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(Prompted specifically by How did Chell end up at Aperture?, but this is by no means the first time this has happened.)

I am concerned that sometimes questions get closed inappropriately, particularly as duplicate, when the questions are asking similar, but different things. If I had 3000 rep, I could cast a re-open vote, but I do not. What is the recommended mechanism for drawing attention to questions if we believe they have been inappropriately or prematurely closed? I usually leave a comment on the question itself, but this does not in general draw attention of those previously uninvolved who may be qualified to make a judgement.

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You can bring these up here on meta. The community and moderators reads meta, so posts here bring issues to our attention.

You can also head to chat and ask for the high-rep users there to intervene.

Alternatively, flag for moderator attention. I'd recommend using the 'other' flag reason and type up an explanation for why the question should be reopened.

  • And don't forget chat. We've closed and opened questions just from current chatters without mod intervention, plus it gives a chance for discussion. – Kevin Jun 27 '12 at 0:03
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The right thing to do if you object to a closure is to

  • vote to reopen if you can, otherwise flag;
  • gather supporters (try chatting) who will also vote;
  • ask on meta (which you did).

You'd better explain why you don't think the question should be closed. Often, you should edit the question to improve it, then vote/flag/… to reopen. For a duplicate, you should point out the differences between the two questions. This is especially important if you flag: moderators may not be familiar with the material, so make sure your explanations are comprehensible by someone who knows nothing about the work that the question is about.


In this specific case, I don't see such a difference between the questions. It is possible that I'm missing something because I know nothing about the Portal universe. It seems to me that both questions are taking for granted that Chell worked at Aperture, and are wondering why she was picked to confront GlaDOS in preference to other Aperture employees. What's the difference between “why Chell was chosen as a test subject” and “how she ended up in a position to be a test subject”?

  • I'm familiar with Portal, and I don't see the difference either. The dupe's answer links and summarizes a primary source that fully answers the closed question. – user1027 Jun 26 '12 at 23:02
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    The new question is wider in scope than the previous one, and is not fully answered by the linked source. The answer to the first question is "because Doug Ratmann changed the test order" the answer to the second is "because Chell was visiting the Aperture facility on the day GladOS took control as part of bring your daughter to work day". I'm not sure I can make the difference any clearer than that. – Christi Jun 26 '12 at 23:07
  • @Christi To me who isn't familiar with Portal, it still sounds like essentially the same question. But I'll defer to Keen's judgement, since he knows the topic. – user56 Jun 26 '12 at 23:13
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    @Keen - To me it looks obvious that the questions are not duplicates of each other. One asks how Chell was selected from the pool of people available, while the other asks how Chell came to be in that pool of people in the first place. These are very different questions. – Mark Booth Jun 26 '12 at 23:22
  • @MarkBooth I did not get that impression from reading the questions. Perhaps you should reword the closed one to make the distinction more clear. – Kevin Jun 27 '12 at 0:02
  • @MarkBooth What Kevin said. The last two paragraphs of the closed question are entirely covered by the dupe's answer. The first paragraph is vague enough that I can see how you're reading it. Edit it to make it clearer, and we'll reopen it. – user1027 Jun 27 '12 at 0:11
  • @Keen - I've submitted an edit suggestion, hopefully that will makes the differenciation clearer. – Mark Booth Jun 27 '12 at 0:29
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    @MarkBooth Thanks (and I see Keen has reopened the question), but for future reference, never remove the “possible duplicate” bit at the beginning. This is done automatically if the question is reopened. – user56 Jun 27 '12 at 0:30
  • @Gilles - Thanks for letting me know, I've a lot more experience on other sites than here, but have never needed to edit a closed question like this before, so it's good to know what's expected. – Mark Booth Jun 27 '12 at 0:33

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