The whole UI for closing a question as an exact duplicate is buggy and annoying. It's hard for me to describe the pain and angst I feel every time I vote to close for exact duplicate. Every time I do it I'm going to record a movie and post it in this question. Here's the most recent time I've done it:


I still don't know how to use this UI correctly. Anything I do doesn't seem to work other than in a random fashion. It sucks, and I demand it be fixed immediately. Harumph.

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    You're making us download a file? Why couldn't you have put it up on Youtube or even Vimeo? – random Dec 11 '09 at 14:49
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    Your complaining, but not offering some sort of solution? – Troggy Dec 11 '09 at 18:43
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    So you can't say something is broke without giving a hint as to how to fix it? Did I miss that in the faq? – Won't Dec 11 '09 at 19:23
  • @Will: Belligerent much? – John Rudy Dec 11 '09 at 19:51
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    Wow Will, wild stuff here, love the video attachment. So this didn't go so well. Maybe post the same question again... – John K Dec 11 '09 at 21:18
  • Making people download a video instead of posting it on a video sharing site is bugsome and annoying. – random Dec 12 '09 at 0:32

We improved the close duplicate dialog quite a bit.

  1. Shows full preview of proposed duplicate in a scrollable <div>
  2. No longer uses drop-down behavior but simpler "after pause in typing, attempt to load the question URL or ID you just entered in a preview below the input area"
  3. You can click on the previously chosen duplicates below, to get an instant preview of the dupe to judge if it is actually a duplicate or not.
  4. Handy search link in upper right (with improved search help page) to help you find those pesky dupes
  • I had to come here to check after I just voted to close for exact dupe on SO. Its so much better now. So, so much better and easier and wonderful and full of care bears. Am happy. – Won't Jun 4 '10 at 19:07
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    @will here at Stack Overflow Inc World Headquarters, your happiness is job #6939! – Jeff Atwood Jun 4 '10 at 22:16
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    That bear doesn't show up for me, is it bugged? – Nick T Apr 17 '12 at 23:05

How is it difficult? You've gone and found the question it's a duplicate of, right? So paste the link in the box. Done. Nothing more to it.

If you HAVEN'T found a duplicate question, you really shouldn't be voting to close!

  • the problem here is that if someone else has already voted to close, going through the process is the only way to see what question they've selected as the duplicate. you can still cancel if you disagree, but still. it feels odd to need to vote to close as a duplicate just to see what someone else thought it was a duplicate of. – quack quixote Dec 11 '09 at 16:05
  • If you saw the video you'd know what I'm talking about. – Won't Dec 11 '09 at 16:36
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    if you posted it to youtube i'd've watched it... – quack quixote Dec 11 '09 at 18:55
  • You could have watched it in the time you spent on this question. – Won't Dec 11 '09 at 19:24
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    i could've. heck, i could've posted it to youtube. but i did neither. funny, that. – quack quixote Dec 11 '09 at 19:44
  • If you don't recognise the question is a duplicate, or think it should be closed, why check? Curiosity? The system isn't made to satisfy curiosity, just be glad it does so :P – Phoshi Dec 11 '09 at 21:25
  • i check to assist the community in finding and closing duplicates. i can confirm another user's opinion of whether it's a dupe or not; if i disagree, i can post so in the comments. is this not encouraged? – quack quixote Dec 12 '09 at 3:22

I also find the procedure for closing as an exact duplicate clunky. But I have no constructive suggestions. The task seems to have at least three requirements

  • You access it through the same "close" button that you use for every other reason
  • You have to specify the alleged duplicate
  • You can see (and open) the duplicates alleged by others

and one negative requirement

  • You can't just click on one of the existing allegations to vote for it (because titles lie, and you should always check that the other question really is a duplicate first)
  • at least you can hover over the link to see the question number to type in the textbox to auto-search for the right question to mark it as a duplicate of ... *hides from the grammar nazis* – quack quixote Dec 11 '09 at 15:39
  • You can just drag that link into the field to have it prepopulate. – random Dec 11 '09 at 15:43
  • The video demonstrates that dragging the link does NOT work consistently. – Won't Dec 11 '09 at 16:35
  • @~qauck: that's what I do. You can also copy the link and paste that into the box. – dmckee Dec 11 '09 at 19:07

One suggestion I have is to put radio buttons next to all of the links. Clicking on the radio button would paste the link in the field.

It would be nice if the radio buttons were not visible until one of the links was clicked.

Right now, I do control click on the link, browse through the candidate thread, go back to the question, right click on the link, copy the link, paste the link, double-click on the field, then click submit.

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    and clicking a radio button again would do the paste again, overwriting field contents. (just to be specific.) – quack quixote Dec 11 '09 at 15:41
  • OMG THIS PLEASE NOW – Won't Dec 11 '09 at 16:36
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    Ever heard of drag & drop? – Ladybug Killer Dec 11 '09 at 17:57
  • Requires too much dexterity. – Sinan Ünür Dec 11 '09 at 18:52
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    Ever hear of "it doesn't work?" – Won't Dec 11 '09 at 19:23
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    @Will drag & drop does "work": You still have to double-click on the URL in the textfield after dragging and dropping (at least in Firefox). – Sinan Ünür Dec 11 '09 at 20:20
  • Having to do inane things doesn't sound very work-ish to me. You should simply be able to click on it. – GManNickG Dec 12 '09 at 1:47
  • @GMan: That is why I wrote 'does " work " ' – Sinan Ünür Dec 12 '09 at 13:10
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    So, you have to drag & drop, then do a little dance, build a wicker cargo plane, and it works? Well, **** me running... – Won't Dec 14 '09 at 12:37

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