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I just had a case of a user who re-posted his question because his first question was closed as a duplicate. And, logically, I closed his re-post as a duplicate of his original, asking him to edit his original and explain why it's not a duplicate, so we can reopen it.

This process has worked like that for years now, but suddenly I realized that with the new message, question repetition is even encouraged:

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Clearly, a new user who finds their questions closed will now be happy to just post their question again and again, until it's not a duplicate anymore, instead of just fixing their original post.

We need to be more explicit about this, and show this message to the OP of the question:

If those answers do not fully address your question, please edit your question and explain why it is not a duplicate.

The original message should still be visible to other users and visitors, as they can't fix that question, of course.

  • I think that message is intended for visitors to SO who may not have asked any questions before. If those answers do not address the visitor's need, he/she is encouraged to participate on SO and ask the first question. – Antony Apr 2 '13 at 12:48
  • True, I never looked at it this way. I clarified that point. We could just show this message to the OP of the question and leave the original one for all others. – slhck Apr 2 '13 at 12:49
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    I'm pretty sure the message is different for the OP, and says something like "edit your question to clarify how its different from the duplicate" instead. The "please ask a new question" only shows up for all other users, because they really should be asking a new question instead of editing someone else's existing question if they have a similar-but-not-duplicate problem. – Rachel Apr 2 '13 at 12:49
  • @Rachel Oh, you're totally right. I just had a conversation with a user who apparently didn't see this, but they might have just not looked close enough. And of course I never saw one of my own questions closed as a duplicate… Can someone slap me on the forehead? (And can you post this as an answer?) – slhck Apr 2 '13 at 12:51
  • @slhck Sure, I posted it and also found the link to the other meta post explaining this. This could probably be closed as a duplicate – Rachel Apr 2 '13 at 12:53
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This message is different for the OP and actually says "please edit this question to explain how it is different or ask a new question"

enter image description here

The "please ask a new question" text only shows up for all other users, because they really should be asking a new question instead of editing someone else's existing question if they have a similar-but-not-duplicate problem

  • Thank you, Rachel. I wonder if there's anything else that would currently encourage users to re-post rather than fix their questions, but that message can't be any more clear, can it? (Or maybe the "ask a new question" should be removed…) – slhck Apr 2 '13 at 12:56
  • @slhck I think SE is trying to come up with some other term than "closed" for closed questions, which I think will help. "Closed" tends to make people think "rejected" or "nothing more will happen here", and they often don't realize it is meant to be a temporary status that can be removed if they fix the reason their question was closed in the first place. – Rachel Apr 2 '13 at 12:59
  • Well, it's already "marked" as a duplicate. And yeah, I hope they change the wording for other close reasons soon, but this doesn't really apply here. Maybe this was just a case of "didn't read"… – slhck Apr 2 '13 at 13:03
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    By the way, I just think this is so cool. I love how the SE folks do all this cool, smart stuff like dynamically changing the explanation text depending on the user. – Cody Gray Apr 2 '13 at 17:50
  • @CodyGray Do I sense a little bit of sarcasm? – slhck Apr 3 '13 at 11:03
  • @shlck Not at all! Hmm, I see how you could interpret it that way. Especially coming from me. But I really mean that. – Cody Gray Apr 3 '13 at 22:12

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