Sometimes when I ask a question, I see someone posting a comment on my question "Possible duplicate of...", and I see such banner:

However, the suggested "duplicate" does not really contain any answer to my own problem. Why should I edit my question?

A more extreme example:

Imagine you ask for 'Python loops', and someone comment that your question is a possible duplicate of 'Regular expression to get a phone number'. Should it be reported? How can I avoid to edit the question?


2 Answers 2


Such comments are automatically generated when someone else votes or flags your question as a possible duplicate. This also adds a notice with the duplicate at the top, an option to close it yourself, and a prompt to edit it if it's different. The prompt disappears if you edit your question.

However, you don't have to edit the question if you think it's quite clear it's not a duplicate. The system is designed to make sure that actions such as closing a question only take place if multiple users agree (unless, of course, a moderator or gold-badge holder is involved, which isn't the case here).

The vote or flag that generated the notice also pushes your question into a queue where others can agree or disagree if the question should be closed. If it's clear the question isn't a duplicate, it's highly likely that those who frequent the review queue will disagree and the votes or flags will disappear after a few days.

Once all the close votes age away, the notice will disappear as well. Until then, you'll just have to live with that notice. Don't worry, it doesn't mean the question is closed; it just means there is a pending vote to close it as a duplicate of that target.

  • Looks like this was something from December and not on-topic for SO anyway... Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 8:39
  • @JonClements It was also cross-posted on Super User.
    – user204841
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 8:42
  • @Modus So it was. Will remove the SO one then. Thanks. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 8:47
  • @JonClements Although my question is based on my personal experience, What does it matter when it was posted? I do not see any sense in saying that it is not on-topic anyway. I asked for what to do in this case, just that. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 8:48
  • Thanks for the clear answer, Sonic. I will choose your answer. Have a nice day. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 8:49
  • @Victor okay... Just saying it wasn't on topic for SO which you seemed to have realised because a few hours later after posting it there you posted it on SU. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 8:50
  • @JonClements Yes, I posted it on SU because a SO user told me the question will be more appropiated there. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 8:52
  • 3
    @VíctorLópez You were supposed to delete the SO question before posting the SU one. If you couldn't, you should have flagged for a moderator to delete or migrate. Failing to do so is seen as cross-posting. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 9:06

You don't have to edit anything if you don't want to.

If a user leaves such a comment, take it for what it is: Criticism. For whatever reason, he thought your question looked like a duplicate. You obviously think it's not.

But just because someone leaves a criticism doesn't mean he's right. Just take it as a prompt to re-examine your question for potential points of confusion and maybe make it clearer, but just because one user has an opinion (right or wrong) doesn't mean you're under any obligation to do anything about it.

But if your question is unclear and you don't fix it, well, there's plenty of other people out there, many of whom also probably have opinions.

  • 2
    Saying a question might be a duplicate should not be taken as criticism. A users whom has enough reputation points, is indicating they believe the question is a duplicate of an existing question, saying a question is a duplicate should be taken as feedback. By using the word "criticism" you are saying putting a negative context to the action of flagging a question as a duplicate of another question.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 12:21

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