The Help Center article on duplicates contains the following statement:

The original question must have an answer; you cannot mark a question as a duplicate of an unanswered one.

Screenshot of Help Center article

While this is generally true, moderators can close questions as duplicates even if the original question does not have any answers.

Can the statement be modified to reflect this?

  • 3
    Also that sentence should be omitted entirely on this site's help center, as here on MSE normal users can close questions as duplicates of unanswered ones. Feb 1, 2019 at 3:11

1 Answer 1


How 'bout this:

The original question generally must have an answer; questions may only be marked as duplicates of unanswered questions on meta sites, when the questions share the same author, or when closed by a moderator.

  • Perfect. And quick.
    – Alex
    Feb 1, 2019 at 3:40
  • Quick grammar issue: "on meta sites, when the questions share the same author" may imply an AND relationship instead of an OR relationship. I suggest listing meta sites as the last item in the list. Feb 1, 2019 at 3:45
  • Also, questions that have answers but no positive-scoring or accepted answer can't be used as duplicate targets either (on main sites). Feb 1, 2019 at 3:47
  • Should there be something to clarify whether the distinction of a question that was answered in the comments but has no Answers versus a question that was edited by the poster to contain the answer within the question versus no answer at all? Because it seems to me like it should be possible to mark something a duplicate of the first two of those even without a special case. But I'm new here, so I really don't know how it works, and I know that some people will argue anything if it's not spelled out.
    – Ed Grimm
    Feb 1, 2019 at 7:05
  • @EdGrimm "answer" refers to the type of post. Feb 1, 2019 at 7:20
  • Considering the number of questions I've seen that have the explanation in the form of a comment, that choice sounds unwise. But it is at least good to understand what that choice is.
    – Ed Grimm
    Feb 1, 2019 at 22:49
  • 2
    @SonictheIntrovertedHedgehog: In a comma-separated list, the conjunction at the end of the list ("or" in this case) distributes over the whole list. That's just English grammar, no need to clarify it. If Shog had not used an Oxford comma, I might agree with you, however.
    – Kevin
    Feb 2, 2019 at 12:14

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