It is occasional practice of some users to place message along the lines

CLOSE VOTERS: please don't close this as duplicate because it is not because A,B,C.

My question is this: Are we OK with such approach ? I personally find that these types of edits are more harmful (to questions) than not for the following reasons:

  • misleading reviewers: those who don't do reviews carefully and look at the context of the post and don't notice who placed the message into the question, may be lead to believe that this is OP's own statement, which in fact is one user's personal opinion , and personal opinions (if I understand correctly) should be kept within comments.

  • imposing one particular user's personal opinion on others: Goes along with what I said in the last sentence of previous point.Voting to close a question should be a personal decision or at least consensus with other users from a discussion and discussions should be kept in comments

  • No improvement to question: if message to close voters is the only thing that is being inserted into the question, there seems to be no improvement to the question itself ( which is what is the main purpose of editing, no ? )

  • opinion of one outweighing consensus of many: reviewers who see personal opinion of one user injected into the post may not notice discussion in the comments where multiple users might agree that post is in-fact a duplicate.

I understand the sympathy with having a question closed: users think that question visibility will be gone, but questions can be voted to be reopen as well. It is my personal understanding that voting should not be influenced by particular user's opinions.

Over time I've come to see that using pathos when dealing with close-votes isn't the best approach, and in-fact can do more harm than good to the question.


4 Answers 4


We encourage users to explain what they've tried, what didn't work.

In the case of something like your example:

CLOSE VOTERS: please don't close this as duplicate because it is not because A,B,C.

That is exactly the sort of thing that should be in the question. All they're really doing is telling people what they've tried before. Or how their question is different. These are important things to know.

The phrasing might seem conversational or combative, but notices like this usually crop up after some close votes have been submitted. Close votes can be retracted, but more importantly having any close votes means you're exposed to the close vote queue.

So once it's in that queue, that a message like this stands out is a good thing. People have a habit of auto-modding their way through the review queue and this it just the sort of thing that might catch their attention enough to pause and investigate. Obviously if they disagree, they can leave a comment explaining that and vote to close.

The only downside of any sort of post notice is it looking a little crufty, but at the same time the it's not unreasonable for you to not want a question unjustly closed. The amount of effort wasted in closing and reopening that is far more costly than bearing a notice for a few days until it leaves the close queue.

I don't disagree with Kaz's point about working these differentiations into the post, I just don't think that also making a song and dance about it as a very visible aside is always a bad thing. Some differences are very subtle and need explanation.

I also don't think it particularly bad that other people edit post notices in, where required. Collaboration works in all directions and again, highlighting technical subtleties for reviewers could save everybody a lot of time, confusion and frustration. It might even get their problem solved.

  • My question was about edits done by other users specifically. When OP adds such information, that's OK, and your post does make a couple good points which might be beneficial to OP, but I am more concerned with another user putting words into OP's mouth. Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 10:56
  • 3
    Your question didn't (and doesn't) read like that at all... But either way, I'm not sure it makes a difference. In both cases the onus for accuracy is on the person making the edit. If somebody else sees something being incorrectly closed a notice to save wasted time isn't harmful. If the OP comes back and says it is a duplicate, that's easy enough to fix too.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 13:01
  • do you want me to edit the question to clarify ? or should I keep the content as is so it's used in the context of other answers ? Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 13:05
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    Actually, close votes can be retracted prior to the post being closed. I have done so on several occasions when the post has been edited to provide clarity and/or further detail. It's true that once closed the only way to change the status is via re-open votes. I firmly agree that "The amount of effort wasted in closing and reopening that is far more costly"
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 18:44
  • Thanks, edited up.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 21:24

I would say no in the post itself, as it's just noise and doesn't really add anything to the question especially in the form that it's in.

If OP really wants to challenge a close vote (especially a pending one), they should edit their question to explain why it's not a duplicate. This should also be done within the context of the question, not as an afterthought. That's what annotations are for, and there's a good reason why that's restricted to mods.

Of course, this just applies to OP editing the question. If another user edits the question, things get a bit hairier. In short, we can't guarantee that another user knows exactly what OP wants. In fact, there's even a suggested edit rejection reason for this exact case:

clearly conflicts with author's intent
This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that must make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post's owner.

Maybe OP is okay with an "overkill" solution. Maybe OP isn't. The point is, we don't know what OP wants beyond what they've said in their question. As such, the burden of making a question more or less specific usually falls on to OP. I feel that if a user wants to challenge an ongoing review, they can do one of a few things:

  • Add a comment explaining why instead of effectively vandalizing the post.
  • Post in chat/meta for feedback from the community as a whole.
  • Just wait for the question be closed, and then open a discussion in Meta.

But, to sum it up, challenging a closure should never be done as an aside within the question itself. It should either be embedded reasonably into the question (by explaining why it's not a duplicate, something OP and only OP can do) or done in the comments or chat or meta (which can be done by anyone).

Really, though, the more I think about this, we have an X/Y problem here. People feel the need to edit the question to add a note to closevoters such as to prevent robo-reviewing. The actual solution to this is to prevent robo-reviews from being done and/or encourage reviewers to actually do their job and review the question instead of just blindly clicking buttons.

  • 3
    I would agree that it shouldn't typically be in the post itself. I think dropping a comment indicating what you are doing is fine however.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 17:47
  • You make an excellent point regarding the robo-review problem. This has been discussed in several variations across the Stack Exchange network. Example 1 Example2 The Review Audit system is (I think) designed to keep reviewers mindful of what they are doing. So the stick already exists, are you suggesting a carrot? :-)
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 13:48
  • @ElderGeek I'd say a carrot, and a bigger stick. Preferably carbon-fiber and up to Thomas Ward's design specs.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 16:17
  • Thanks for the chuckle! I needed that. I`d be interested to see a discussion on what would be considered for the carrot and how to accomplish the bigger and better stick, that could be converted to a feature request. :-)
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 16:23

I often leave comments similar to this to inform close voters that I'm working on a solution for instance. Since we are a community and are trying to work together for the common good, this makes perfect sense to me. It's not an attempt to mislead or impose an opinion.

It's simply a way to communicate with the community. I personally would hesitate to edit a post that wasn't a CW in this fashion, however I understand the motivation to attempt to offset the tendency of many to robot review without reading the comments. One of the reasons I push to have users edit information into there posts is that comments aren't always read (the other being comment deletion of course)

The question I always consider is does preserving a particular question from closing improve the site? I've lobbied to leave questions open before, with varying results. I've found a more effective use of my time is to improve what I can and accept what I can't. Everyone has opinions and it's unlikely to see things the same way as anyone else. Sometimes further explanation can be effective. Sometimes not.

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    Exactly! To make clear where the post starts -and my message to close voters ends-, I use to add a horizontal line. That way there should be no misunderstanding. Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 14:41
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    @JacobVlijm I didn't see anything that would lead to misunderstanding personally, but I suppose not everyone sees things the way I do.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 18:38

Let's look into this from voter's perspective.

Close voters don't edit a post explaining why it is a closeable question. I think, the voters against closing should also not used edit.

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