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When a question is closed as a duplicate, its body is edited to auto-insert the link to that duplicate. I think there are a couple problems with that:

  1. If the question is reopened, the auto-generated insert isn't automatically removed.
  2. It allows the poster (or anyone else) to roll back the post and protest the closure by reverting the automatic edit.

I propose that the links to the duplicate(s) are moved into a separate "header" field above the post instead of being edited into the body of the question. That way it could be removed or hidden if the question is reopened and it could not be edited or reverted without reopening the question.

There is some potential for loss of functionality there, since right now it is possible to edit the post to either include additional related links or remove obsolete/incorrect ones. That could be addressed by making the "duplicate field" editable at a certain reputation level (10k?) and enabling others to suggest edits for it that'd go through the usual approval/rejection process.

Thoughts?

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I like your idea, but it seems like a lot of work to develop. Is it worth it? –  Marcelo Aug 10 '11 at 14:45
    
Example I believe it was by mistake here, and the status here is only half true, the second issue wasn't even answered by @Jeff. –  user173320 Jun 14 '12 at 22:44
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Unbelievable. "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced" - guys, this was a feature request, stop closing everything here on MSE!!! I honestly think the team need to restrict our powers here if this keeps going like this. –  Shadow Wizard Oct 16 at 9:20

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

We've implemented Tim's suggestion.

Upon reopen, anything from

Start of post, > ... <!-- End of automatically inserted text -->

will be automatically removed from the post. So edit that block at your peril!

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Are the potential duplicates then not displayed at all anymore? Those questions might still contain useful information, even if the question got reopened. –  sth Aug 30 '11 at 12:41
    
no -- they would be removed, as that was Tim's suggestion. If the question is a duplicate but then reopened, the implication is that it is not in fact a duplicate. Did you have a specific example in mind? –  Jeff Atwood Aug 30 '11 at 22:28

Wouldn't most of this be resolved if everything above (and including):

<!-- End of automatically inserted text -->

... was removed when a post was re-opened? I'm not quite sure why it isn't, so perhaps it should be.

However, we'd probably also want to prevent people from inserting that line unless wrapped in a code block.

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That'd work, too. That's what I started with and then just figured I'd try taking it a step further. :) Looking at the post votes, I think maybe I should've stuck with my original thought. –  Anna Lear Aug 10 '11 at 14:47
    
@Anna Lear, I don't think it's a bad idea, it just seems kind of complex. –  Tim Post Aug 10 '11 at 14:49
    
great idea, we probably should have always done this. Implemented per my answer. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 30 '11 at 8:10
  1. If the question is reopened, the auto-generated insert isn't automatically removed.

This seems like it would be possible to implement without any major system or UI changes.

  1. It allows the poster (or anyone else) to roll back the post and protest the closure by reverting the automatic edit.

They can also insert big, all-in-caps rants. These shenanigans don't necessarily help their cause though.

That could be addressed by making the "duplicate field" editable at a certain reputation level (10k?) and enabling others to suggest edits for it that'd go through the usual approval/rejection process.

It sounds like you're really asking for a feature that would prevent the post's author from messing with the duplicate links. I'd be in favor of this, though I'm not sure how wide-spread the problem is; not convinced we need a separate field + edit system though.

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I kind of like your idea, though I am loath to propose the dev work required for it.

The only problem I see with not using it and doing the auto-remove is that the post could have been edited and screwed up the inserted text, making it so that auto-removal is impossible / will break the question more. That wouldn't be a problem if the opener, who presumably cares about the question content, edited it to fix it -- but then again, wouldn't they do that to remove the dupe link in the first place?

So I would leave it as-is.

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