I encountered this review today, where a question was to be closed as duplicate of another, older question. However, the dupe target was closed, at -5 and unanswered. The quality was much lower than that of the question in the review queue itself.

What normally should've happened, is that the dupe target gets closed as duplicate of the question that was now in the queue. Except the older question was already closed before the newer question arrived, so it should probably just be removed.

How should we handle this as reviewers?

What I've done now is leave the question in the queue open. I can't flag/vote to close the other question as duplicate, since it's already closed. A custom flag is still a possibility of-course.

Should we simply leave the question in the queue be and flag the older question to be removed? That feels like the most appropriate action anyway. It's 10 days old, unanswered and closed, so it's a bit surprising it survived this long with that score.

I'm both interested in how this should've been handled and how we handle similar situations.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I removed my duplicate vote yesterday, it seems that all VTCs have been removed and the original question has been removed by the moderators. \$\endgroup\$
    – pacmaninbw Mod
    Aug 27, 2019 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


The problem as I see it is that the Poster created a new question rather than updating the original and getting that re-opened. Is there some way to instruct the poster that it would have been better to fix the original question rather than post a new one?

I would also recommend that the original question be deleted. If the original is deleted I will remove my duplicate vote.

I found the duplicate after I answered the question. I probably should have removed my answer.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Down votes really should be accompanied by comments that explain the down vote. \$\endgroup\$
    – pacmaninbw Mod
    Aug 26, 2019 at 13:41

This is an example of incorrect handling

I feel people are taking the idea that an OP should be able to improve their off-topic questions too far. To the point where they're only allowed to improve an off-topic question and that they're not allowed to post a new one.

This should not be behavior we want on Code Review.

This post which has been otherwise well received shouldn't be closed as a duplicate. And since the other question has already been closed nothing needed to happen here.

I think the origin of the idea that users are allowed to edit any off-topic post into shape comes from Mat's answer here. However I feel we've completely 180ed from the original sentiment.

And then the question collects its 5th close vote, and sits there collecting dust in a broken state, and OP can't salvage their post without invalidating the answer.


Every closed, deleted, downvoted question you ask takes you closer to an automatic question ban.

And the only way to recover from bad standing, is to edit and improve your existing posts.

How should this have been handled?

Every time I see people moderate content on our site it fills me with shame to be a part of Code Review. I see: (Yes I'm hijacking the answer a bit)

  • Drive by down votes where if the user isn't fluent in English the question seems to deserve a down vote. I think this is horrible behavior as the user has posted a question in English as well as they can, sure it can be hard to read, but they put more effort into making Code Review high quality than the 'curator' ever will.

  • Three or more people harass questions, it's common for people to post comments and think that'll magically fix everything. If I were a new user it would overwhelm me, and make me think the site is filled with angry toxic people that only derive joy from telling people they're a failure. (I'm actually speaking from nearly every experience I've had on SO. Yes I think we're that bad now.)

  • Low quality comments, I read comments on posts I come across and see that most of them now are only stating what our rules are. There is no guidance, there is no here's where I think you've made a boo boo. Nothing, just cold hard insensitive 'rules'.

    I get it saying what our rules are is good and all, we want our users to know we're not spouting nonsense. But when I read these comments I can't find any actionable way to improve the OPs question, and if I can't what hope does our poor OP have?

  • LCC is our 'catch all' close reason, I don't ever recall this close reason being correctly used. Most of the time people use it if there's problems with the text, which it isn't for. And combined with the previous problems I've never seen any explanation of what's wrong with the question. Every time I see this close reason all I see is us saying a big "F you OP".

  • Roboreviewing, a while back I downvoted and VTC close a perfectly on-topic question. It was a little hard to read, but otherwise there was nothing off-topic about it, and somehow it went through the review queues and came out closed. (WHAT?!)

    Ever since I've never looked at reviews in the same light, almost every question I see closed that I don't agree with comes with a user posting a comment saying the post is off-topic linking to some meta post, and not providing any examples on how the post is off-topic. And then the next thing is it's closed.

What I'm trying to get to is that I can't see why any OP would want to fix their post as in every way possible it seems we're trying not to help them and just want a medium to vent our frustrations away. But not only that if they still for some bizarre reason want to fix their posts then there is normally nothing of substance in the comments the OP can go off. Comments have now just devolved to an unironic "how to draw an owl" meme.

1. Draw some circles. 2. Draw the rest of the fucking owl.

And now this masterpiece is just another checkbox to tick on ways Code Review has failed its users.

To me this is just another example of roboreviews. Surely someone should have actually thought about whether the question should be closed for a -5 target that's off-topic. And thought, "maybe this isn't a good idea".

And so we should stop having robots in our review queues.

Can we have the review queue tests that inhibit roboreviews added to Code Review?

How to handle the situation now

I say leave everything to be automagic. Now that this has the meta effect with added scrutiny I can't see the question getting any worse.

If the question is closed I'll hammer it open. If I don't see it, starting a reopen review, flagging for a moderator or pinging me to hammer it open should also minimize damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I too feel that LLC is being over used (abused). I have told posters how to specifically get past that here is an example codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/226774/…. I feel that we may need to give guidance to improve the question sometimes. In many cases this may be a language or culture issue. We may also need to give guidance to some of our active reviewers about LLC and not clear what you're asking. They are always asking for a review. \$\endgroup\$
    – pacmaninbw Mod
    Aug 26, 2019 at 13:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You say it's incorrectly handled, yet you come to the same conclusion as me: leave it open. Are you suggesting the flag was incorrect but I did handle it correctly? Please clarify. Also, I don't know who's downvoting these answers, but I hope they're writing their own answer in response. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Aug 26, 2019 at 14:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mast Closing it is incorrectly handling the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peilonrayz Mod
    Aug 26, 2019 at 15:21

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