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I had always seen questions that are closed as duplicates with the following message at the top of the post:

This question already has an answer here:

[link to existing question] X answers

Here is a sample screenshot of a recently closed question:

Screenshot showing the duplicate message with a link to the existing question

Today I noticed that some duplicate questions have a different message:

Possible duplicate:

[link to existing question]

Here is a sample screenshot of such a question:

Screenshot showing the other duplicate message

It seems odd that different questions should have different duplicate messages. The first message is more direct; it tells you that the question already has an answer, and it tells you how many answers there are. The second message is possibly more accurate, as it is possible for a question to be closed as duplicate even if it does not have an answer elsewhere. Additionally, the wording "possible duplicate" seems more in line with the reality that questions can be reopened at any time. But regardless of which message is better, it should surely be standardized across all questions.

More importantly, the second message suffers from a serious flaw. It is apparently not an external note pinned to the question, but merely added into the text of the post:

Screenshot showing the text input box

As such, anyone with edit privileges can simply remove it, with the result that there is no longer a duplicate message displayed:

Screenshot showing post without the duplicate message

This seems to be a problem.

Additionally, when it comes to the question containing the first message, I have the ability (due to a gold tag badge) to edit the duplicate list:

Screenshot showing the option to edit the duplicate list

But when it comes to the question with the second message, that option no longer exists (even though it's the same tag where I have the badge):

Screenshot showing no edit option

Given that this is the first time I've seen this, I'm not sure if it's always been this way or if something recently happened to change something. I will note that all the questions that I've seen the second version of the message on are old questions. Either way, this seems like something that should be fixed.


(As noted in the comments, this is apparently not unintended, so I changed this from to .)

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  • In short, yes, it has always been this way. It doesn't contain the "edit" link because it's not a real banner but rather a block of text with quotation formatting, auto-inserted into the question body. The February 2013 change wasn't applied retroactively. – S.D. May 27 '19 at 16:41
  • @Blue I should probably change this from a Bug to a Feature Request then. – Alex May 27 '19 at 16:44
  • Well, certainly worth a try, but I doubt they'll invest developer time in this, in the foreseeable future. – S.D. May 27 '19 at 16:45
  • When the banner is just text in the body of the post, anyone can edit it to add duplicates :P – Laurel May 27 '19 at 17:15
  • @MEEthesneakyuser Yeah, it seems to be more or less the same. – Alex May 27 '19 at 17:35
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/317895/… – Alex May 27 '19 at 21:52