Yesterday I voted to close this question as Off-Topic. However there were already 4 votes to close as Duplicate and so, along with the Dup-link at the top of the question, the Close Reason got set as:

marked as duplicate by Blackwood, Jason Baker, Ward, Rogue Jedi, amflare

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

I'm not complaining about this, but rather, I'm curious how the site decides which reason to use when there are multiple vote reasons.

It seems obvious that the one with more votes is the chosen reason, but:

  1. What if there is a tie (2,2,1 or 1,1,1,1,1) between reasons? Which takes priority?
  2. Is there ever a close reason that will take precedence even if not receiving the majority of the votes?

This may be more appropriate on Meta.SE, but I thought I'd ask here first in case SFF has its own formula.

  • SFF doesn't have its own formula, but if you asked on main meta it'd be a dupe ... brb, finding the right main meta question to answer this ...
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


From main meta: the rule is as follows.

  • If the last close vote was cast by a hammer (moderator, or gold tag badger closing as duplicate), their close reason is displayed.
  • If one close reason outweighs the others in number of votes cast, that one is displayed.
  • If there's a tie in votes between two or more close reasons, the reason for the last vote cast (out of those involved in the tie) is displayed.
  • I found this by going to the "ask question" page on main meta, typing (after one or two failed attempts) "Multiple close reasons chosen - which goes on the question?" into the title box, spotting this duplicate in the list of similar questions, and following it to its dupe target.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 21:21
  • 2
    Actually I've seen some closed questions where two close reasons are displayed, along with the people who voted on them. Is there anything about this? Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 21:41
  • @Gallifreyan Ah, that'd be different custom off-topic close reasons. The rules in this answer determine whether it's off-topic, too broad, duplicate, etc. that are shown on the close banner.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 0:00
  • I think I have seen some cases where the list of names of users who voted to close only includes the users who voted for the chosen close reason. But in the example in the question, all five users are listed, including one who selected a different close reason. Is my memory playing tricks on me?
    – Blackwood
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:32
  • @Randal'Thor Do you know if there have been discussion to change this. I always felt it odd that my user name would appear next to a reason I did not select.
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 15:56
  • @Skooba I'm sure there has been at some point, probably on main meta, but my search-fu is weak today. You could always ask over on main meta and see what your question gets closed as a dupe of ;-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 22:02
  • @Blackwood You may be thinking of the same thing as Gallifreyan, where a particular custom off-topic close reason lists only the users who chose that reason.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 22:03
  • I don't think the cases I remember involved custom close reasons, but they may all have been on Stack Overflow, and perhaps there is a difference between the sites.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 22:06

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