We get a lot of duplicate questions from new users. We want to mark those as duplicates, but not scare off those new users. Right now, the automatic duplicate message is neutral, but rather brusque. This can be off-putting.

Could it be changed from "Possible duplicate of [existing question]" to:

This question may be answered by [existing question]. [Questionposter], does that question cover the same ground? If not, please edit your question to reflect the differences.

or something similar?

  • Huh, looks like this was basically implemented in the last month. I think it now says "Does this answer your question: [existing question]". Your question may or may not have driven the change. ;-)
    – scottbb Mod
    Dec 19 '19 at 0:52
  • 1
    @scottbb I noticed that too! I was going to go search for this and mark it resolved but hadn't gotten to it yet. Thanks for finding it for me.
    – mattdm
    Dec 19 '19 at 0:54

Before I agree or disagree, could we try that a couple times? One thing I like about simple "Possible Duplicate: [link]" is that when closing as a duplicate, ALL of those comments are added to the "Potential Duplicates" box that is added to the top of the answer. Its good to have all the potential duplicates linked from closed dups, and its really nice (at least from a moderation standpoint) to have them automatically included when closing as a dup.


That comment was originally a fall-back for users who didn't bother to leave any comments at all when they voted to close. You may consider it brusque, but it's considerably more polite than... silence.

Of course, if you want to be even more polite, feel free to write your own comment before voting to close. The system scans the list of comments looking for the duplicate link before posting a new one to avoid duplicate duplicate comments.

Alternately, if you're the first person to vote to close, you can simply edit the comment the system posts in your name to make it sound more like yourself.

  • 3
    That may be so, but it doesn't mean the default can't be improved.
    – Joanne C
    Apr 1 '12 at 1:56
  • 1
    JoanneC: the default is simple and to the point - it doesn't express much in the way of personality or "style", leaving that up to you. If you have an alternate wording that also fits these requirements, please propose it - matt's suggestion, while polite enough in my eyes, might not exactly sit well with some users. In particular, it seems to assume that the author has explained his problem poorly, rather than simply asking a common question that has already been answered. That may be your intent upon commenting, but it isn't necessarily the usual attitude.
    – Shog9
    Apr 1 '12 at 7:11
  • Sorry, I meant to get back sooner, but I don't think I agree that Matt's suggestion really implies a poorly worded question, more likely an incomplete one. I can see the argument that you make, though, but the essential aspect of the suggestion is to get affirmation, or lack thereof, of a previous posting in a positive way. If that isn't the case, then clearly the question isn't appropriately tuned to getting a new response and should be edited, as the remainder of the response recommends.
    – Joanne C
    Apr 6 '12 at 3:56
  • Well, the best way to try this out in practice is, as jrista suggests, to try it out in practice: next time you find a duplicate, post a comment using matt's format before voting to close, and see how it goes over. Keep it up for a while, judge the response compared to the normal message, and report back.
    – Shog9
    Apr 6 '12 at 4:44

As of sometime in late 2019, the default comment is much nicer. Thank you!

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