At the moment, to agree with a "possible duplicate" suggestion, one has to
- See the "possible duplicate" comment in the first place - sometimes difficult if there's a lot of other comments
- Click "close"
- Click "exact duplicate"
- Select the suggested dupe
- Read it (this part is ok, I have no problem with having to at least glance at the suggestion before agreeing to it)
- Click "close"
How about making this process shorter - and at the same time, make it more obvious that there is a dupe suggestion present?
When a duplicate is suggested, instead of inserting a comment, display a small bar with a gray background underneath the question text.
The bar would read something like
Possible duplicate of How to do basic math with jQuery. Agree Find alternatives
The "agree" button will force you to look at a pop-up with the question text like the current close dialog does. Inside there is a Agree button which allows you to cast your close vote, and a Not sure button if you disagree or are unsure. (hat tip @sth)
There could also be an explicit Disagree button if "pre-emptive close votes" are ever implemented. One or two users disagreeing could make the banner go away.
The "Find alternatives" button would open the current duplicate-finding close dialog (this one).
Multiple dupe suggestions could also be conveniently displayed:
Possible duplicate suggestions:
I realize the slightly inconvenient way the current process is set up may be an intentional barrier against wild-west style shooting at every question in sight, but I think with the provision that you have to actually view the suggestion, this is okay - at least for this specific close reason.
Speeds up the dupe-closing process
Makes it clearer to potential answerers that the question is a possible duplicate, something that is easy to overlook when you have that "hey, I can answer that!" moment and rush to the answer field
Makes it clearer to the OP that the dupe suggestion bears "official" weight and is not just a comment by a random user. (In fact, I observe that a large number of OPs will completely ignore dupe suggestions on their questions for some reason, even when the suggestion answers the question 100%. I would love to see the Montrose Science Hammer(tm) dropped on this: do OPs actually look at those suggestions? But that is a different story.)
If it is feared that this would make dupe-closing too easy, the site could take the closevoter to the actual page of the possible duplicate suggestion, instead of showing a small popup, and provide Agree and Dismiss buttons there. That might make for a more convenient process anyway, especially for touch devices.