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When user flags or votes to close as a duplicate, a "Possible duplicate of [question]" comment is auto-generated on their behalf. When the closure succeeds, the comment is automatically deleted. But when the closure fails, the comment remains there as it is.

The comment is still useful in the sense that it establishes a link between the two questions (so they appear in the right sidebar). They might not exactly be duplicates, but they are definitely related to each other.

However, because the comment was added automatically as part of the closure, it certainly is no longer needed once the closure is over. It should be deleted, or better, edited into "Related" form.

Thus the suggestion is that the comment of the form "Possible duplicate of [link]()" should be automatically edited into "Related: [link]()" once the dupe closure for that particular linked question fails.


Addendum: IMO, saying that a question is a "possible duplicate" of another question is not the same as saying they both are "related". There can always be two distinct questions about the same closely related topic (like this one). A failed duplicate closure indicates that the questions were so closely related to each other that they were mistaken as a duplicate.

Once the dupe closure has failed, the "possible duplicate" comment makes little sense, and therefore should be edited into "Related".

  • One major flaw here: what exactly is "failed closure"? How can it "fail"? Close votes just expire at some point, but new votes can be cast. First you must define what you mean by failed closure. (e.g. two days pass since flag/vote cast and question still not closed) – Shadow Wizard Jul 15 '18 at 4:04
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    @Shadow "failed closure" means that the review completed with less than five close votes (this question could not be closed), and those associated votes aged away. Basically, any "possible duplicate" comment on a question with currently zero duplicate close votes. – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 4:06
  • I disagree, because it provides a permanent archive of the close vote, and it says "possible". – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Jul 15 '18 at 4:48
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    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog The "permanent archive" and many other details are already visible in the post timeline. As far as I understand them, the comments are not a place to keep archive records. – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 4:52
  • The archive is partially lost if the user who left the comment didn't have enough rep to vote to close, and thus flagged instead. Also, the word "possible" exists for a reason. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Jul 15 '18 at 4:55
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog it doesn't say "possibly related", but rather "possible duplicate". It's one thing to say any given two questions are "possible duplicate"s, and a whole another thing to say they are "related". Once the closure fails, I feel that particular distinction should be made clearer. – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 4:59
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    @GaurangTandon what review?? Users can cast close votes outside review, I rarely use review here on MSE for example. Not going through review can't be any indication to "failed closure". Sorry, but your request simply makes no sense in its current form, due to lacking a clear definition when to add the link to the "related" section. (the review part isn't really relevant unless you edit and make it clear you mean only review to begin with.) – Shadow Wizard Jul 15 '18 at 6:11
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    @ShadowWizard "what review??" The close vote review, like this one? That's what it says: "Review completed date at time" Any dupe close votes cast on a question automatically generate that "possible duplicate" comment (if it wasn't there already), and push the question into the review queue. And, yes, users can cast votes outside of the review queue. But to invalidate the dupe closure (which is the case I'm concerned about), they have to go into the review queue and vote Leave Open. – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 6:26
  • Your question doesn't mention review at all, so it came to me as total surprise. For me, closure is something independent, review is just a "bonus" to help stuff being closed/flagged/deleted. One failed review item can't be "failed closure", since anyone can still cast close votes and flags on the question. Also, Leave Open has no actual effect, it does NOT clear the close votes. – Shadow Wizard Jul 15 '18 at 6:29
  • @ShadowWizard Ah, that makes much more sense now. How about this trigger scenario then: "Users cast dupe close votes on a question, and it fails to reach the necessary five vote threshold. Eventually, all the dupe votes on that question age away." For example, if there were three dupe close votes on day 1. Then on day 10, a fourth user gave a fourth dupe vote. With no additional votes hence, on day 14/24 (4th/14th day from the day the last close vote was cast, based on the question's views), the comment editing script should be triggered, since all the votes aged away. Sounds good? – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 6:35
  • Yes it sounds better, but, well, it appears already as Linked (forgot about it in the beginning), so all of this is not really relevant anyway. – Shadow Wizard Jul 15 '18 at 6:53
  • @ShadowWizard See my addendum. I was specifically concerned about the wording of the comment. – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 6:54
  • ohhhh... that's really hard to understand. I'll try editing later perhaps so others might understand faster. But still, even when it will make sense, I don't expect many will agree with this idea, so if you're concerned about the downvotes and prefer to delete this let me know and I'll remove my answer. (which isn't relevant to your real question, but I leave it until the question is edited to reflect better what you really mean.) – Shadow Wizard Jul 15 '18 at 6:57
  • @ShadowWizard I would appreciate if you help out with the editing, in case you feel the meaning is not properly conveyed. It's alright if users don't agree with the idea, my job is to only pitch new suggestions that I feel could be useful. I am not concerned about the downvotes though, and please don't delete your answer because I don't wanna have my question Roomba'ed! – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 7:01
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    @ShadowWizard Alright :( I appreciate the help though. Thanks. – Gaurang Tandon Jul 15 '18 at 12:26
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Sometimes people manually post "possible dupe" comments without voting to close, too -- maybe because they're uncertain, maybe because they don't have enough reputation to vote to close, or maybe because they're moderators who don't want to cast a binding close vote. Comments about possible duplicates are not always the result of close votes, in other words.

Further, the comment doesn't stop being true just because the question remained open.

Third, editing other people's comments to change their meaning is bad form and has no public audit trail.

Finally, this is a lot of work -- possibly error-prone because of my first point -- for comments. If you see them and you think they're obsolete, flag them. If they're still relevant, then people benefit from the links.

It's not broken.

  • "no public audit trail." Isn't the comment edit history visible to mods? – Gaurang Tandon Jul 18 '18 at 2:31
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    @GaurangTandon I said public. Yes, mods and community managers can see edits, but, by comparison, everybody can see edits to posts. Also, edits to comments don't notify the author, unlike post edits. Mods have to be very careful with comment edits. – Monica Cellio Jul 18 '18 at 2:37

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