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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 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 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.

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    Note that if you di use this tactic you will lose the ability to close the question subsequently, should it ever become necessary. – Alex Feb 15 at 5:11
  • If I recall correctly, there was a time a while back where I was repeatedly voting to reopen a particular question. Eventually a gold badge holder just reopened it and reclosed it, thus removing my ability to send it back to the reopen queue every couple of weeks. – Alex Feb 15 at 5:13
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    Same question on main meta (with an answer from me and another answer from a then-CM). – Rand al'Thor Feb 15 at 9:00
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    Generally I don't think this should be done, certainly when there's close votes for things other than it being a dupe. That said for the specific case of incorrect story id closures I don't mind it but I rarely find it's needed, most active voters seem to understand when to vote or not and a quick comment rectifies it anyway. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 15 at 9:08
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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.

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    I agree. I will say for the specific case of clearing only incorrect ID duplicate close votes I don't mind it but it's not necessary and a bit of education (short comment) is a lot better and goes further. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 15 at 9:13
  • Your second bullet actually works? I can clear four pending Opinion-Base votes by closing and reopening as a duplicate? – Alex Feb 15 at 12:42
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    @Alex Closing uses the close flags yeah whether it's for the same reason or not. Using a gold badge to clear close votes for different reasons though does seem like an abuse of the system. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 15 at 13:32
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    Using a 'gold-tag-duplicate-close-and-then-reopen' technique to remove four "opinion-based" votes seems like a very clear abuse of privilege. – Valorum Feb 15 at 21:31
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    I agree with everything you said, except IMHO this is just barely on the edge of acceptability when an elected diamond moderator does it (and I would prefer that they refrain from doing so unless there is an actual problem that they are trying to solve). – Kevin Feb 18 at 2:05
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    Agreed. I find the incorrectly placed close votes annoying too, but I personally wouldn't do this. – Organic Marble Feb 27 at 1:59

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