I voted to close this question as a duplicate, and to my surprise it was immediately closed. The message in the yellow box lists only my name, which makes it sound like my own vote was the only one involved. Did this change because I recently passed 50k rep?

If so, then I don't think I want this new superpower. Is there some way to work around this, so that I can cast an ordinary vote rather than having my opinion instantly enforced? If it's going to happen this abruptly, then I feel like I would have to spend much more time to really carefully read and think everything through in depth before taking the action, and usually I don't want to spend that amount of time.

If this is a threshold at the parameter value x=50k, is it possible just to raise the value of x on this SE site? I doubt there are more than three or four of us on physics.SE to whom this would apply, so maybe we could easily reach an agreement to do so.

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    $\begingroup$ It has nothing to do with rep count, it's because you got a gold badge in the general-relativity tag. As far as I'm aware, there's no way to turn this off. The additional responsibility of it is intentional. $\endgroup$
    – knzhou
    Feb 1, 2019 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ @knzhou: Thanks, I think that should be an answer. $\endgroup$
    – user4552
    Feb 1, 2019 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Stack Overflow: Allow user to choose between an ordinary close vote and the mighty Mjölnir. $\endgroup$
    – user199113
    Feb 1, 2019 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ BTW, congrats on earning the GR gold badge! $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Feb 2, 2019 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the club of reluctant dupe-hammer wielders ;-). $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2019 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ For completeness, there's currently twelve users at 50k+ and thirteen users with gold tag badges. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2019 at 17:19

2 Answers 2


This is a feature added since 2014: Increase close vote weight for gold tag badge holders.

To put it simply, users can now unilaterally close a question as a duplicate if they have at least a gold badge on one of the tags.

For this specific case, you have a gold badge on 'general-relativity' tag and closing a question tagged with it.

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    $\begingroup$ The feature is often casually referred to as the "dupe-hammer". $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2019 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ Another common term across the network is Mjølnir. $\endgroup$
    – tripleee
    Apr 9, 2019 at 14:32

The gold badge dupe hammer is a little scary at first, but you soon get used to it. ;) (Obviously, I don't yet have close-voting privileges on Physics, but on SO I have a gold badge in Python).

If you're pretty sure that the question is a duplicate, but you aren't confident that the question you nominated is the best dupe target, just close it anyway. The dupe target list can have multiple entries, and it can be edited after the question is closed.

The point is to get dupes closed quickly. Dupe questions aren't inherently bad (unless it's a common question and the OP did zero research to find an existing question), but we do want to prevent the proliferation of dupe answers. I'm not suggesting that questions should be dupe-closed against targets that are only vaguely related. But if you've found a target question that is a reasonable match to the new question, then close it quickly. And then do a more in-depth search for a better target(s).

It may also be worthwhile writing a brief comment to the OP, asking if the dupe target satisfies them. A dupe target that contains the required info isn't much use if it's too complicated for the OP to understand, or too simple & general to address their specific concerns. Also, we don't want people to think that they're being punished by having their question dupe-closed, that's less likely to occur if we ask them for feedback regarding the dupe target.

If the OP doesn't like the target, try to persuade them to clarify the question as to why your dupe target isn't appropriate. Of course, many OPs, especially new contributors, will just reply in comments, and not comprehend that such info actually belongs in the question body. In such cases, it may be simpler to just edit in the info yourself than to teach them how Stack Exchange sites work. ;)

Sometimes, the dupe target is what the OP really needs, but they just need a helping hand to see that. And sometimes that can be accomplished with a sentence or 2 and a relevant link in a comment. (Other times it may be necessary to write a brief actual answer to the new question that bridges the gap between the OP's skill level and the info at the dupe target, especially if the answers at the target assume advanced knowledge, or if there isn't clear agreement between them. True, such a bridging answer could be posted on the dupe target page, but if it's a big page the new answer is likely to get buried. OTOH, answering & dupe-hammering the same question is somewhat controversial. ;) )

If you want to nominate a dupe target, but really don't feel comfortable closing the question single-handedly, there's a simple solution: just post a manual "Possible duplicate of X" comment. That makes the link available to other close-voters. And then re-visit the question a few hours later to see if it's gathered some close votes. If it has, then feel free to hammer it.

Another option with a borderline question is to mention it in the chat room, to see if other people agree with your target, or if they have better suggestions.

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    $\begingroup$ I've seen one of our gold-badge people here occasionally use close>off-topic>custom reason and say "possible duplicate of ..." $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Feb 2, 2019 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ I think it'd be worth the addition to the 4th paragraph of your post that if OP thinks the proposed dupe doesn't work, that they should edit the post to be more clear of the distinction. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Feb 2, 2019 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Kyle Ok, I'll add some more info about that. I didn't intend for this to be a general "how to deal with dupes" post, I mostly wanted to focus on the special aspects related to single-handed closing. On a related note, it seems that many low rep OPs tend to assume that anyone who close-votes their question are mods, and I expect that impression is even stronger when 1 person does the closing. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Feb 2, 2019 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring fair enough, I just think that stuff like that can't get mentioned enough. Also, I find it funny that I'm getting a "new contributor" alert for your here on Meta. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Feb 2, 2019 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos Well, I am new to Physics meta, so I guess that's fair enough, since each SE community has its own character & norms, although they all operate under the general SE principles. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Feb 2, 2019 at 17:43

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