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When a question is closed as Duplicate, it is marked:

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.

However, this is slightly misguiding. The question might be (on the surface) completely different from its duplicate, it just so happens that it has a similar or the same answer.

As a result, the OP (and commenters) regularly have a knee-jerk reaction and seem to conclude from the title/body of the linked question that the topic addressed is completely different and this is clearly not a duplicate.

I wonder if, instead, putting the emphasis on the fact that the answer that was provided is good already would help assuage those reactions. Just removing the has been asked before and tidbit should suffice, but we may want to emphasize the answer even more:

This question already has an answer. If the answers of the linked questions do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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possible duplicate of Duplicate explanation should encourage improvement of original – rene Mar 12 '14 at 17:05
What is your understanding of "exact duplicate?" Is it that the questions are the same, or that the new question is answered by the old? – Robert Harvey Mar 12 '14 at 17:22
@rene: I like the irony, but that's not a duplicate. – Robert Harvey Mar 12 '14 at 17:30

Imagine there already exists a question that asks "what are the four parameters to the ABCD API call in the DEFG Framework? How do they interact?" Now further imagine that this question has at least one good answer.

Now someone asks: "what is the meaning of the second parameter to the ABCD API call?" A little sleuthing in the comments reveals the person is using the DEFG framework. Presto, we have a duplicate. The answer to the more general question answers this question.

Therefore if we were going to reword, I could support

This question (or a more general version of it) has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please edit this one to make the difference clearer.

The bolded text are changes, not what would actually be bold in the message. (The second change is what the OP would see, as explained in an answer to the proposed dupe.) Everyone else would see please search again since they haven't decided to ask a question, so why should we tell them to?

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I like the idea that the message would be different for the OP and the rest of the world; however I would like to emphasize that the question linked as duplicate might seem completely different. I have witnessed some cases (maybe rare) where a simple (apparently simplistic) question yielded a very thorough answer going far beyond the question (identifying the root of the issue, for example, and explaining the underlying concepts to the OP before actually tackling its question). In this case, the answer is worth linking to, the question however is completely different/seemingly unrelated. – Matthieu M. Mar 12 '14 at 19:57
@MatthieuM. just FYI the messages already are different for the OP and the rest of the world. – Kate Gregory Mar 12 '14 at 20:12

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