I was browsing the front page when I came across this question

Why does Chewbacca’s bowcaster fire red projectiles?

I was tempted to answer it, but I found that it had been closed by a moderator as a duplicate of

Why was Han Solo acting like he’s never seen Chewbacca’s bowcaster before?

I was quite surprised to see that less than a few hours later, the question had been re-opened, and then promptly answered by the same moderator who originally closed it

Is this appropriate?

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    The questions are different in nature, although the awnser is the same, Chewbacca had different bowcasters. Despite that, the questions are different and as such it should never have been locked in the first place. Now, locking and then reopenning just to be the sole person with an answer is plain wrong (unless there's some other reason) – Oak Jan 6 '16 at 11:20
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    Hmm. I feel like my title here was (unintentionally, please be assured) misleading, since it implied that it was opened and closed by the same person. – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 12:46
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    @Oak "although the answer is the same" <--- this is exactly our criteria for closing a question as a duplicate. – KutuluMike Jan 6 '16 at 13:17
  • It's kind of misleading, yes =) In any case, the moderator who locked was wrong (it happens), once that mistake was corrected, I don't see any reason why people can't post, and as such I see problems here =) – Oak Jan 6 '16 at 13:18
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    @Oak except the person who locked it had nothing to do with the unlocking, so where's the problem? – phantom42 Jan 6 '16 at 13:19
  • Mike Edenfield, that's not the criteria. It's the same as, for example, one question being what's Ravenclaw's colours and what's the colour of a Patronous in Harry Potter movies (In some ocasions they appear to be blue) – Oak Jan 6 '16 at 13:20
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    how else can this title possibly be parsed? are you implying that we, as voting users, waited until thaddeus had an answer and then voted it open for him? – phantom42 Jan 6 '16 at 13:21
  • @Oak It is the criteria. Your unrelated example not withstanding, if the earlier answer specifically answers the later question, even if the questions were asked differently, our policy has always been to close them as duplicates. That's a Stack Exchange network-wide policy, as far as I am aware. – KutuluMike Jan 6 '16 at 13:21
  • @oak stack, and site policy, at least on most sites i'm familiar with, is to base dupes on exact questions OR answers that cover the same information. whether it's the best policy or not is certainly up for debate, but is a subject for a separate meta post. – phantom42 Jan 6 '16 at 13:23
  • @phantom42 - I've edited the title since the original one didn't reflect what I was driving it. – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 13:30
  • @phantom42 That's the point. Asking why X happens (red shots) is different why is Y surprised at Z (Han surprised of the bowcaster's power). The awnser is that the bowcaster in this movie is different from the previous one , except the questions are different in nature, hence why they are not dupes – Oak Jan 6 '16 at 13:49
  • @Oak No one is arguing that these questions are dupes. We are explaining that your reasoning of "although the answer is the same" shouldn't be used to close dupes is contrary to existing policy. – phantom42 Jan 6 '16 at 13:51
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    Am I the only person who finds it cosmically ironic that Richard is complaining about a question closed by SS3, and attributing that to a moderator? I'm seeing a herd of identical black cats. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 6 '16 at 17:06
  • @DVK - It was closed by Thaddeus, and reopened by SS – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 17:22
  • @Richard - ah. The irony diminishes but remains alive. Much like Starkiller's sun in the novelization – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 6 '16 at 17:26

Looking at the timeline for the post, Thaddeus initially closed it as a dupe using his mod-hammer, but it was re-opened by five regular users, including myself, Mike, Null, Jason Baker, and SS.

I see no wrongdoing or abuse of powers here.

Regarding the updated question, I still see zero issue here. The question was determined, by proper channels, that the questions were indeed different. Additionally, the answer posted by Thaddeus was not a copy/paste job or matched answer from the other question (which would have made it a dupe). Once Thaddeus (or any other user) understands what the difference between the questions is, I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to answer the new question as they see fit.

Regarding the moral issue of answering a question you've previously voted to close, so long as the user is not still arguing that it's a dupe/off-topic at the time of answering, I still see no issue.

People change their minds. Having previously thought an opposite way should in no way preclude a user from writing an answer at a later time. Even if they haven't changed their minds, I still see no problem. This is what appears to have happened here. Thaddeus closed it, users explained why the closure was wrong, users voted it back open, and he answered it.

If the voting user was still obstinately arguing that the question was a dupe/off-topic, and wrote an answer anyways, I'd see where some users may be put off by their behavior, but if a user wants to write a useful answer, I see no reason why they shouldn't.

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    I will note that I find it disingenuous when users vote to close a question as a dupe or off topic (especially if they're voting as off topic) and still answer the question before it's been closed, but that's not what happened here. – phantom42 Jan 6 '16 at 13:37
  • re: Your comment, aside from the timing, surely that's much the same thing? – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 13:40
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    the timing is critical, though. "i think it's a dupe." "nope, we don't think so." "ok, here's an answer" is different than "i think it's a dupe, but here's an answer, and i'm going to shut it down so no one else can answer". you can argue that the "it's a dupe" user should take a moral stand and not answer, but that's not something i'd want to establish as a rule. – phantom42 Jan 6 '16 at 13:44
  • That's what I was aiming for, the moral issue. Not to create a new rule. – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 13:53
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    also, don't lose sight of the fact that a user corrected the moderator who thought it was a dupe, at which point I see no moral problem with said moderator deciding "ok, let me go find a better answer than." – KutuluMike Jan 6 '16 at 13:58
  • yeah, this isn't an instance where the voting user/mod was defiantly arguing that it was a dupe. – phantom42 Jan 6 '16 at 14:00

Thaddeus closed the question as a duplicate, I'd assume believing - on the face of it - that it was a duplicate. However, the community disagreed:

Post Reopened by SS-3, Jason Baker, Null, Mike Edenfield, phantom42

Note that Thaddeus wasn't (directly) involved in the process of re-opening the question. Since five trusted members of the community decided the question deserved to stand on its own, and Thaddeus had an answer, he's perfectly allowed to post an answer. I see no malice or wrongdoing here.


The answer was originally closed by a moderator because the earlier question had an answer. However, after closing, a user pointed out in a comment that the earlier question's answer was no longer canon, and the newer question wanted a canon answer. Thus, the earlier answer didn't answer the newer question. So the question was nominated for reopening (I am one of the ones who voted to reopen).

Once it got reopened, answering it was fair game by anyone.

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