A recent case of a question being marked as a duplicate of another still unanswered question pushed me to think about unanswered questions and questions that asks already asked things.

I understand that we need to concentrate answers in a single place, so we have a way to mark duplicates. Also asking again the same question few time after the original question seems not a good idea. But what if we find that a new question is a duplicate of an old unanswered question? I think we should mark as duplicate the old question, instead of the new one, as the purpose of concentrate answers will still be achieved, while we would get more chances to get answers.

Either if you agree or not marking as duplicate the old question, the banner notifying about the duplicate should be reworded to avoid confussion. As it is now, the banner we can see is (emphasis mine):

marked as duplicate by [Nice_Citizen] 1 hour ago

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.

while it is clear that the original question still has no answer, and the text suggest a new question could be asked in case the question was not fully addressed.


1- If the original question is older than 30 days we should mark as duplicate the older question, instead of the new one.

2- The banner could be modified as:

marked as duplicate by [Nice_Citizen] 1 hour ago

This question has been unanswered for more than 30 days, and has become a duplicate of: [Link-to-the-new-question]

  • 1
    So you vote to close the new one and all of a sudden the system is telling you you just did the opposite of what you sat down to do? Why is that user friendly?
    – random
    Jul 23, 2015 at 23:44
  • What happens now if you vote to close the old question? Jul 23, 2015 at 23:49
  • 2
  • 1
    You can't even close as a duplicate of an unanswered question, regardless of age
    – random
    Jul 23, 2015 at 23:53
  • If none of the questions are closed, what happens with the purpose of concentrating answers? I already did read a lot questions on the subject, and maybe my proposal is not the best, but we can modify it to make it better, in case you agree something should be done. Jul 24, 2015 at 0:04
  • @BlasSoriano, thanks for putting the effort in asking this question :)
    – AmmarCSE
    Jul 24, 2015 at 0:55
  • Maybe we should answer the old question Jul 24, 2015 at 5:21

2 Answers 2


Users cannot close a question as a duplicate of an unanswered question, unless one of the following applies:

  1. Both questions are by the same user (double-post)
  2. We are on a meta site (consolidating bug reports that are about the same bug yet to be fixed, etc). The questions and answers work very differently here, and the concern about "more chances to get answers" does not really apply.
  • So these are not closed, just marked as duplicates. Should we modify the banner? Jul 24, 2015 at 0:00
  • I wrote "closed as duplicate", the text is actually "marked" to make the message sound less negative. They are closed.
    – user259867
    Jul 24, 2015 at 0:08
  • I mean where it says "and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question." Jul 24, 2015 at 0:10
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    This was pointed out before: “Marked as duplicate” text doesn't make sense for questions that have no answer. The bottom line, there isn't much separate UI logic for meta sites, so banners and other things don't necessarily make sense. Questions are announcements, answers are questions, etc. To quote Shog9, "Meta is a chimera, a terrifying abomination - you gotta just make the most of it."
    – user259867
    Jul 24, 2015 at 0:18

I think this would encourage users to ask the same question repeatedly, instead of reinforcing that we want to see old questions improved and answered.

I do not see the notion of a time threshold helpful. To me seeing the same question asked at two monthly intervals over the course of a year is five times too many, when our volunteer efforts could go into improving (and answering) the original question.

Closing as earlier duplicates encourages people to search before asking so that we have fewer questions to process and curate into useful Q&As.

  • As it is now, no question is closed (at least while no answers are provided), but asking a new question is being encouraged by the current banner. Useful Q&A means we get Answers, and I'm not encouraging to repeatedly asking the same question: there should be a threshold (30 days or another value). Jul 24, 2015 at 0:20

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