I posted this as a comment on another stack. One user asked me to say it "in English". Since I thought that was already in English, i think some grammar issue is at hand.

@user1337 don't vote-dupe targeting closed questions.

What is the grammatical problem of the phrase above?

The meaning I attempted to convey is:

one should not vote to close a question as a duplicate of another question that is closed.

So, vote-dupe = voting to close as duplicate

P.S.: The issue of whether a stack user should or should not vote to close a question as a duplicate of a closed question is orthogonal to the grammatical question posed here. Please do not go into that can of worms.

  • If you could explain to us what it means, we might be able to help you. More specifically, what does vote-dupe targeting mean? – Mick Oct 26 '16 at 14:32
  • @mick does this edit settle your comment's concern? – Mindwin Oct 26 '16 at 14:35
  • I understand what it means now. Thanks. The problem is obviously with the word targeting. The sentence would make more sense if it was omitted. Since it looks like a gerund, it is beyond my pay grade. We need a tame grammarian to sort it out, and they're as rare as hen's teeth. Fierce ones are two a penny. – Mick Oct 26 '16 at 14:40
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    I had no idea what vote-dupe meant. Normally the modifier (here, dupe), would come before the verb, that is dupe-vote, more or less analogous to close-vote. One could also write "Don't vote 'dupe' when the original question has been closed", analogous to Don't yell "foul" when you are pulling the other player's jersey. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 26 '16 at 15:10
  • I think that rather than trying to work out what is grammatically wrong with your comment, you need to start again and ask 'How can I simplify "Please don't vote to close questions that are possible duplicates of already closed questions,"' (or words to that effect) and see what the syntax monkeys can come up with. – Mick Oct 26 '16 at 15:23

Your text has no grammatical error but the issue is with your invented term vote-dupe.

Vote-dupe is an invented term and it's fine to do that if the words communicate the meaning you want.

But I'm not following how you get "one should not vote to close a question as a duplicate of another question" from the term vote-dupe, it leaves out the important information that closing a question is involved. The logical leap you are asking the reader to take is too far and it doesn't work.

I have seen the term "VTC" used on Stack Exchange for "voting to close" and you can say "VTC as dupe" as a shortcut and I think that would be better understood.


When I read it, two things pop up as potential points of confusion: vote-dupe as constructed could easily imply duplicating a vote, through exploits, or the rep farming rings that crop up on StackExchange sites occasionally. Changing it to something like vote-as-dupe or flag-as-dupe would be much more clear about the action being taken, without sacrificing much brevity.

The other is the use of targeting which is ambiguous as to whether the target of the vote is the flagged question, or the question it is a duplicate of. Combined with the first issue, it makes it hard to parse. Maybe consider replacing it with something like citing or referencing to clearly indicate you're talking about a different object than one you're placing the comment on.

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