Update 2011-04-27: Jin removed the quotation image altogether here

When a question is closed as a duplicate, the duplicate question is selected (by the users who vote to close) and then attached automatically to the top of the message. However, the message is attached as a quote. As you can see on the example below, this is not very noticeable on EL&U, where questions are focused on sentences and quotes, rather than code or anything else:

Difficult to notice "duplicate" message

I wasn't sure whether to label this question feature-request or bug, because really the current way doesn't make sense: the message is not a quote or part of the question — it is more like a system message.

So, I have two questions:

  1. How could this be done differently so that the "duplicate question" message does not blend into the question text?
  2. Do the powers-that-be see this as a problem? That is, is there any chance a suggested change would actually be implemented?
  • Yes, this++. I recently got an e-mail from a user asking me to add a link to the question that is duplicated when I closed a question for being a duplicate. When I pointed out to him the link, he wrote “Ahh, thanks missed that due to it being in the quoted phrase that I mistook for being part of my question.” to which I replied “Sorry, yes it is a little bit confusing. I will suggest a different style for those notices on the site meta.” but never got around to doing that. Thanks.
    – nohat Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2011 at 4:13
  • I reposted a modified version of this question at meta.SO: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/80891/… since we haven't gotten any response from TPTB here
    – nohat Mod
    Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 19:16

4 Answers 4


I think the message needs to stay at the top of the question, but (1) It needs to explicitly say "closed as duplicate of...", not "possible duplicate"; and (2) It needs to be formatted differently than a blockquote.

(I'm really just bumping this to the top, but while I'm at it, I want to add: if we're so unsure whether a question is really a duplicate or not that we find it necessary to add weasel words like "possible" to the closure message, then we have no business closing the question in the first place.)

  • I like this better. RegDwight was also saying that it should be at the very top and I'm convinced you're both right.
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 18:50
  • 4
    Agreed with both these points, but I think “formatted differently from a blockquote” is the most important one.
    – PLL
    Commented Feb 12, 2011 at 19:57

I'm glad it looks the way it does now and is found at the top, but it bothers me that it says possible duplicate, while the close reason is exact duplicate.

  • 1
    I think the current display is correct. The closevoters may think it's an exact dup, but others may disagree and vote to reopen. As may those closevoters if they re-think their position (possibly after new comments have been added, or the question altered). Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 17:48
  • Couldn't the close reason simply be closed as duplicate, since it covers both possibilities? Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 18:09
  • Okay - I've cancelled my downvote on the strength of your point, but I still think it does at least no harm to leave it the way it is. And it's still arguable that implicitly calling attention to the potential "reversibility" of the closure is no bad thing. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 18:20
  • I appreciate that. I had not considered the voting pendulum; I was simply bothered by the wording. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 18:26
  • 1
    In my pious imaginings, if, say, 100 people were to upvote your "answer" here, it's at least possible the devs might be minded to implement the suggestion. In practice it ain't gonna happen (either the 100 upvotes or the implementation), but I still think we should assume that's how things are supposed to work here on meta. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 18:32
  • 1
    I had not considered the open/close voting pendulum of main EL&U questions, that is. I stand by my appreciation of your downvote negation here in meta. I admit that I piggybacked on this question to avoid the twofold-meta possibility of having my question closed as a duplicate, be it exact or possible. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:02

My suggestion for (1) is to put the link to the duplicate post in the "question-status" section, under the paragraph where it says "closed as exact duplicate by...".


This was addressed when the changes to how close reasons work were rolled out last summer:

enter image description here

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