On the Gaming.SE Meta, I asked this question regarding how the duplicate close reason text (for when a question is voted as a duplicate by the community) should be changed. From my post, here is what the current close text states:

Close reason Text

My proposal was to have it changed to something that refers to editing the question to be more clear and allow for it to be reopened. My suggestion was:

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, or if your question is actually different than the duplicate, [please edit your question] to be more clear and allow for it to be reopened.

Where the part within the [ ] would be a link to the edit page for the question. It is to my understanding that usually we don't recommend people to ask a new question but to rather edit the current one and allow for it to be reopened. In fact, most of the time when someone asks a new question, it's flagged as a duplicate of the duplicate (at least over on Arqade). The reason I ask this here, is because I flagged my post for a moderator to view it and have the changed implemented/submitted to SE, but they said it's an Exchange wide close reason, and that we couldn't change it.

So, should we reword the closure text for duplicate questions or is asking a new question the proper protocol?

2 Answers 2


This is already the case, the OP (aka author) of the question see a different banner when viewing their own closed question:

Other users who see a question closed as duplicate are not really required to edit it, so for them the proper action is indeed asking a new question.

  • How come it's not like that in Arqade then? The picture in my post is not like that.
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:39
  • 1
    @TimmyJim pretty sure it's the same, the question is not yours. Ask the author of the question what he/she see in the banner. Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:40
  • I see, the wording appears different depending on the ownership of the post. Looking at an old duplicate of mine on Super User, this is the case.
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:42
  • @TimmyJim indeed, that's what I said in the first sentence of the answer. :) Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:53
  • 1
    Just reiterating - I didn't know that it was varied by user. Neat functionality.
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:54
  • This is only the case for questions closed as exact duplicates, not duplicates. I don't see this on most of my duplicate questions.
    – Picachieu
    Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 1:22

Even though Shadow Wizard's answer points out that there is a different message shown to the actual question owner, I still think a change in text is warranted. Both the publicly displayed text and the personally displayed text are misleading.

The public text states:

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.

This is misleading because if the question has been asked before but the answers do not fully address your question, the appropriate course of action is decidedly not to ask a new question. Any new question will also be closed as a duplicate. The recommended course of action is to try to solicit better answers to the existing question in any number of ways (e.g. comment, bounty, chat, etc.). So the last part of the text telling users to add a new question should be removed, and possible replaced with a directive to solicit better answers to the existing question.

If the "ask a new question" directive is referring to a question that is actually different, then the sentence should not open with "If those answers do not fully address your question" which clearly implies that it is the same question but you are just unsatisfied with the existing answers. It should say "If you have a different question". While this would be more accurate, in truth it would still be unnecessarily confusing. If someone truly has a different question, I doubt they will think that they can't ask it because a different question was closed as a duplicate. The text clearly states that this question has been asked before and already has an answer. Obviously, a different question has not necessarily been already asked and answered. Introducing the suggestion about asking a new question is probably more likely to confuse people into re-asking duplicate questions.

The private text suffers from the same flaw. The text states:

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question. If this question is different, please edit it to explain how it is different or ask a new question.

The beginning of the second sentence is great; if the question is different then indeed the correct thing to do is to explain how it is different. However, the end of the sentence is misleading. Posting it as a new question is not going to help. If this iteration got closed as a duplicate then the next one will to, unless it explains how it's different. If there is actually an explanation that can show a difference, then that explanation should be edited into the first attempt, and not be posted as a new attempt.

And if the text is referring to a completely different question then it is a non-sequitur. It's not "if this question is different" that you should ask a new question; it's "if you coincidentally happen to have another question" that you should post a new question. And if the person truly has a completely different question, it would seem pretty self-evident that it would not be prevented on account of an earlier question being a duplicate. So once again the text introduces unnecessary confusion.

In light of this, I suggest that the "ask a new question" part of both texts should be removed.

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