On this recently closed question, What kind of bike do I own my vote appears to be recorded as closure for being a duplicate. I thought I had intended to vote as ‘unclear what you are asking’ but it isn’t showing as that.

Possibly same thing on this question GT Serial Number YC99L03435.

Would it show a different reason against my name if I had clicked ‘unclear’? Does the reason get merged into the first one chosen by any voter, or is it implied that I goofed and clicked duplicate instead?

Personally I dislike closing as a duplicate of the ‘why shouldn’t I care’ question, otherwise this would be trivial/unlikely to happen on other questions.

Edit: having said it’s unlikely, I found another question, Convert urban/hybrid with hydraulic disk brakes from flat handlebars to drops. It has a duplicate I’m not sure about, I would more likely have chosen off topic for product rec, but I don’t remember that one so well.

  • 2
    I have had the same thing happen. Not sure, but I guess it just needs 5 votes and then the 'most picked' reason becomes the reason.
    – Andy P
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 12:41
  • @andy you give me hope that I’m not going mad
    – Swifty
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 16:18

3 Answers 3


I believe what gets displayed is the list of everybody that voted to close, regardless of what reason they gave for closure. The reason shown for closure is the most popular reason (or what a moderator chose).

As a moderator I can see that on the "What kind of bike do I own" question, you marked it as "unclear what you're asking", but everybody else voted "duplicate" and finally when Criggie (a moderator) picked "duplicate" it was closed with the duplicate reason. But I don't think a regular user can see what reason each close voter gave.

  • Thank you, indeed as a regular user I can't see individual votes. I can't even find a record of what I voted, even when I click Swifty>Activity>Votes>Closure.
    – Swifty
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 21:01

It's an unfortunate feature of Stack Exchange that, when people vote to close for different reasons, the closure page says that everybody voted for the most common reason. There have been cases where I've commented saying that people are voting to close for the wrong reason, voted to close for what I think is the right reason and then, e.g., the question gets closed as "Unclear what you're asking", allegedly voted for by A, B, C, David Richerby and E, with a comment below saying "This isn't unclear at all – David Richerby". Grph.

The one exception to this (I think) is when people vote to close as duplicates of more than one question. In that case, all the different duplicates are listed.

  • Thanks, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for duplicates with multiple links. Grph indeed!
    – Swifty
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 13:46
  • So I was holding off voting on the SG15 question but when I saw you vote duplicate I realised opportunity... it’s now 2vs2 for each duplicate choice, waiting to see which way the hammer falls and if we get a split close note or not.
    – Swifty
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 10:29
  • 1
    @Swifty It's been closed as a dupe of both. Commented May 29, 2019 at 11:53

That was a difficult one - the Univega question showed a complete lack of effort on the part of the original poster, but we don't have a close reason for that. It was answered in the comment well-enough, so it wasn't unclear.

Mods have a supervote so if I vote to close something, it just happens for the reason I choose. As such, I don't tend to check the review queue, and if I do then am much more likely to skip than vote, especially when a question only has one or few votes.

I guess it could have had the comment-reply expanded to a complete answer, that would have been the proper way.

The GT question had 5 votes, and it gets closed for the most commonly picked reason, so whichever gets 3 or more votes.

If you have a question with 1/2/1 votes for three different reasons, then it will be closed for whichever reason got 2 votes first.

  • 1
    Thank you for the response, good to know how it all works. Only disagreement is that if I vote it as unclear, it was unclear to me (what information they wanted, given that the branding was so clearly visible) but let's not go there ;) I was just using examples of votes which I thought were recorded differently to my input, and now I know how it works
    – Swifty
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 21:06
  • @Swifty fair points - I guess if the question is somewhat open-ended then that's different. To me "Unclear" means you can't tell what the question is at all.
    – Criggie Mod
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 23:46
  • Yes understood. I will be more judicious with votes when a comment or edit could be more constructive. Sometimes only find out the best approach with hindsight
    – Swifty
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 11:32

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