I have been slowly collecting gold-badge super-powers in a few categories. I am not comfortable with them. I like to be able to vote on a post, and make the community aware of it and either agree or disagree. I do not like to veto posts single-handedly. I wouldn't trust me with this authority. I don't like having to check tags thoroughly before suggesting a duplicate because I might instead be decreeing a duplicate by mistake. It has happened before, and will happen again.

Can I give them up in some convenient way, and go back to being a normal, voting plebian?

I have seen a few posts here asking whether specific random coincidences of voting and retagging can make people lose, or avoid gaining these privileges. But I'm not asking if I may lose them due to some specific happenstance. I'm asking whether I can actively, voluntarily give them up.

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    $\begingroup$ You can become a moderator, and then you don't have superpowers anymore, they are just under your normal powers... But this is like saying that you don't want to have a special handgun, so you bought an entire army battalion's worth of weapons. Maybe not the way to go... $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    May 14, 2020 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ You are seeking the rare Gold(badge) Kryptonite! $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    May 14, 2020 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ This feature request on Meta Stack Exchange: How Do I Opt Out of Privileges? Also related: Please remind me when I am wielding the dupe hammer. Similar request for mods is marked (status-declined): Add a way for moderators to cast a normal, non binding close/open vote. $\endgroup$ May 14, 2020 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ I have noticed that one of the comments to the feature request mentioned in the previous comment mentions this post on Stack Apps: Close hammer warning. With the script, a green icon with a hammer appears in some places if you're using the dupehammer. (According to the description - I haven't tried it myself.) $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 8:50
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    $\begingroup$ The dupehammer can also be seen as a sign that because you have a gold badge you are expected to do your share of spotting duplicates. Arguably that should apply to us all much sooner :-/ $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder. If you get rid of all your reputation by offering bounties, do you lose your superpowers? I recall long ago someone always answered as a comment, not an answer. When criticized for that, he said he did it in order to protest the reputation system. $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    May 16, 2020 at 14:35

2 Answers 2


First and foremost:

You are not alone feeling/thinking that on some occasions you would prefer only to cast an ordinary vote!

I don't think you can forsake the superpowers, but you can use them responsibly. I don't think there are any normative guidelines for this. Instead I list a few thoughts I recall having, and practices I have tried to implement.

So I am not really answering your question. Items 1 and 3 on my list in a sense amount to not using the superpower with its full force, and it sounds like that may be what you want.

I don't claim that all of these would be well thought out. I am also trying to learn from this discussion:

  1. If you are at all uncertain about the duplicate candidate, you can just post a link to it in a comment under the question. May be add a statement that you think this is a duplicate, but don't want to make the decision alone? The next dupehammerer arriving to the scene will then take that into account and act more confidently. Voters without the dupehammer privilege who agree/disagree with your assessment can then @-ping you if so inclined (and/or vote to close).
  2. I am always hesitant to use the dupehammer if I have answered the intended duplicate target myself. To me that has the air of blowing my own trumpet. I am not claiming that I would never close a question in such a case, but then I need to be extra sure. Almost irrespective of how nice the tune of my trumpet was on the occasion.
  3. You can also @-ping another privileged user to the scene (somewhere else) to poll their opinion.
  4. Together with the dupehammer privilege you also get the ability to link to several duplicate target messages. I am still learning the use of this tool, but it is absolutely great! Often I run into a case where I cannot decide between two (or more) targets. In an ideal world the two target threads might be merged, but not here. Also, it alleviates the pangs of guilt I have when using a thread I answered myself as the target. If some aspects of the question are handled better in answers to yet another variant, you can also link to that. All these duplicate targets are displayed equally.
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @Brahadeesh. We have advanced beyond associating hairstyles with guilt, I think :-) $\endgroup$ May 15, 2020 at 9:04

Theoretically possible but not encouraged: Can I get my gold badge revoked?

If you worry about closing posts mistakenly as duplicate, you can go to the CURED chat room1:

For feedback/discussion/requests of Close/Undelete/Reopened/Edit/Delete for questions and answers on Math SE

Just as asking an unsatisfactory question is not committing a crime on the main site, making a mistake in closing a few posts is really not a big deal: people can vote to reopen it. Moreover, reopening a post does not necessarily at all mean that those who reopen it are "fighting" against the users who closed it; they are simply hold different opinions toward the post and use their rights to vote. (Being aware of this, people may avoid lots of unnecessary voting wars and feel less offensive.)

  1. One user was "complaining" on meta that there is not enough participation of the chat room while there is too much "all talk". Mistaken/Uncertain votes of duplicates can certainly be discussed there.

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