When searching for duplicates of a question often multiple ones turn up, but when voting to close only one of them can be specified.

It would be useful to be able to add more than one duplicate link when voting to close.

This is not a duplicate of Gold tag-badge holders and moderators can now edit duplicate links as that feature only allows gold-badge users to add multiple targets; this proposal would allow everyone to propose multiple duplicates.

  • 8
    Yeah, i've wanted this before. You can post them in comments, and hope that other closers pick a different one from what you listed, but...
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 1, 2009 at 4:56
  • ... or edit the question manually to add.
    – Richard
    Commented Jul 1, 2009 at 11:05
  • 2
    Editing the question manually is not really a good option before the question is closed. Editing in duplicate links before will need additional reformatting once the question gets closed and the automatic links are added. It would be better to have all the duplicate links treated the same way.
    – sth
    Commented Jul 1, 2009 at 16:40
  • I think this goes along with another idea (not sure who it was...it might have been posted here by me, but someone else might have posted it on UV) where you can manually edit the duplicate links even after the question is closed to continue to add (or remove, perhaps by voting). Commented Jul 6, 2009 at 10:12
  • 1
    @gnat Not a duplicate. This proposal is to allow anyone to propose multiple duplicates through normal close votes; that feature only allows gold-badge users and moderators to bindingly close as multiple duplicates. Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 4:49

4 Answers 4


I disagree. The point of exact duplicate is that there is one primary question to which all others should refer. This excludes questions which may be useful, but are not EXACT duplicates - those can be posted in an answer or comment to the question.

If you find multiple EXACT duplicates please determine which one should be the parent and mark the newer question as an exact duplicate of the parent. The parent is usually the oldest question, but sometimes a newer question with more information or which is phrased better might be a better choice.

Then vote to close all other exact duplicates with the same parent. Consider posting a message here on meta so that other moderators can consider your request and close questions which might not otherwise receive enough votes for close as they've fallen off the front page.

But PLEASE do NOT promulgate multiple "exact" duplicates. The point of duplicate identification and closing is to shunt all the best information for a given problem into one spot.

  • 4
    Agreed. If there are multiple "duplicates", it seems those would be good candidates for merging together.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 18:45
  • @Pollyanna: Excellent suggestion, and I think I begin to agree. But what about the parent? Some exact duplicates may have good answers that were not posted to the parent, and the parent question has no links to the duplicates. Should we consider having an automatic "duplicated by" or "see also" links added to a parent if it's named as the duplicatee of a dupe question?
    – Randolpho
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 20:20
  • @Randolpho - There are ways to merge questions, or in other words transfer the answers from one question to the parent. When you think some questions should be merged, flag one of them for moderator attention and explain where they should be merged to, or submit a question here on Meta with the details. You can look into the process more here: meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=merge+question
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 21:46
  • There are many questions that are getting closed as "exact duplicate" of several other questions. I'm not sure posting a merge request on meta for every question where this happens is helping anybody. Also there are varying degrees of "exact". For example there are many, many instances of the question "Why is 0.1 + 0.2 != 0.3". There are many questions about many different languages, different mathematical operations, different numbers. The answers are always the same, and all of them are essentially duplicates of each other, the questions is just how exact an "exact duplicate" has to be.
    – sth
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 23:57
  • @sth - We'll just do a byte compare. If that's not exact, nothing is...
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 31, 2010 at 1:19
  • @Adam you make a good case, but being able to add multiple duplicates will be used more often to add a better one you have found after casting your vote. I'm very much in favour of giving the OP as many pointers to good dupes as possible, even if it gets closed as dupe of only one parent question. I made the same request today: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/88586/…
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 13:43
  • @Pekka In that case I'd like to see a feature where you could change your vote, pointing to the better dupe. I've run into that before as well, but it's so rare that I figure it's ok to simply link to it in a new comment. If I'm really convinced it's better, then I'll go in and edit the "duplicate of" portion of the question with the better duplicate. I'm glad the system adds that notice automatically now, but I suspect that people are afraid to touch it since it's automated, and honestly it's just making our job easier - it's not sacred.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 19:10
  • @Adam I see your point, such a feature would be even better. But I fear it won't be implemented because of complexity - allowing multiple dupes would probably be easier to do for the devs, and to use for users. Hmmm.
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 19:10

This is a very needed feature. Just today I ran into a triply duplicated question and promptly violated the don't edit to add duplicate links rule (of which I was blissfully unaware until it was recently bumped).

Although the Community User process will edit all duplicates, we can only specify one per close vote. We need to be able to specify more than one dupe on a close vote.


Anyone who reads this and has the points on SO, can you vote to close stackoverflow.com/questions/2521372/…? I want to see if both of the comments are deleted when it gets closed

I've already voted to close. Can others help @mmyers out?

  • 1
    The Community user will add in multiple dupes if there have been multiple dupes cast by users.
    – random
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 16:19
  • 2
    in the case where there are multiple duplicates listed in the comments, but users only voted for one duplicate, i've edited the additional links in manually. this is IMHO only acceptable after the question has been closed-as-duplicate and the Community user has added the first duplicate link(s). Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 16:23
  • @random: BI can only vote for close by-duplication once and therefore have to rely on others to find the other dupes even if I happen to already know of them.
    – Randolpho
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 16:25
  • People are lazy. Even if you post a comment listing five other dupes, they'll usually just cast the same dupe vote.
    – random
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 16:27
  • @quack quixote: I suppose that's our best bet as of now... but it's slow and requires followup. I think adding multiple dupes would be a really good feature to help moderation.
    – Randolpho
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 16:27
  • 1
    @random: exactly why we need to be able to add multiple dupes when voting to close.
    – Randolpho
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 16:28
  • Anyone who reads this and has the points on SO, can you vote to close stackoverflow.com/questions/2521372/…? I want to see if both of the comments are deleted when it gets closed.
    – mmyers
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 16:47
  • 1
    @Randolpho @mmyers: Done.
    – Helen
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 18:58
  • Thanks, @Helen and ChrisF. I'd already edited the FAQ assuming that both would be deleted, but it's good to have confirmation.
    – mmyers
    Commented Mar 30, 2010 at 19:16

As of March 3, 2017 this is possible for Gold tag-badge holders and moderators:

As of a few minutes ago, if you have a gold tag-badge for a tag associated with a question that's been closed as a duplicate, you can edit the duplicate links to replace, add, remove or re-arrange them


I think this should be added, at least on a moderator or Stack Exchange employee level. If community managers are using server errors to flag a question as a duplicate of more than one post, there should be a better way.

This is especially useful for meta posts for which there is more than one discussion, or if the question is asking about topics that encompass more than one (already discussed) post.

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