When a question was closed as a duplicate earlier today, I noticed that the close reason suggested that the user ask a new question:

enter image description here

This seems to be a change from an earlier message, which also suggested an edit to the currently-closed question:

enter image description here

It's the first time I've noticed this – I'm not sure if this is a recent change, or one that's been in place for some time and I'm just noticing it now.

Anyhow, I prefer the earlier message. Sometimes a so-called duplicate only needs a little clarification for people to understand the nuances that make it truly an original question. I'm not sure why we'd want to insist the OP start over with a new question.

Moreover, the end state seems to be better with an edit. If an OP follows directions and asks a new question, there are now three questions on the site:

  • The OP's original question (still closed as a duplicate)
  • The OP's new question
  • The question that was deemed a duplicate

whereas with an edit, we'd only have:

  • The OP's modified question
  • The question that had been deemed a duplicate

(I realize that this could be rectified by deleting the original and now-closed question, but I still think the demand for a brand-new question puts an unnecessary burden on the OP when a mere clarification might easily solve the problem.)

I'd like to see the verbiage changed back, not necessarily to the original wording, but to something that at least suggests an edit might be a viable alternative.


The system is smarter than I thought, and probably you as well. It turns out it will show the 'edit this question' option only if you're looking at your own closed question.

For example, this is what I see when looking at my own question Can't retract Very Low Quality flag on question:

enter image description here

What someone else sees will probably be more along the lines of

enter image description here

  • J.R, is a mod on ELL, I don't think he's ever posted a question that was closed as a duplicate, so why isn't he seeing the "old" message? This looks like a recent change to me or maybe I've not paid greater attention before. – Mari-Lou A Mar 30 at 12:26
  • It's certainly possible something has changed, I'm just trying to show that there's more than meets the eye :) J.R. indeed has never asked a duplicate on ELL; that screenshot is copied from the linked Meta question. – Glorfindel Mar 30 at 12:31
  • 2
    That's interesting indeed. Even if the OP gets to see the "friendlier" version, though, the rest of us see something that seems rather curt and abrupt. I think I understand what the powers that be were trying to do, though – they didn't want just anyone clicking on the link to edit the question, but would prefer to leave that option solely to the OP. It's clever, but it's not clear that the "your" in the message displayed is intended for everyone other than the OP. – J.R. Mar 30 at 12:59

As Glorfindel noted the close reason varies based on who is viewing it. This is in fact not a new development. You can see from Shadow Wizard's answer to a related question that this distinction has been around for quite some time.

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