A few people flagged the last couple of questions I asked as duplicates of other questions, while they clearly weren't duplicates and the people flagging it had apparently misunderstood/missed the part of my explanation that was explaining why the question is not a duplicate. Yet, flagging a question as duplicate is so easy and I don't see any measure that prevents users from doing that.

When the question is closed, it takes time for the question to be reopened upon a request for moderator intervention. By the time the question is reopened, the person asking the question has missed a few days of time for acting on the matter and the question is already an old one so the chances of getting the answer after reopening would be very low.

Wouldn't it be better if there was a measure to discourage users from false flagging and encourage them to read the questions more carefully before flagging it as duplicate? There is a chance that it's only the flagger's misunderstanding, but in the cases mentioned, the questioner is punished.


2 Answers 2


I don't agree with the view that both questions are full-fledged duplicates. However, I would encourage you to thoroughly edit the second question (or write a new one) and entirely focus on the issue that makes it partly different from the first, namely the probable impact of mounting a legal challenge on the attitude of the admissions committee toward you and your application. I would omit the backstory as far as possible, which also has the added benefit of making the question more generally applicable.

Coming to your actual meta-question, there are already two mechanisms in place

to discourage users from false flagging and encourage them to read the questions more carefully,

namely the requirement of five close votes and the possibility of reopening. The first mechanism makes sure that alledged duplicates are quadruple-checked after the initial flag. Even then, the second mechanism allows correcting remaining errors, in addition to taking into account revisions of the question that were made after it has been closed. Also note that after the first duplicate flag, you are prompted to edit your question to clarify why it isn’t a duplicate before closure.

It is true that on urgent matters, this can be frustrating, but I consider this a lesser evil compared to less thorough vetting, which would lead to many more closings, reopenings, and ultimately more duplicates.

  • 1
    Also, you may want to weave this into your answer.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 11:50
  • Note that there are some cases in which only a single vote is sufficient to close a question as duplicate, though. I believe that it applies to (1) moderators and (2) users who hold a gold badge in one of the question tags. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 16:06

First, a premise. I was the first to vote to close your question as duplicate, and I'm still convinced that it is a duplicate.

In fact, in the first question you conclude (bold mine):

What should I do in this situation? So far I've just been explaining to them how there might have been some confusions, but with their most recent response, it seems to me that most probably, they misunderstood my documents, and might have even completely missed one of them! I'm afraid of pursuing this more seriously and directly because the department is one of my favorite departments and I like to keep the option of going there later in my academic career open.

In the closed question you conclude:

Do you think I should forget about working in that department if I start an appeal process at the court, or could I assume that everyone could just be adults and behave professionally?

To me, even if worded differently, the bold sentences in the first question and the conclusion of the second question are asking for exactly the same thing.


Wouldn't it be better if there was a measure to discourage users from false flagging and encourage them to read the questions more carefully before flagging it as duplicate?

I instead encourage you to edit your questions to make them really different.

That said, your feature request should be probably asked on the main meta because it'd be better implemented network wide. However, I suggest you to first check the already existing questions about duplicates, and in particular this one.

  • The fact that both questions share some information doesn't imply the questions are the same. The titles and the questions at the end are clearly two very different questions. In the first one, I mention my worry about following the process through a legal action, because I'd like to hear suggestions that don't include a court appeal too. But the question is the first one is "What should I do in this situation?". The question in the second one is completely about the case that I appeal the decision at the court.
    – nara
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 3:27
  • In the second question, I'm asking how would an appeal at the court impact my future relationship with the department and if this kind of process would face professional, and not personal, reaction from the department. That means the answers to that question are expected to be about the way departments react to a court appeal and if that'd be taken personally, and could be also include some clarification on how that process works and how much it involves the people at the department at the individual level.
    – nara
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 3:32
  • Given the clarifications that were added to the second question and also the explanations in the comments, I'd appreciate it if you'd ask for more clarification if it's not still clear, or suggest an edit to the question to clarify the differences, instead of marking it as a duplicate.
    – nara
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 3:34

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