moderators who are given special privileges generally refrain from using their close hammer until 2 or 3 other users have cast close votes.

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    Why the downvote? This is the correct answer. The SE guys really did not think this through. On the one hand, they say we build a repository of Q&A to be useful for "future readers" (not just the OP), and then they also give additional importance to "does the suggested duplicate solve the OP's problem". It has to be one or the other, and they are pretty inconsistent as to whether the OP is special or not, with respect to "future readers". What if the OP's problem is solved by the linked duplicate, but "future readers" don't think so? – Masked Man Oct 20 '17 at 16:52
  • I am not sure it was like that from the beginning, maybe it's just to spare some close votes of the others people where there is very likely no need to waste more close votes for something that has 0.01% probability to need to be reopened. – Walfrat Oct 25 '17 at 13:14
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    @Walfrat The thing is ... why should I get a close-hammer just because I was the author of the question. Maybe I think the suggested duplicate solves my problem, but it actually doesn't. Anyway, that is not even relevant. – Masked Man Oct 25 '17 at 17:21

So if the person asking the question is calling it a duplicate too, why is it still available to reopen?

Initially I was satisfied by the answer given by Masked Man. However, a situation today made me change my mind (still think that this is something that has not been thoroughly analyzed).

Although it makes sense to say "If the one asking the question agrees on a Dupe, then why insist on denying so and ask for reopen?". This makes sense because only OP know what he really is asking or wants.

If that user is satisfied with the dupe why not let it rest there?

Because that user is not the only one on the site, and surely not the only one that could benefit from the post. Maybe the OP just wanted some self-validation, or accepted the dupe in haste because he saw some relatively useful answer over there, or just freaked out and accepted the dupe to put an end to the attention on their question (like the interesting trend of new users to accept the only answer they got on their off-topic, down-voted, and closed post, "just because" or as a "meh, thanks anyway").

As per the post that made me think this over again (yes, I was in the middle of writing an extended and thoughtful answer when it got closed), what worries me is that the user accepted it because he said (quoting) "I believe that question is close enough!" ... close enough?! Although it is subjective, "close enough" is hardly the same a "duplicate".

So, what about all those other users facing the same or similar problem when they find this post just to see it is a Dupe of one that is "close enough"? Will this be also close enough for them? If they are not, they will probably go on and ask such question, but chances are that it will be (again) marked as Dupe of the Dupe of a "close enough" question that someone lightly suggested or that the OP accepted without much consideration. We could continue with this mental experiment, but we can already see it going downhill.

This is why I think that allowing those posts to be reopened helps solve this possible problem, by allowing the Community to determine if such posts are indeed close enough a duplicate, or if it is worth reopening it as it is of high value for the site and future readers. Maybe the OP got his question partially answered (or settled for such), but this is no reason to limit the answers it may get just because one user is "satisfied" with it.

  • I am a bit confused by your opening statement. You say that you were satisfied with my answer and you changed your mind ... but the rest of your answer just seems to elaborate my point. – Masked Man Nov 18 '17 at 13:17
  • @MaskedMan really? I see them quite different. You basically say that this was not thought through (true) and that only the asker seems to matter, but I elaborated more on why should not just the asker matter (something you didn't mention. You stated what was notable here, that the asker has priority, but never expanded to include why or why not it should be like that... or that's how I see it, hope my answer didn't bother you :) – DarkCygnus Nov 18 '17 at 13:23
  • I am not "bothered" by your answer. I was just trying to understand what you were saying. My point is the same, the asker should not be given a close hammer. One of my comments below my answer says so, I guess I should expand my answer to include that. – Masked Man Nov 18 '17 at 14:11

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