When a question has pending close votes, the system now adds a banner indicating that the question might be a duplicate:

This question may already have an answer here: "mkdir foo; svn mv * foo"

But the first user to vote still generates a possible duplicate comment:

possible duplicate of "mkdir foo; svn mv * foo" -- Gilles  1 hour ago

Those comments were always a hack, just like editing the link into the top of the post. The banner eliminated the need for the latter; can we stop generating those comments too?

  • 6
    Ah, the banner appears after the first duplicate vote? I didn't know that; I'm a mod, so my votes are always binding.
    – user102937
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:27
  • 16
    Also we should stop removing all comments linking to the duplicate
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:28
  • 3
    Question: Is it ever relevant to point out to the close-voter that it isn't a duplicate, or otherwise engage the close-voter in discussion via comments? I've done that many times, without the auto-comment it's not possible.
    – user159834
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:29
  • @RobertHarvey Yeah, first vote enters it. Rather annoying I think (even as a close-voter). But I'll give it some time to see if my "CHANGE BAD!" response goes away.
    – Bart
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:30
  • 2
    @WesleyMurch it's relevant to point out to future close voters/potential reopeners that it might not be. But there's not much reason to refer directly to a specific close voter like that in most cases (after all you can't un-vote)
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:30
  • 2
    @BenBrocka: The only thing I can think of (reason to target the specific user) is the close voter commenting "Oops you're right" which is a good deterrent to would-be closers, or perhaps making a mental note to reopen later if the question is wrongly closed by robo-reviewers/closers. Seems like not a big deal, but I wanted to point it out.
    – user159834
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:32
  • 1
    Excellent point! @Wesley it's not relevant to the closer himself since he can't undo or retract the vote, but it's useful for other users, so when seeing a question wrongly marked as dupe by all means add a comment saying "no it's not a dupe" and explain why. Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:32
  • @Ben, are (non-automated) comments that happen to link to duplicates indeed removed again? Then I guess I need to remove my answer at Don't delete comments with link to duplicate if they are modified.
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:36
  • @Arjan yeah, if a non-auto generated one links to it, it seems to be removed just like an auto-generated one. I remember being annoyed to find a comment of mine had disappeared like that
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:44
  • 2
    Earlier I figured I still liked that comment when one votes to close as a duplicate, but a majority of others vote with different reasons. (Screenshot) But I guess Michael is right about that not justifying using auto comments for that.
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:57
  • And Earlz noted about those auto comments, when I still found them useful: "I could see this being less useful on newer stackexchanges. The reason this is so useful here and on SO is because it has many questions which remained open even thought they were discussion or shopping questions, so when a similar question comes in, it gets closed as a discussion question, but there is a good duplicate as well."
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 20:58
  • 1
    No thanks. If it gets reopened, the visible link to the near-duplicate is gone. There may be a lot of value in near duplicates for people searching for a solution to a problem, so I think the auto-comment should stay.
    – AndrewC
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 23:20
  • @AndrewC So...keep the link in that case? My point is that now that the system has built-in support for showing duplicate links, we shouldn't be generating comments anymore Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 23:34
  • People would complain that the system was still showing a duplicate when the (high-rep) users had descided it wasn't. They'd call it a bug and feel like they couldn't get justice. As a comment, it's clear it had its time, and the disussion following it is evident.
    – AndrewC
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 14:52
  • But, @Andrew, auto-comments would be deleted when the question is closed as a duplicate anyway, and would not automatically reappear when it's reopened at a later time. (Even edited auto-comments are often deleted.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


As of the latest build, only the question asker will see the banner while a question is still open - it will be hidden from everyone else. After closure, everyone will see it.

The comments will continue to be generated when flagging to close, since this will ping the question asker via the global inbox.

Also after closure, the "Linked" questions sidebar will start to include links to the originals, in case you miss the banner at the top of the question.

  • Do 3k's still see the banner before it's closed?
    – Mysticial
    Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 3:06
  • No, only the question asker will see the banner before the question is closed. Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 3:08
  • 4
    Ah. I like this! So this completely closes the loophole for abuse.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 3:09
  • 1
    Nicely done. Will there be any official statement about all those recent changes in the dupe mechanism or only those answers you recently left? Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 8:02
  • @JarrodDixon Could this be extended to other close reasons as well? See my recent question here: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/278244/… Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 15:48
  • There is the issue that the auto generated comment may be hidden, see meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/296973/… Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 17:35
  • "The comments will continue to be generated when flagging to close, since this will ping the question asker via the global inbox." Why not cut out the middleman? Send the notification directly to the asker's inbox. Why is the comment required to achieve that?
    – Masked Man
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 17:07
  • @MaskedMan because it's an ugly hack, hijacking existing functionality instead of writing new code. Why it needs to be posted in my name, however...
    – Luc
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 15:13

I think the reason the system still adds a comment automatically is because users with less than 3k can't see the banner, so I guess the comments have a reason. I want to know why the banner was added though.

I found this out today in chat.

  • 2
    This feature request might end up evolving into "use the banner for everything the comments are currently used for" Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 23:38
  • 5
    What?!! Who the fluff is the banner for, then?!
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 7:17
  • 1
    I honestly don't know who the banner was added for, or why it was added. It seems rather weird to me.
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 15:01
  • It also generates an inbox notification to the question asker. Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 21:23
  • @JarrodDixon The banner sends an inbox notification?
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 0:07
  • 2
    Sorry, no... the reason the comment was kept was because it provided inbox notifications. Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 0:14
  • @Jarrod, I noticed that closed duplicates are no longer in the "Linked" list of the duplicate. Like Don't exclude results because of quoted punctuation does not link back to the closed Exact search syntax matches only full words. Is that the expected behaviour? (I think this was different, earlier.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 19:46
  • @Arjan those sidebar "Linked" questions will soon be back in the next build Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 2:53

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