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This question has 4 votes to close as being an exact duplicate of this one. Within an hour of the question being asked, someone voted to close it as an exact duplicate AND Davide Giraudo pointed out, humbly, that it wasn't a duplicate at all. (Note in one case, the inequality is false and in the other case it is not!) Yet, the question still ended up with 4 close votes. I don't know if all 4 were before Davide's comment or not.

Now, I am not posting this to point out the errors of any specific people, as I'm not exactly sure who is involved. And, I'm sure I've probably done something similar in the past as well. But, I don't understand how 4 different people voted to close it without one realizing it was a completely different question with a different answer (in one case, the inequality is not true and in the other it is). Did none of them actually look?

I just want to ask, can we please be a little more careful and actually take 30 seconds to look at the question and the possible duplicate before voting? I have suggested the same at the question itself, but that is only going to apply to the few people who happened to view the question after I made the comments. You may have enough reputation to vote to close, but you still have a responsibility to be thorough enough as to actually look at the questions before you vote.

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    $\begingroup$ Here is another example, where the proposed duplicate answers only a part of one of 4 questions posed, yet, somehow, it has accumulated three votes to close as an exact duplicate (see comments there). I think part of the problem is the the forced linear traversal of the Review Queues is forcing people to make quick decisions. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Oct 26 '12 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ For the record, I did not vote to close on either of these. $\endgroup$ – Noah Snyder Oct 26 '12 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ According to this meta.stackexchange.com/a/145075 if we hit review the close vote questions and hit "Do Not Close", then 5 of those will kick the question out of the review queue and start the "aging" of the close votes, so that they will eventually disappear. I guess this is a pretty good solution, as there probably won't be a large amount of traffic to the question once it's out of the queue. And, then after a few days, the votes will be gone. $\endgroup$ – Graphth Oct 26 '12 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps part of the problem is that some folks who vote to close as duplicate do so trusting the assessment of the first voter, and do not bother to verify the claim of duplicity. Perhaps we should strongly encourage that one vote to close only if one has personally verified the duplicity. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Oct 26 '12 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ One should be careful about down voting. Let alone voting to close. $\endgroup$ – Makoto Kato Oct 27 '12 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ A very sad detritment to the richness of the site as a source of mathematical information. One useless question more would not even damage the searchability and usefulness of the site, while losing a question that isn't a carbon copy of another one does, in my humble opinion. $\endgroup$ – Self-teaching worker Dec 13 '14 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Closing as a duplicate if the post contains OP's own proof/solution $\endgroup$ – user234461 Mar 29 '18 at 12:59
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For situations where there's been a clear error (like this one, where ZachL realized later that he was wrong) there is a way to clear the close votes: a moderator can close and reopen. That seems like a reasonable thing to do in this case.

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  • $\begingroup$ At this point, anyone (except the original four) can close this. Then we campaign for reopen in chat/meta $\endgroup$ – The Chaz 2.0 Oct 26 '12 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ That sounds very reasonable. I'd be glad to hear from mods whether it really works like this. I am not sure, whether a user can vote to reopen if he previously vote for closing. In the past we sometimes tried to organize something like this in chat (via finding enough users having sufficient rep to close and reopen). See e.g. here or here for a more extravagant example. That question was closed, reopened, and closed (we wanted to change the close reason). $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 26 '12 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin: One can reopen if one has closed; but one cannot cast another vote to close after that. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 26 '12 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin: yes, it can really work like this, that is, mods sometimes do close and re-open to clear out the close votes. This most often happens when "not a real questions" got edited into "a real question" after significant changes. A clear-cut "not really duplicate" would be any good case where timely moderator action can be more effective. But in other cases where close-votes are a bit more subject to debate, we would prefer if a discussion is had on Meta rather than relying on moderators to make the borderline call. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Oct 29 '12 at 9:43
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Yes. I apologize for this mistake. I was the one who voted to close this first after @ZachL's comment. Davide Giraudo had not posted the comment then. Is there a way to undo the close vote?

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    $\begingroup$ Marvis, thanks. Again, this question wasn't at all to single out certain people. I am pretty sure I have done this same thing in the past, at least vote to close when I didn't really give much time to thinking about whether the questions really were duplicates. I just hope we can all be a little more careful in the future. $\endgroup$ – Graphth Oct 26 '12 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Graphth Sure. No problem. I didn't take it personally :). I remember having made a similar error in the past. It is good that you raised this issue, so that people will be more careful in future. $\endgroup$ – user17762 Oct 26 '12 at 21:09
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This is still a problem; every once in a while I see questions closed as duplicates because people didn't see the difference, sometimes even after it was pointed out in a comment.

A particular form of this that I would ask everyone to try to avoid is closing a question that asks about the error in a calculation as a duplicate of a question asking for the correct calculation. Understanding what went wrong with one's own calculation is much more helpful than being pointed to a different, correct calculation. If the question specifically asks what went wrong in a specific solution attempt, it's a completely different question from one that asks for a solution of the same problem. This question (which was closed as a duplicate and then reopened) is an example.

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually in this case, I think it was appropriate to close the question as duplicate. First the OP did not mention to check his calculations when the question was closed. It was added later after the question was closed. Also, the same technique used by the OP has been discussed in couple of answers in this question math.stackexchange.com/questions/326714 $\endgroup$ – user17762 May 6 '13 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ @user17762 I asked if I had made any mistake in my calculations ["Where am i wrong? Calculating the residues?"], before adding a remark to make it even more clear! So, even before the edit, my question was different to the one you are referring to. $\endgroup$ – user39280 May 6 '13 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I definitely made a mistake closing that one. Sorry! I'll be more careful. $\endgroup$ – Antonio Vargas May 6 '13 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ @user17762: dado is right, the question asked about the mistake in the calculations from the very beginning; please check the edit log. $\endgroup$ – joriki May 6 '13 at 23:45
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Here is another example of voting to close in haste. This question has 3 votes to close as being an exact duplicate of this one, though both are completely different questions. Kindly pause and check if the two questions are really duplicate of each other, before voting to close them as duplicates.

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