Related: Should users be allowed to remove the "Possible Duplicate" links on closed questions?

In this question, a user edited their post so that it was no longer a dupe, and then manually removed the auto-inserted possible dupe header.

Now, this comment says:

@Josh Yup, you are given that ability, but expected not to abuse it :)

And, this post says:

If you ever see a user engaging in this behaviour, you should just reinstate the link. If the user then rolls back your change, flag for moderator attention.

To me, it is clear here that removing the header in any situation is considered abuse.

But, this user makes a good point:

Right. Expected not to abuse it. But if you edit the question, and it isn't a dplicate, is it abuse to remove the link to an unrelated question?

There are my thoughts on why it is still abuse:

I do consider it abuse: you ought to wait for it to be reopened. (flag it if you want). The issue with removing the dupe header is that it confuses the reopeners

See, until the question is reopened, you can't get an answer


So, if you plan on it being reopened, leave some breadcrumbs for people

Make it easy for them to see that the question was closed wrongly. Don't make them go to the revision history

That way, it gets reopened

Since nobody can answer it anyway, the existence of the dupe header doesn't really affect the answering situation

In the "closed" phase, you want reopen votes. Make it easy for the voters, you'll be more likely to get votes

Now, I'm not really sure about that, and I'd like community consensus (or an official response) on this. Is it OK to remove the dupe header when you edit the question into a non-dupe? More generally, are there any situations where removing the dupe header is not considered abuse?

  • Maybe the HTML comment (added to ensure proper formatting, if I recall correctly, and maybe also needed for automatic removal) could include "do not remove"? – Arjan Jul 5 '12 at 4:41
  • @Arjan: Yeah, its added for proper formatting, and it also makes it easily removable by Community♦ (Community♦ just chops of everything above the line). That's a good idea, though. – Manishearth Jul 5 '12 at 4:42
  • 2
    Editing, yes. Removing, no. – Ry- Jul 5 '12 at 4:47
  • the word amputating is unnecessarily disrespectful. One of my family recently lost both legs. I ask to have the title editted please. Thanks... for ruining my day – ajax333221 Jul 5 '12 at 5:49
  • @ajax Sorry, didn't mean to offend anyone.. I just used it to stress the fact that something, that in normal circumstances wouldn't be removed, was removed. – Manishearth Jul 5 '12 at 6:21

I don't know if there are any legitimate reasons for manually editing out the auto-inserted blurb or if it's overboard to call it "abuse". but I'll just say that making such an edit isn't going to be very helpful to anyone, and persistently trying to force the duplicate link out is not going to reflect very well on the question asker.

Remember that simply editing out the duplicate link(s) isn't going to magically cause your question to be reopened to new answers. It'll remain closed as a duplicate — we just have to jump through an extra hoop to find out what question(s) it was closed as a duplicate of.

As a question asker, if you feel that your question is not a duplicate, you should edit the content of your question and respond to comments accordingly, and then either vote to reopen it (if you have enough reputation) or flag it for moderator attention. Besides, when a question that was closed as a duplicate is reopened, the link that is automatically inserted is also automatically removed. No need to force it out through manual edits and rollbacks and wasting everybody's time.

Of course, whether a question gets reopened is still left up to the community to vote, or in extreme cases, a moderator's decision. Just remember also that a moderator's close/reopen vote is not final, and can still be contested by the community as long as a case can be made — it just happens that a moderator vote causes the action to take immediate effect.

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