Today was my first attempt at flagging a question as a duplicate. When I stepped through the flagging wizard, I noticed the comment below the "duplicate" choice that says "This question has been asked before and already has an answer."

Does flagging a question as a duplicate really require that the original must have an answer?

This answer on meta says that it is not so, and that only the content of the questions is relevant. But then, why does the flagging wizard contain the comment quoted above? Am I too strict and should just accept the comment as a guideline instead of as a hard rule?

If it is of any interest, the questions I am talking about can be found here, here and here. At the time of writing, none of the questions has an accepted answer, or an answer that seems to solve the problem.

  • 2
    This is interesting all three are on the same day, have very similar codes, have similar tone/writing style, have similar deadlines, but different user account. Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 14:10
  • 1
    Super meta. This question about closing dupes was marked as a possible dupe, to a question with no accepted answer. Woah.
    – EJC
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 15:03
  • 2
    It's allowed on Meta @EJC :-). Otherwise you wouldn't be able to close bug reports as a duplicate of others. Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


The rules around closing duplicates (and the wording) were changed not too long ago, see: Changes to "close as duplicate" (part deux).

In short, yes, the duplicate must have an answer. There are exceptions (notably for questions from the same person to prevent re-posts), but the main idea is that the user should find an answer, not just another similar un-answered question.

  • I'm glad to see the exception about questions from the same user!
    – herzbube
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 18:34


As long as the questions are the same then your good to go.

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