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Sorry about the silly title - it just sort of happened that way and then I couldn't resist the alliteration.


Tag badges are awarded when you earn at least 1000 total score for at least 200 non-community wiki answers with a specific tag. A "privilege" gained due to this is the ability to use a close-vote hammer. This means that users with this badge may simply close questions at will without the need for up to 4 more votes from other users. Of course moderators also have this ability automatically for all questions. I believe this ability is colloquially known as a "hammer".

This privilege is great when it is clear the question should be closed. However there have been situations where I have wanted to cast a close vote but felt that I wanted other user's votes as well before the question is closed. In other words, it can be argued that these hammers give dictatorial rights to high-rep users (and mods) while effectively taking away democratic rights.

The end-result of this gives hammer-wielders a choice:

  1. Don't close-vote at all

  2. Use close-vote hammer even if you want other users input, then question whether you really did the right thing (potentially scaring off new users)

  3. Wait for other users' close-votes and then catch the 4th or 5th close-vote - in reality I usually end up missing this window and so this is basically option 1.

I don't really have any great suggestions for how to deal with this. I guess one possibility is a to allow a choice of vote-or-hammer, but somehow that seems unlikely to fly.


There is related discussion in meta.SE, but I think PPCG.SE is a bit special in this regard in that the majority of questions are tagged , and so users earn this hammer sooner.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the problem is how we think of closing questions. On hold should mean that the question isn't ready for posting, not that it's inherently flawed. \$\endgroup\$ – lirtosiast Jan 6 '16 at 21:33
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First and foremost, from When did I get close-vote superpowers?:

The rules are:

  • You can instantly close as a duplicate any question that was originally asked with a tag you have a gold badge for.
  • You can instantly reopen any question closed as a duplicate that was originally asked with a tag you have a gold badge for.

That means your close votes for other reasons (off topic, too broad, etc.) are still not binding, and you can cast them as usual.

Regarding the dupe hammer, you don't have a duplicate vote anymore; don't treat it like one. If you think that a question is a duplicate, close it. Yes, this will be binding, but it's not final. The question can just as easily be reopened if the community disagrees with you.

The principal effect of closing a question is preventing it from getting answers, and the sooner that happens, the better.

Duplicates can be pretty hard to identify, so if you found a similar question but are not convinced that its a duplicate, leave a comment and let others decide.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Out of interest, how does this apply to mod-hammers - are mods able cast non-hammer votes as if they were non-mod users? \$\endgroup\$ – Digital Trauma Jan 6 '16 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DigitalTrauma no. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Jan 6 '16 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, mods cannot vote. All mod actions are automatically binding. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Jan 6 '16 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ But at least the site engine could add a warning in the close dialog. :( I find it horrible UX to show the same dialog then perform a different action. \$\endgroup\$ – manatwork Nov 7 '16 at 16:06

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