What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

This question already has an answer here:

There are already some feature-requests asking for a notification when your question gets closed, with which I wholly agree:

Unfortunately, on the last one is a response by Jeff against this. OK, I disagree, but so be it. But one specific use-case is probably the worst, so I'd like to open a feature-request only about it: when your question gets closed as a duplicate by a mod.

Why is it a problem? Because usually, when a question receives a close vote, it automatically gets a comment about it - and that comment appears in the asker's inbox. Great! But when a mod 1-votes to close it, that comment does not appear. That means I ask a question, it gets closed as a duplicate, and there is no message whatsoever about it. Like many SE "power users", I rely on my inbox to track my questions, and that means I'll spot this only when periodically checking my old questions.

This means it might take me days to notice something happened, when all the while there are already answers for my question!

Part of the appeal of the SE network is how quickly one can get an answer to a question. This silent-closure-as-dup breaks this - the question is okay, the answers are there, but I get no message about it.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Martijn Pieters, Hugo Dozois, bluefeet, animuson Oct 10 '13 at 23:28

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2  
@kiamlaluno I believe the problem in the question you linked is actually covered by the automatically-added-comments-about-close-as-dup=votes thingie. But in this specific case - a closure by a moderator - no comment is automatically added. –  Oak Nov 19 '11 at 12:13
    
The other question is about getting a notification when your question gets closed, which is different from the notification you get about the comment automatically added when your question is voted to be closed as duplicate. That comment is not always added, and there is a difference between getting notified when the first user votes to close your question, and getting notified when your question is effectively closed. The other request includes yours: If you get a notification when your question is closed, you get a notification also when a moderator closes your question. –  kiamlaluno Nov 19 '11 at 12:25
    
@Oak having used my veto to close a question as a dupe on Bio today it appears that the community user does still write in the duplicate into the body as it normally would. –  Rory Mar 18 '12 at 15:17
    
@Rory My issue, if it wasn't clear, is that no notification is given to the owner of the closed question. An edit does not create a notification, so whether an edit is made or not is unrelated here, at least until we (hopefully) one day get a notification for edits as well :) –  Oak Mar 18 '12 at 16:05

1 Answer 1

In any case, while I think this is a good idea, I also think that if a person asks many questions and doesn't stay on top of them, it's sort of too bad if their question gets closed. Until one gets an answer they accept, they should curate their question and engage with those attempting to offer an answer. That's my view in general, but I am rethinking this for the duplicate closure case.

This special case of being closed as a duplicate is more persuasive: it functionally asserts that the question has been asked before and increases the probability that an answer will be found by the OP. It may or may not be true that an answer actually exists for the other question (and it may not be true that the question is a duplicate), but, if so, an answer to the prior question should be quite useful to the asker. This helps SO because others may see the duplicate and the asker may refine or comment on their question if they have been notified. The newer duplicate is what shows up higher in recent activity lists and may be followed by some, so it is wise to temporarily support engagement around it for a little longer in order to migrate people to the prior question.

I'll try to put it a different way: suppose that a person asks a question and it is closed for non-dupe reasons (e.g. non-constructive), their TTA (time to answer) is not affected - an answer might never come or might be useless (either to them or the community). In the case of a duplicate, there may be a question that's already answered. In that case, getting a notification is like getting a link to a successful query of SO or Google, minus the latency of posting a question. This reduces the OP's TTA. When a question is closed as a duplicate, it is useful if the OP and anyone following the question are notified - it will reduce TTA for all of them.

So, please send an email to the OP if the question is closed, though askers should remain vigilant on their questions anyway.


Update 1: Thinking about question curation and TTA a bit more, I realized that new users may not be very good curators. The number of people who visit SO and post 1 question they "really need to answer now" may be pretty high. They may be inexperienced searchers, too. Getting a message about a duplicate could decrease their TTA and improve their time until return (i.e. reduce it). It's not so much that they won't return, as they may be unaware that they could get notifications, but that a prompted return (i.e. based on a notification) is likely to occur sooner than an unprompted return. That could also improve their subsequent engagement with SO in any number of ways - finding a better question, finding possible answers, and much more. Although I don't think I've had a question closed as a duplicate, I've certainly been motivated to learn more about how to use the search tools when the "Similar questions" tab on the right started populating with related questions that I didn't find when searching SO. If I hadn't noticed the tab, my question could've been closed as a dupe.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .