Sometimes inexperienced users flag story identification questions for closing before an answer is confirmed. Since this is contrary to our policy for such questions, I have recently taken to using my ability as one of the handful of users with a gold story-identification badge to close and then reopen such question, purely to flush out any close votes that have accumulated. However, the last time I did this, I felt a pang of concern that maybe I was misusing the privilege of adjudicating story-identification duplicates. So I thought I would bring the issue up here, in the hopes of getting a decisive community answer as to whether the practice I have developed is acceptable.
No, I'd say it isn't.
First of all you'll note that the feature announcement for the dupehammer doesn't mention it as one of one's duties/perks.
Secondly, what exactly is the harm caused by these pending close votes? At worst the question gets closed, then one can dupehammer into reopening, which is fine and in line with the feature's purposes. More likely, the votes stay there to rot and expire, may they be justified or not, and... Nothing harmful happens.
Furthermore, on the very principle, who are we to invalidate folks' voices in such a way? Yes, some of these votes stem from a misunderstanding of the duplicate policy, but then "flushing" them:
- deprive their authors of the ability to retract their votes, a feature they might not know of if they haven't been around long enough to know the policy
- if some of these votes are for the "Unclear" or "Too Broad" or "Primarily Opinion-Based" reason, you're flushing them as well with the other votes, and that is not in the expected scope of the dupehammer.
In my opinion, this whole practice basically equates to "your vote is not one of the authorized ones, so I'll be silencing it away" for no valid reason. I'd be okay with that coming from an elected moderator, but not from someone who gained that power solely thanks to "content written" score and quantity. Votes are votes, discuss them all you want, educate folks, let them think twice about it if they messed up but don't shut them down this way.
If I go to vote on the presidential election and put a wrong name/no name on my ballot, my vote may not be counted as it's null, but this won't affect the abstention rate.