I often see questions which are blatantly off-topic, like, for instance, when this question (can only be viewed with enough rep, as it has been deleted) showed up.

The shown code had been

    int a;
    int b;
    int c=a+b;
catch (exception ex)
//Nothing here    

Which is, for sure, example code and won't even compile.

If, on the main site we would:

  1. Create questions for off-topic reasons like containing example code.
  2. Add an answer stating why this is off-topic
  3. Lock the question and comment.

We could benefit as community, if a gold tag-badge user could then mark such questions, like mentioned above, as duplicate of one of the off topic questions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your heart's in the right place, but I don't like this because it means we need at least several off topic questions left open. \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 10:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RubberDuck no not necessarily... \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Legal fictions tend to create all kinds of problems. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 16:22

4 Answers 4



"Duplicate" on Code Review has a special meaning (the code is exactly the same)... and that's hard enough to keep clarity on as it is. Adding a special case where some things that are completely different, are also duplicates, would be a problem.

Additionally, some people will be voting to close the question as off-topic-example-code, and others as duplicates.

The better solution would be to give gold-tag-badge holders more weight with off-topic close votes.


If a question is off-topic, the tags don't necessarily make sense. For example, there may not be any language tags on the question at all. While the requirement to have a gold badge in such tags could work in a majority of cases, it isn't necessarily the optimum.

I smell a XY problem here. There are off-topic posts which we need to close and your approach is stamping Duplicate on them if they're broken. But we already got a perfectly fine close reason for that. Yes, that needs 5 people (or a moderator) instead of 1. But is that a problem? We have very active moderators lurking in The 2nd Monitor who can hammer questions shut and regulars who can flag/vote if need be.

This also smells like an awful lot of extra work to get the same thing done. Instead of letting 5 users making a simple vote, you'll ask 1 user to find which question it's a duplicate of. Finding a duplicate target is more time consuming than a simple close vote and more error prone.

Finally this would also open a can of worms. While Mjölnir is overall a success, it has it's limitations and drawbacks. Implementing your proposal would have to be done very carefully and under constant watch by the SE team and/or the moderators.

Implementation of this proposal may also lead to a shift in our "a question is almost never a duplicate" policy.



The structure you're talking about exists (for some values of exists) in Area 51 during Site Definition, however, in graduated sites, has no place.

  1. Creating off-topic posts are bad on users' parts, and bad for the site.
  2. Answering off-topic posts, not even with Code Reviewing, but with 'This is off-topic', is both not an answer, and would recieve my flag/downvote.
  3. There are thirteen gold-tag-badge users, of which, four are moderatiors (and rolfl), meaning this purpose is very niche.
  4. Posts may hit the deletion queue without being noticed (theoretically, if the mods weren't so gosh darn responsive :D), and get removed entirely.

I disagree about marking them as duplicated.

I highly doubt there will be an off-topic duplicated question. If there was, there's a simple way to deal with that:

  • If it is duplicated, mark as such
  • If you can't find the original (deleted or something), mark as off-topic.

Now, about allowing users with gold badges to mark such questions as off-topic and hammer them, I totally agree!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, losing track of duplicate posts is a pain in the neck, many a meta asker has felt the sting of duplication, despite searching beforehand. \$\endgroup\$
    – Quill
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 11:09

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