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?

Like so:

  • 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:

    How to do basic math with jQuery Agree

    How do I do maffs in jQuery plz give code Agree

    Find alternatives

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.

Advantages IMO:

  • 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.

  • 3
    +1, though I'm sure a lot of non duplicated questions will be closed because of this. (I'm upvoting because I think it worth it.)
    – user173320
    Jul 1, 2012 at 14:28
  • @gdoron yeah, that's a possibility, although like you I think it would be worth it even if that happened. If it becomes a real problem, one could send the closevoter to the actual question (ie. the full page, instead of just a pop-up) and show "agree" / "disagree" buttons there. Also, when the question has been closed, reopening could be made similarly easy by showing a gray bar there as well
    – Pekka
    Jul 1, 2012 at 14:42
  • 1
    It would be more convenient if the "agree" button would be directly inside the "view" popup.
    – sth
    Jul 1, 2012 at 14:48
  • 1
    @sth good idea, implemented!
    – Pekka
    Jul 1, 2012 at 14:51
  • Just curious - have you seen the duplicate close UI in the new /community review dashboard?
    – Shog9
    Jul 1, 2012 at 14:56
  • 1
    @Shog Just checked it out. I like it, very nice and great UI. Although that process might also benefit from a shortcut like the one presented here - if I have already compared a question with a dupe suggestion using the tab view, would it not make sense to allow me to agree with one click instead of four, plus save the quarter second that the popup takes to load the question again?
    – Pekka
    Jul 1, 2012 at 15:01
  • 7
    Maybe... But in my experience, the most time-consuming part of closing duplicates is finding and deciding on the right original - the mechanical bit involving the URL and the dialog is a drop in the bucket compared to this. As gdoron notes, making that last bit easier raises the risk of closing incorrectly; making the first bit easier offers some hope of actually increasing accuracy.
    – Shog9
    Jul 1, 2012 at 15:08
  • @Shog sure, the finding part is the infinitely more important one, no question. But streamlining the confirming part isn't completely worthless, either, IMO.
    – Pekka
    Jul 1, 2012 at 15:10
  • 2
    One part of the whole process (including the finding part) that I'm uncomfortable with is the popups, btw. I personally would feel better with being led to a full page with a search field and various ways of finding a dupe (lists of suggestions, other people's choices...) instead of having to operate in a number of small popups with my big fingers. But that would have to be a separate discussion of course.
    – Pekka
    Jul 1, 2012 at 15:14
  • 1
    There's also a bit of delay when the dupe suggestions load. I may userscript this, looks pretty useful :) Jul 1, 2012 at 17:07
  • 1
    I'd suggest placing this after the comments block, as comments can sometimes explain why a question isn't a duplicate
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 1, 2012 at 17:13
  • 2
    @DiscountGucciHandbags. (I don't believe your suggestion will be implemented soon if ever because of the feature requests long list but... => ) It would be better if near every possible duplicate there were it's comments meaning why it's a duplicate or why it's not. a lot of people votes because they see other voted (example).
    – user173320
    Jul 1, 2012 at 19:00
  • 1
    I like it, but I think this will need to wait until we see how the new review dashboard stuff shakes out. Hopefully the new "Review Close Votes" UI resolves a lot of the close votes that languish for a long time. If not, this suggestion should be revised to take the review process into account (maybe just link into it directly?) Jul 5, 2012 at 19:07
  • @DavidFullerton is it time to look at this again? I think this suggestion would have merit outside the review process, though - the "normal" process of stumbling upon a question and considering answering it is what this is aiming at: I have the distinct impression that lots of "possible duplicate of..." comments are being overlooked by people who jump to answering the question, not realizing it has been answered excellently many times over already.
    – Pekka
    Oct 19, 2012 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


I agree and your suggested approach seems like a good one.

I'd go one step further and also display the action bar when a lower-rep user has flagged a question as a duplicate. Anecdotally, I've seen several close-worthy duplicates, while in the flag-review tools, that didn't have a close-vote.

Maybe it should look similar to this:

(Click for larger image)
Mockup of Dupe-action bar


  • The user can open the alleged-duplicate in another tab, using the handy link.

  • Yes Automatically casts the appropriate close+duplicate vote, if the user has viewed the alleged duplicate question.

    If the user has not viewed said question, Yes might open either a warning popup, or maybe the normal dialog that pops up when specifying a duplicate via the old close process.

  • No Acts just like the Do Not Close button from the Review | Close Votes queue.

  • Close for Another Reason Opens the standard Close dialog, so that the user can close the question for a different reason, or as a duplicate of some other post.

  • Skip/Hide this notice Hides the notice, for this user, for this question.

  • Unicorn optional? But do we really want to live in a world where SO doesn't show it?

  • 4
    YES YES YES YES YES that is such a bitchin' trippy Unicorn. Love it. Re "Yes" / "No", that's an option as well, but I guess the argument could be made that the user should be forced to put in some effort to avoid people "yes"ing too quickly. But that's a detail that could be worked out in the process.
    – Pekka
    Oct 27, 2012 at 9:56
  • Maybe if the user has not viewed the duplicate, the "Yes" button pops up a warning instead. Oct 27, 2012 at 10:06
  • that, or if they haven't yet viewed the dupe, they get forced to do so using the normal dialog that pops up when specifying a dupe.
    – Pekka
    Oct 27, 2012 at 10:06

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