Someone on Meta Stack Overflow just asked this question: Make the error "This edit would have to be a suggested edit" more verbose

Which was just flagged as a possible duplicate of this question: Uninformative (and Confusing) Error Message for Suggested Edit Conflict

Which was flagged and marked as a duplicate of this question: "This edit would have to be a suggested edit" / edit button grayed out

Which is linked in the first question. My question, why on Earth was a feature request flagged as a duplicate of a support question when the best answer to the support question is "I dunno it could probably be less cryptic" ([SIC]Yes, that error message could have been less cryptic.) and both the first and second links are asking that this be changed?

The third link asks "Why is this happening?" and an answer was posted, but obviously it wasn't changed. Why are feature requests asking that it be changed being flagged and marked as duplicates when that question is answered and no resolution will come of it as it isn't a feature request? Instead, the second question only garnered flags and nonconstructive comments.

Edit: I was a bit harsh on the maturity of the language, but the question still stands. To clarify the question is:

  • Should this be in writing as a feature request (a la questions 1 & 2).
  • Should this be closed as dupe when there's a difference between "Why is this happening?" and "Can we please change this?".


  • Is there a discernable difference between "Why is this happening?" and "Can we please change this?" that disqualifies it from closure as a dupe?
  • Only one user has voted to close that question. It is still open, and is apparently not gathering more close votes. Mistakes happen, and close votes expire after a while for this very reason. The question will most probably end up fine. Sep 6, 2013 at 13:41
  • Yes, well, the second question I linked was marked as a duplicate and snide, assinine comments were all it garnered. The third link asked why, the second question asked that it be changed. That's not a duplicate. Sep 6, 2013 at 13:44
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    It might be because one of our community managers answered the third link, and was called out for a less cryptic message in a comment. Even if that question is not tagged [feature-request], Shog9 being aware of the problem may be good enough for the rest of us, and similar feature requests may be seen as duplicates for this reason. Sep 6, 2013 at 13:48
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    You should realize by now that Meta is fairly Unicorn heavy. The comments on the second question were made in jest, I'm sure. And I'm hard pressed to believe that psubsee2003 would see it any differently. And yeah, given Shog9's comments, I'd say it suffices as a dupe ultimately. Though that might not be all that clear to the casual observer.
    – Bart
    Sep 6, 2013 at 13:58
  • @Zach if you noticed, I actually voted to close it originally (I've actually changed my mine because of the fact that I don't think it is a dup since it is a feature request to change the message, which is why I voted to close the newest question as a dup is mine). And Bart is right, there were no assine comments as I saw them. Sep 6, 2013 at 14:04
  • @Bart You clarified it best. The important questions then are "Should this be in writing as a feature request?" and "Should this be closed as dupe when there's a difference between 'Why is this happening?' and 'Can we please change this?'". Sep 6, 2013 at 14:05
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    @Bart - I think the issue, though, is that it's difficult to vote on whether the language should be changed or provide alternative wordings in the comments on an answer in a support question. I think it's entirely appropriate to break that out into a new question.
    – JDB
    Sep 6, 2013 at 14:08
  • @Bart the only reason I disagree now is Shog really didn't address the idea of changing it except to say "It could be clearer". I'm not sure I agree that it is really an answer to a feature request. But there are stranger duplicates on this site than this one. Sep 6, 2013 at 14:08
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    Made an edit. Clarified a few things. Sep 6, 2013 at 14:18
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    see "Outcome #2" in this answer to similar question "edit your question and add something like..."
    – gnat
    Sep 6, 2013 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


Anybody with sufficient priveleges can vote to close a question as a duplicate, but it takes 4 people agreeing with them (or 5 if it's a flag, or 1 mod in rare cases) to actually close it.

If you disagree, express that in the comments or clarify your question to explain why previous posts have not fully addressed the issue/question.

So for this particular post, my answer is a bit different (in case you haven't noticed my comments). The primary post in question is clearly a duplicate of the second, but the second is, in my opinion, not a duplicate of the third.


Is there a discernable difference between "Why is this happening?" and "Can we please change this?" that disqualifies it from closure as a dupe?

Well if you search for Bug Vs Feature request the very first result is a Coding Horror Article "That's Not a Bug, It's a Feature Request" The ending of which leads me believe that no, there is no discernible difference and the last thing anyone should be doing is arguing over what's a bug and what's a feature request.

One of my favorite things about UserVoice -- which we use for Stack Overflow -- is the way it intentionally blurs the line between bugs and feature requests. Users never understand the difference anyway, and what's worse, developers tend to use that division as a wedge against users. Nudge things you don't want to do into that "feature request" bucket, and proceed to ignore them forever. Argue strongly and loudly enough that something reported as a "bug" clearly isn't, and you may not have to to do any work to fix it. Stop dividing the world into Bugs and Feature Requests, and both of these project pathologies go away.

I wish we could, as an industry, spend less time fighting tooth and nail over definitions, painstakingly placing feedback in the "bug" or "feature request" buckets -- and more time doing something constructive with our users' feedback.

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    That doesn't particularly help. We're not arguing Bug Vs Feature request The question hinges on the fact that the third question linked may/may not get the attention it needs to be fixed. A feature request most likely will get this attention. Why are we flagging feature requests as dupes of questions that won't achieve the resolution that the feature request system is in place for? Sep 6, 2013 at 16:55
  • @ZachSmith A feature request most likely will get this attention. What makes you think that? Sep 6, 2013 at 17:59
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    Arguing about bug and feature requests aside, the comment about changing the language was just in passing. The true purpose of that particular post was summed up in the last sentence: "But, at the very least, hopefully there will soon be an answer on meta to enlighten people who scratch their chins over this in the future." There was an answer which provided that enlightenment, so that discussion is done. Hijacking it to argue (constructively) about what the new language should be or whether it should be changed at all seems inappropriate. A new question is the right course, in my opinion.
    – JDB
    Sep 6, 2013 at 18:37
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    @Cyborgx37 The fact that it's on shog9's radar is enough for me. I don't really see any value added by the feature request. I guess since it's been re-opened we'll find out if it does anything Sep 6, 2013 at 19:17

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