Many questions posted on the site are duplicates, but sometimes it's not easy to identify the most perfect match. Frequently, for instance, there is an older question, itself a closed duplicate, that has some excellent answers (and, of course, the close window links to further duplicates) but it seems sub-optimal to close by reference to another closed post. Of course one can add links to other duplicates in the comments, but that doesn't seem great either (comments being highly impermanent).

As a matter of global Stack Exchange policy, users with relevant gold tag privileges are able to edit the duplicate window and can use this ability to add multiple duplicates (see this question). I wonder why that ability is so restricted?

For excellent reasons, in my view, we are increasingly encouraged to close duplicate posts and I think it would be good to do so in the best, most informative way possible.

Any chance of opening the edit powers up more broadly? Or, is there another approach to a similar result?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I have on occasion listed several duplicates in the comments. Comments are only impermanent if a moderator chooses to delete them, and one hopes no moderator would remove such a list. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 10:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Apart from gold badge holders, moderators can edit the list of duplicates, too. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 10:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is a common enough problem. A possibility is to develop a mechanism for inviting gold badge holders to take a look. I will do my best to assist wherever I can. I am a bit hesitant to use the dupehammer on the occasion when I have been involved in a dupe target - if only because it is questionable way to promote one's own answers. But when there are many targets, it should be fine. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson. That's certainly been my policy, and I suppose I'll stick with it. Still, linking to multiple duplicates seems better and I'm not sure that power is so restricted. Doesn't seem easier to abuse than standard closing ability... $\endgroup$
    – lulu
    Jul 31, 2022 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ Would a dedicated chatroom be useful? It is a bit kludgy as an interface, but may be better than pinging individual gold badge holders. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 11:00
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen. Thank you! Like you, I dislike using the gold tag closing power. It seems too final. Sure, it works for exact matches, but often there are gray areas and I hate to preempt debate. $\endgroup$
    – lulu
    Jul 31, 2022 at 11:01
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Among the existing rooms, I would guess that CURED (previously known as CRUDE or Jury Duty) could be suitable for this purpose. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 11:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Why didn't I think of that?! After all, this is about closing and editing! $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 11:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Thanks for the suggestion. It makes sense, though the ability to cite multiple matches still seems more desirable to me. Is there any clear justification for the current policy? $\endgroup$
    – lulu
    Jul 31, 2022 at 11:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In my opinion, the solution would be to have a merge feature which merges the dupes with all rep going to the dupe target. $\endgroup$
    – Babu
    Jul 31, 2022 at 12:41
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @Beautifullyirrational Such a feature already exists. However, it is rarely used as it is rarely the case that two questions are exact duplicates. Even when the underlying mathematics is the same, the notation can often be different enough to make merging difficult (e.g. if variables are named differently, it can make merging inadvisable). Merging also requires moderator intervention. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jul 31, 2022 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Jyrki Your (gamification based) concern around dupe closing is mostly unfounded, so it's unfortunate that you let it greatly constrain your moderation powers. If one was only concerned about rep, then answering dupes (vs. closing) earns one far more rep. I gave you some rough numbers before to illustrate that. More graphically, this is obvious even from a casual glance at the slopes on my rep curve [cont'd....] $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ e.g. I gained 18.8K rep for the year ending 4/15/2020 but only about 8.9K rep over the prior year, where I handled 2.0 times more dupes than in the prior listed year. Thus doubling the dupe handling rate halved my rep rate. Going back further, I had 4.5 times the rep (40.4K) in the year ending 8/1/12 - with little dupe handling. I spent roughly the same amount of time on the site over those periods. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @BillDubuque. That is related, but it is about more than just points. To some extent I already knew that. IIRC us two are the only users with over 200 Announcer badges. True, those are not always (often not?) related to catching dupes. $\endgroup$ Aug 1, 2022 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Jyrki But rep is what you seemed to be most worried about in the past. What "more" is there now? If you don't like someone's choice of dupe targets then you are of course free to add your own. $\endgroup$ Aug 1, 2022 at 14:12


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .