I keep seeing examples of one user unilaterally closing questions as duplicates.

How does one person have the power to do this when it should need 5 close votes? And what is the policy on doing so?

Example; Can I apply the Undead Warlock's Grave Touched feature to the Topaz Dragonborn's breath weapon?

Note: This isn't about my opinion on if the question is a duplicate, but I think the site is actively worse when single people can and do impose their will, especially because now it needs 5 people to undo that action if the user doesn't change their mind.


2 Answers 2


There are two groups that can unilaterally close a question:

That is absolutely intended and correct. The same people also can unilaterally reopen questions, with wielders of the dupe hammer able to unilaterally reopen questions closed as duplicates.

An odd quirk of the system: if a mod ceases to be a moderator, their diamond is removed - including on the questions they closed as part of their moderator time. As a result, questions that had been closed by a mod that ceases to be one might appear to have been unilaterally closed despite the user lacking a dupehammer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Relevant MSE post: Increase close vote weight for gold tag badge holders \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Dec 12, 2021 at 12:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, gold badge holders (and mods) can also edit the duplicate list, which is useful if it ended up pointing to the wrong question or if there are multiple questions which are useful to have on there. Just an FYI for both gold badge holders and others. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Dec 12, 2021 at 12:39
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Is it worth noting that dnd-5e is an outlier here, in having 45 gold tag-badge holders; only a half-dozen other tags have any gold badge holders, most of them with only a handful of users having earned it? rpg.stackexchange.com/help/badges?tab=tags&filter=gold \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Dec 12, 2021 at 13:07

From meta.se: Increase close vote weight for gold tag badge holders

The rules are:

  • You can instantly close as a duplicate any question that was originally asked with a tag you have a gold badge for.
  • You can instantly reopen any question closed as a duplicate that was originally asked with a tag you have a gold badge for.
  • You can only close or reopen a given question once (this hasn't changed).
  • If you get in a fight with someone over whether a question should be closed, moderators will be notified and they'll hit everyone with hammers lock everything down and tell you to go home.

Remember: duplicates are questions that ask for a solution to fundamentally identical problems - many questions have similar or identical answers but are not duplicates. By the same token, many questions are asked using very different wordings but seek to solve identical questions - closing these helps folks find their way to a solution even when they don't know what terms to search for.

Enjoy your mighty hammer responsibly!

That post goes on to explain the motivation behind this feature.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The dupe hammer process has updated a little bit since then: the question could have had the tag added later, as long as it was added by someone other than the person applying the dupe hammer. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2021 at 15:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .