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I have been on Stackoverflow for a while now, and I have noticed that many users comment on threads that are possible duplicates by saying, "Possible duplicate [link]."

I know this is certainly helpful to the OP when a related question has already received an answer, but is this the correct way to go about it? There is always the option of reporting the thread as an exact duplicate via the "Flag" element on each thread, but this may not bring attention to the OP.

The bottom line is: Should I comment about duplicates, only flag duplicates (leaving the chance that it will not be shown to the OP at all) or comment and flag?

share|improve this question
These are automatic. But flags aren't shown – random Feb 17 '12 at 0:28
@Random What are automatic? – nmagerko Feb 17 '12 at 0:29
When a user votes to close a question as a duplicate of some other question, the "possible duplicate of" comment is automatically generated and posted by the system under the close-voter's username. – Pops Feb 17 '12 at 0:39
I see. Someone might as well add that as an answer. – nmagerko Feb 17 '12 at 0:43
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Voting to close as a duplicate automatically posts a system-generated comment below the question.

It's also possible people are writing similar comments by hand because they aren't sure the question is a duplicate and therefore ought to be closed.

share|improve this answer
Or, like me, because they've been on Stack Overflow for more than an hour today and they've already used all 50 of their close votes. Grrr... – Cody Gray Feb 17 '12 at 3:35

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