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I have recently been VTCing questions and noticing that even though I may VTC a question as off-topic, because there are a larger amount of people VTCing it for another reason, the other reason is chosen over mine, which made me think that the reason with the most votes gets chosen.

However today there was a question which had 3 votes on the EOL off-topic reason, however when someone added the second vote to closing it instead as duplicate, that close reason was chosen instead even though more people had VTCed it as off-topic rather than a duplicate.

So how does it work? Is the close reason with the most votes chosen? Or is it simply the last vote chooses? If it's the latter then there is probably a lot of room for abuse and problems. Or is it more complicated than this and why have I seen it happen in both ways? Is there a clever mechanism to decide this? Or am I simply mistaken or noticing a bug perhaps?

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    I have never noticed this issue as you describe it. Was this last person a mod? Otherwise, that sounds like a bug. – RolandiXor Nov 30 '15 at 16:31
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    @RolandiXor: In this particular instance, yes, it was a mod, however I have in the past voted to close something for a different reason than all of the other voters who all voted on the same close reason as each other, and because I was the last person to vote, it closed it for my reason. – user364819 Nov 30 '15 at 16:39
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    @ParanoidPanda You will need to provide examples. most votes is always chosen unless it is closed by a mod. – Seth Nov 30 '15 at 16:45
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    Or a gold badge owner; someone with a gold badge in one of the tags of the question can unilaterally close as duplicate. – tripleee Dec 2 '15 at 12:09
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Diamond moderators, or occasionally a tag gold badge person, will have the ability to close a post instantly. From what I've seen, though I can't confirm this, such closes use the reason that user/mod used for closing.

Typical closing however appears to be one on the 'best out of 5' system, so whichever option had the majority will probably get that close reason (if three vote as offtopic, and two vote as "unclear", then as I've seen it, 'Offtopic' gets selected by the system).

Addendum from @kos:

Also any duplicate mentioned with a "close as duplicate" vote is listed as an "original" question (i.e. e.g. 5 "close as duplicate" votes each mentioning a different question = 5 questions listed as an "original" question). Not sure if those are listed only if the majority of the closers voted to close as duplicate or regardless though Those are listed only if the majority of the closers voted to close as duplicate. -- kos - December 9, 2015

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