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I see that the system automatically adds "possible duplicate of..." links when voting to close as a duplicate.

Earlier today, I voted to close Why is SVN better than VSS? as a duplicate of SVN? VSS? Why is one better than the other?, and a suitable comment was added. I thought that comment would be valuable no matter what the close resolution ended up being. However, the question was ultimately closed as "subjective and argumentative", and the auto-added "possible duplicate" comment was removed!

I suggest that automatic "possible duplicate" comments only be removed if the question is actually closed as a duplicate. Otherwise, that useful information is lost.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

OK, the "possible duplicate of..." comments are only deleted now in the case where the question was closed as a duplicate. They are also not deleted if they have a non-null EditCount.1

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Are these comments also deleted even if they weren't system-added? i just watched two "possible duplicate of.." comments get deleted; both looked like they were added by the users, not the system. they contained statements other than just "possible duplicate of [link]" that may have been important. –  quack quixote Apr 20 '10 at 21:39
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That violates the Principle of Least Astonishment. How about not deleting the comment if it has been edited at all? That should be easy to check for -- just use the same check that displays the pencil icon. –  Ether Apr 23 '10 at 1:03
    
@quack quixote: maybe their comments were system added and then edited by the user? –  Andy E May 1 '10 at 10:43
    
@andy: it's possible; i didn't notice the 'edited' icon but i wasn't looking for it. –  quack quixote May 1 '10 at 17:08
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@ether I just made it so the comments are not deleted if they have a non-null EditCount (that is, the little pencil icon) –  Jeff Atwood May 8 '10 at 10:32

It's also frustrating when the question is later re-opened, and then I come back to that question and try to remember what it was a duplicate of, but the links are now gone, and I can never remember the damned timeline URL to find the dupe links (if they were ever in the timeline, which I can't recall).

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My issue with duplicates is when they're a certain age old. Technically they're duplicates, but if they're over 6 months or a year old, then for a lot of them, I don't consider them duplicates. I now consider them time sensitive questions.

Consider this.

1/1/2010 someone asks What is the best tool to: ______

10/1/2010 Someone asks the exact same question.

When I see questions like this, I see them promptly being closed as duplicates. As if people with the rep are promptly searching for the verbage and then marking it as a duplicate without actually reading it or paying attention to it.

Even though there may be better tools out now to do said job. Especially if the question was asked around the time of a new technology and 10 months later there are much better tools for said technology.

Just my two cents, but it seems like some answers are getting closed rather quickly as a duplicate without much thought going into it.

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I don't think this is the right question to give this answer...? –  Jon Seigel Sep 27 '10 at 23:17
    
Perhaps not quite close enough, but I searched for "closing" and "duplicate" and this seemed the closest one, there were so many, that I really didn't want to open another one to beat a dead horse. –  Jeff Sheldon Sep 28 '10 at 0:04

I can see the possible thought process that led to the way it is currently done.

  1. The Possible Duplicate auto-comment is added to alert other users, prior to close, that the question may be a duplicate. This leads to speedy closing if the question is, in fact, an actual duplicate.

  2. Once the question is closed (for any reason), the comment no longer serves its intended purpose, and becomes irrelevant.

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The possible duplicate comment is still valuable though. Prior to the auto-comment change, I would have left a manual comment saying essentially the same thing. That comment would have stayed around even after the question had been closed for another reason. –  Greg Hewgill Apr 16 '10 at 0:37

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