Maybe I'm having a premature senior moment, but I'm sure that when editing an answer there used to be a link to the existing answer - which I used to use to bring up the original question in a separate tab. It was fabulously useful, but it seems to have gone.

Am I delusional?

If not, what was the reason for removing said link, and is there any chance we could have it back please? (Or have a copy of the question in the edit page, probably collapsed to start with but expandable.)

  • 8
    Phew! It's not just me then. :-) Oct 25, 2009 at 18:42
  • 14
    I want it back! ;-) Oct 27, 2009 at 15:18
  • Me too.. Or have a preview of the original question.
    – OscarRyz
    Oct 31, 2009 at 3:48
  • 1
    Argh. Very frustrating when you've in the middle of editing an answer and want to go back to check what exactly the q or some other answer said – now you can no longer do that by opening a new tab from the link
    – Jonik
    Nov 4, 2009 at 22:31
  • Ah, you had already said the same thing. :) Oh well, I only bothered to read the title as I just had to vent some of the frustration.
    – Jonik
    Nov 4, 2009 at 22:35
  • 1
    Workaround: in Firefox at least, you can middle-click or control-click the "< Back" button, and (assuming the question was the last thing you viewed before clicking Edit) it will show the question in a new tab.
    – devuxer
    Nov 29, 2009 at 0:22
  • @DanThMan: Yes, that works in Chrome too. Not in IE though, AFAIK.
    – Jon Skeet
    Nov 29, 2009 at 8:23
  • @Jon, Indeed, no dice for Explorer.
    – devuxer
    Nov 30, 2009 at 4:05
  • @DanM: If the back button is active, that is. If you open a question in a new tab, it isn't. Feb 11, 2011 at 16:57

7 Answers 7


I'm going to miss that one! That was indeed useful to double check specifics from the OP. Where can we sign the petition to bring it back?

Edit: to clarify my thoughts... I totally get that new development generally needs to be biased towards new users, and (realistically) monetization: if there was a new [feature-request] "add a back to question link", I'd merrily say "hold [ctrl] when you click". But lets not actively spend dev time making things more awkward for the site addicts. Pretty please.

Edit edit: [ctrl]+(click back button) in Chrome does what we need ;-p (at least, it does in 4.x). You are using your employer's browser, yes?

  • 1
    +1 for your [CTRL]+Back button - works with Firefox also Oct 25, 2009 at 21:56
  • Ctrl+Back also works in Chrome
    – ChrisF Mod
    Oct 25, 2009 at 21:57
  • 2
    Finally, a legitimate use of <kbd> on meta, and I still can't use it :-( Oct 25, 2009 at 22:04
  • Ironically, I considered it but never actually tried it. And yes, I'm very much using Chrome.
    – Jon Skeet
    Oct 25, 2009 at 22:07
  • 6
    I was going to accept this answer, but it doesn't work in IE 8. While I don't use IE myself, I think the site ought to be "about" as useful in IE as in Firefox and Chrome. In other words, I still want the link back :)
    – Jon Skeet
    Oct 26, 2009 at 9:34
  • Tried so much, but that CTRL+Back doesn't work in Opera.
    – random
    Oct 26, 2009 at 13:21
  • On my home machines I use FF to view SO on my work machines I use IE. @codinghorror et al. gizus back the return to answer link please. Oct 27, 2009 at 12:48
  • In Safari on a Mac: Command-click to open a new tab with that previous page.
    – Arjan
    Dec 9, 2009 at 18:39
  • @Marc I'm pretty sure this is the petition to bring it back! [Edit: or was, anyway -- oops!]
    – SamB
    Apr 8, 2010 at 20:07

Random changes like this are a real pain for long-time users that have a certain workflow. It's not like I can't get used to the new way, but I don't see the point of dropping a simple hyperlink that people used. If you'll look at the people that expressed their dissatifaction with this change, you'll notice it's mostly users that have been along fow a while and that actually edit stuff. Why make their life harder?


You're right - it's gone & rather than having it back a copy of the question would be better. You could even hide it from regular users behind a link/button that would display it without a refresh.

It's gone across all four sites - currently showing version 5066.


I was just about to post this question too. I don't understand why it's gone and it is inconvenient, particularly because the question isn't displayed when you edit an answer for it. I usually find myself ctrl+clicking on the "Return to Question" link to open the question in a new tab to refer to some detail in it.

Edit: Seriously, can we get this back or a comment as to why it was removed? It makes no sense.

Edit 2: Why can't we at least get a comment as to why it was removed? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Can't we just have it back? It's a huge pain.


Looks like it disappeared shortly after the start of revamping the Ask Your Question page more toward friending the new users.

Doesn't make sense to lose it since the people who would use that link would be more intune with how the site works, or at least have an idea and not be so cleared out of distractions that they format the post wrong.

Really miss seeing it when editing a post. Looks like having to reflow the whole process in order to click out to a new tab just in case. It was handy if you were cleaning up a post and then wanting to double check to see or combine any comments to better the post.

Know what it feels like now when you're editing a post and the link back is gone? It feels like you're posting a brand new question.


(Since my question was closed as a duplicate, I'll post here)

Will there ever be an explanation why the link was removed? Any chance that it could be added again?

Sometimes it can be really useful to have the possibility to go back the the question to check some details (e.g. names of variables, functions, etc) to correctly refer to them in the answer.


I would think that this change is somewhat related to a 2003 article by Joel Spolsky which give an answer to the question

Why don't you show me the post I'm replying to, while I compose my reply?

Because that will tempt you to quote a part of it in your own reply. Anything I can do to reduce the amount of quoting will increase the fluidity of the conversation, making topics interesting to read. Whenever someone quotes something from above, the person who reads the topic has to read the same thing twice in a row, which is pointless and automatically guaranteed to be boring.

Sometimes people still try to quote things, usually because they are replying to something from three posts ago, or because they're mindlessly nitpicking and they need to rebut 12 separate points. These are not bad people, they're just programmers, and programming requires you to dot every i and cross every t, so you get into a frame of mind where you can't leave any argument unanswered any more than you would ignore an error from your compiler. But I'll be damned if I make it EASY on you. I'm almost tempted to try to find a way to show posts as images so you can't cut and paste them. If you really need to reply to something from three posts ago, kindly take a moment to compose a decent English sentence ("When Fred said blah, he must not have considered..."), don't litter the place with your <<<>>>s.

  • Showing as an image wouldn't be that bad would it?
    – random
    Oct 26, 2009 at 15:03
  • Showing an image would be overkill on the server, and would you show an image of the entire conversation? That image would be huge. Oct 26, 2009 at 15:20
  • 5
    I doubt this has anything to do with the removal. Most often I have to go back to reread a section, just to be sure I'm answering the right thing. I hate to be completely off-topic. I haven't seen a big misuse of citation yet. Ok, I haven't seen a misuse of the <kbd> tag either and Jeff disabled it nevertheless. You never know the reasoning of The Unpredictable God... Oct 26, 2009 at 15:45
  • 6
    Quoting sentences is one thing - but quoting code (potentially after fixing it) is absolutely crucial. More often than not that's why I want to see the original question - to grab the code posted there.
    – Jon Skeet
    Oct 26, 2009 at 16:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .