I have a gold badge for the phd tag. I'm not a moderator. But it seems that if I vote to close a question tagged with phd (at least as a duplicate), I can do it on my own, without votes from others.

I think this is probably a mistake as it gives a non-mod more power than we should have.

I vote to close a lot of questions but consider my votes as only recommendations, not the final answer. I've also complained when mods close questions with no other votes if I consider the question borderline rather than clearly off topic.

Is this intended behavior? If so, could we be warned before casting such votes that the vote would be definitive?

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    If you want to propose a warning to remind gold-tagged people about this you could propose it on the main meta. I think it would make some sense because unlike moderators, for whom insta-close is the norm, it's a bit less obvious with the tag privilege since it only applies when that tag is present. That said, the main meta tends to favor more liberal use of question closing than some individual communities seem to have.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 16:09
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    @BryanKrause they would never go for it, but it seems like the main meta needs a small site or not SO tag.
    – StrongBad
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 17:44

2 Answers 2


It is not a mistake, but rather a privilege: Increase close vote weight for gold tag badge holders

It only works on duplicates so it should only impact things that are generally less controversial. If you don't want to unilaterally close something as a duplicate, you can always leave a comment.


Following my comment suggesting you ask at the main meta if anywhere, and in agreement with @StrongBad's intuition that it would be unlikely to be fruitful, I decided to check what else has been said on Meta on this topic...

In an answer to a question asking How Do I Opt Out of Privileges? referring to this particular privilege, Shog9 points out that users with this ability also have a gold-tag ability in the opposite direction. If you've made a mistake and marked something as duplicate and had it closed instantly when you were actually unsure, you can reopen it and your reopen vote is also binding.

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    But note that the rule of "only voting once to close" still holds. I've found it problematic in the past that I've voted to close for what I later thought was the wrong reason. But when I cancel my vote I can't then VTC for a better reason.
    – Buffy
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 18:26
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    @Buffy You could raise that on the main meta too, but I think it's already been raised and dismissed. Ultimately it just doesn't matter that much. If you've chosen the wrong close reason but still think it should be closed, keep your vote, let the others overrule you or jump on the bandwagon and have an incorrect close reason - not the end of the world, the main point of closing is to prevent poor questions from accumulating answers before they can be fixed up. If you're often closing things and regretting it later, maybe you could pause a bit before making the decision.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 18:30
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    Past that, there are more than 5 people here. If you can't vote on a question because you've retracted your vote, and it should be closed, it still will be, just a brief bit later. If something is somehow dangerous or needs immediate action you can flag for a moderator, but that's what you would do anyways.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 18:31
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    Not especially worrying, but just a pain in the ...
    – Buffy
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 18:34

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