New Post Notices have been launched network-wide. Please post all new feedback, bugs and feature requests to the new announcement post.

As has been previously announced, we have been working for some time on a full refresh for post notices. I am happy to announce that all initial development work and testing has been completed, and that the new notices are now live on Stack Overflow.

During our initial launch period these will be shown to 50% of users (with the other 50% viewing notices as they have been with no change). After evaluating the impact of the notices during this period and making any warranted changes, our goal is to release these network-wide, and to completely remove the old notices from the system.

For our purposes, a 'post notice' includes any status banner shown on questions or answers: deleted, merged, migrated, closed, locked, protected, bountied, as well as any information notices that can be applied to posts by moderators.

The visual change in styling and position relative to content should immediately be obvious. The current notices use legacy styling and for the most part appear below the post (question or answer) content. The experience on mobile and desktop is different as the old layout is not flexible enough to be used on both. The new notices will all appear above post content, will feature a refreshed look and feel (using the Stacks design framework), and will work identically on both desktop and mobile.

A primarily opinion-based close message: "Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations. This will help others answer the question. You can edit the question. Closed 13 days ago by Donna." A new post notice, being shown to users with the close/reopen privilege on a post closed as being opinion-based

Beyond the look and feel changes, we have also rewritten the language for all of the different messages, with the goal of making them more friendly and results-driven, and taking into account the changing ways in which the notices have been used over the years. New messages language has been guided by our Content Style Guide, which itself is based on user insights and best practices. We hope that the language refresh will make it clearer to users what each respective notice is for, and if appropriate, to provide clearer instructions as to what they can do in order to improve the content that was flagged.

As Meg wrote in her blog post:

For people who ask questions today, if your question is closed, feedback that is directed toward you privately is shared publicly with anyone who views your question. Plus, the names of people who voted to close the question are highlighted publicly, too, setting them up for attack when they’re just trying to curate content according to the system.

Here’s what our holistic redesign of all post notices will prioritize:

  • Delivering improved, private feedback to post authors
  • Not putting users who curate content on the spot
  • Giving actionable, understandable information for the vast majority of public viewers

The change affects all post notices, including mod notices, post locks, migration notices, and every single type of close notice. Many of these feature different messages that will be shown to the post owner, users with close/reopen privilege, and everyone else, with each message designed to expose the information that will be most helpful to the viewer. Another goal is also to provide more instructions and options for post owners when it comes to taking steps to edit the content of closed questions in order to allow for them to be reopened.

A duplicate close message: "Some community members have associated this post with similar questions. Closed 2 hours ago by Frederico klez Culloca, Community." A duplicate closed notice being shown to the post owner.

This is a far-reaching project and is also touching other related content like the wording used in the close menu giving guidance on off-topic reasons and the instructions being shown at the top of the review queue. Additionally, the notification language, user workflow, and options being provided to post owners on questions where there are active close as duplicate flags has been modified to give post owners more leeway in preemptively accepting or rejecting potential duplicate posts.

This new set of features and improvements is the first of a series of related projects aimed at improving the user experience on question close workflows and review queues for all users. Our goal is to better facilitate feedback and content curation for all people who code, whether they are new to programming and Stack Overflow, are seasoned moderators and technology experts, or fit anywhere in between.

An old "On Hold" notice A new "On Hold" notice Old and new "On Hold" notices

General feedback is welcome on this post, as are and reports. We promise to read everything, and will do our best to engage with the community to address concerns that are raised.


When will the changes roll out on SO?

The changes are live on SO right now

I still see the old notices and I would rather see the new ones


I see the new notices and would rather keep the old notices

During our initial launch period the new post notices (and all related changes) are being shown to 50% of users. There is no easy way to switch between the group of users seeing old or new notices. If there are things about the new notices that you dislike, please let us know in a respectful and constructive way. We are happy to receive and take all feedback into consideration.

What are you looking for during the initial launch period?

The primary goal of the project is to improve the friendliness of the user experience when viewing post notices. This is a hard thing to measure. Some of the indicators that we will be using are the levels of engagement by users who see old vs new post notices and the rates of closed posts being reopened (specifically focusing on post edits and post reopen votes).

Can you please release a list of all the changes that were made to all notice language and functionality?

We are not going to do this right now:

  • There are sooo many changes that were made, that any attempt to document all of these in a clear way will probably still end up being confusing (and it will be challenging to keep this up to date as changes are made during the initial launch period).
  • We feel that in order to properly evaluate the changes to presentation, language and functionality, the changes need to be seen in the context of the site, by users who encounter them through normal site usage. Thus, we prefer to evaluate the success of changes by presenting them to users who will encounter and interact with them through organic site usage.

After Meg's blog post that first mentioned these changes, a post on MSE was made that solicited feedback on the preview given in the blog post. Were there any changes to this project that were made based on this feedback?

We read all of the feedback and found much of it to be very useful. Some of it was incorporated into this set of changes, and we hope to incorporate much more of it in a future project that builds on this one to address the underlying mechanics of the close->reopen workflows. Thanks for all the suggestions, and special shout out and thanks to Journeyman Geek for initiating and organizing the feedback post on MSE!

How long will the initial launch run for? When will this go live for everyone?

The initial launch is slated to tentatively run for 2-3 weeks. While we cannot commit to a final go-live date at this point, as there are many unknowns involved, we can say that we are interested in getting the final product out as soon as we can.

What is the average air speed of an unladen swallow?

What do you mean? An African or a European Swallow?

European, of course

Approximately 11 meters per second (40 km/h; 24 - 25 miles per hour)

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    Ok folks. Considering this is a positive change and I think having the Q&A team comfortable with meta, I shalt be quite cross with the next person who removes the swallow joke. – Journeyman Geek Mod Nov 2 '19 at 23:35
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    To close-voters: While this is currently implemented on SO only, this question clearly states that it's the intent to have this network-wide: "After evaluating the impact of the notices during this period and making any warranted changes, our goal is to release these network-wide, and to completely remove the old notices from the system." Thus, this is not an issue which only affects one specific site, the close reason selected by four people. It's clear that this question solicits feedback on the feature being used on all sites, even though the current examples are SO focused. – Makyen Nov 6 '19 at 18:52
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. I've left a few essential comments in place for immediate reference – Journeyman Geek Mod Nov 7 '19 at 22:58
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    Just coming in to say "yay" the Monty Python joke remains :P – Meg Risdal Nov 27 '19 at 8:07
  • Should bugs and feature requests be raised as separate questions? – Michael Freidgeim Feb 14 '20 at 12:50
  • @mifreidgem yes, they should. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Feb 14 '20 at 14:06
  • @YaakovEllis judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5288/759 – Double AA Feb 25 '20 at 16:53

74 Answers 74


The notice for the duplicate closure doesn't mention the option to edit the question; the only option it offers is to "ask a new one". Sometimes (maybe even most of the times, it's hard to give an estimate) this is a far better option than posting a new question. I'll reiterate what I said here:

My gut feeling says it will only lead to repeated questions, worded slightly different but not enough to make it clear. If authors decide to edit their question without much improvement, then at least the question stays closed and requires no further caretaking (except maybe from the Reopen Votes review queue). If they post a new one, that's more work for the community and the author is more likely to hit a question ban.

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    Was just writing an answer on this. Note the old message does have this option "This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please edit this question to explain how it is different or ask a new question." – TheLethalCarrot Oct 29 '19 at 12:14
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    Thanks @Glorfinder. This is a good point. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 12:16
  • At least I'm happy that you implemented my suggestion for the other closure types :) – Glorfindel Mod Oct 29 '19 at 12:17
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    @YaakovEllis To add on to Glorfindel's point, if a user is new, they don't have a whole lot of questions they can ask before downvoted questions start to keep them from asking more. If I, as a new user, waste two question spots on a duplicate, it's not going to turn out well for me. – George Stocker Oct 29 '19 at 12:21
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    Plus, the community really hates when a user asks a new question instead of editing the old one. If you're going to change the policy like this, you need to retrain everyone. Just hoping people will notice the change while reading a message not directly related to it won't do. – John Dvorak Oct 29 '19 at 12:27
  • I think "edit" is not a good option on duplicates that are more then a few days old. Maybe the people who voted to close should be informed and able to withdraw their votes when a edit is done. – Ian Ringrose Oct 29 '19 at 13:26
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    @IanRingrose you mean more specifically than just putting those questions in the reopen queue? I flag a lot of dupes in the R tag that then get completely trivial edits just to add something like "Totally not a dupe, that post makes blue dots and I want red ones." I'd be annoyed if I got notified each time that happens; much rather just handle them in the reopen review. – camille Oct 29 '19 at 13:37
  • @camille, yes but it could be implemented as a custom reopen queue that only contains what I voted to close, with being notified when not empted. Even better if in that case a 2nd down vote was allowed:=) – Ian Ringrose Oct 29 '19 at 13:39
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    Worth noting here that editing has a terrible success rate for duplicates. There's already edit guidance - the asker is asked to edit the question after the first vote or flag arrives, and this does a lot of good... But after the question is closed, edits rarely do anything beyond clogging the reopen queue. Part of the problem here is that we don't give a lot of guidance specific to this situation to askers when they're editing - but we do provide this when they're asking! We'll review the data on this after its been live for a while & watch for unintended consequences. – Shog9 Nov 4 '19 at 16:11
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    Declned: Please see Shog's comment. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 4 '19 at 18:59
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    @YaakovEllis Shog's comment doesn't say it's not useful, just that the problem is elsewhere: in the guidance for people which questions are already closed. Once that is fixed, the desired effect would be achieved. – Braiam Nov 15 '19 at 11:53
  • @Shog9 With only 3 votes necessary to reopen, the success rate should hopefully climb. And there is no edit guidance on dupe-hammered questions which get closed immediately. – Bergi Dec 17 '19 at 22:53
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    @YaakovEllis Could you at least reword it to "Ask a different question", please? People simply re-posting the same question already happens. See also more arguments here. – Bergi Dec 17 '19 at 22:55
  • There are a couple related posts that I’m linking here to find them more easily: “You can edit the question or post a new one”, Add a statement about re-opening, Why doesn’t the system prevent repeating the exact same question?. – Sebastian Simon May 26 '20 at 21:55
  • @YaakovEllis Could this [status-declined] be reconsidered? Apparently this confuses new users a lot. – Donald Duck Jul 1 '20 at 0:15

I noticed that an automatic comment is added when I close as duplicate (a single close vote with my gold badge)

Does this answer your question? How to create an irregular square shape in css? – Temani Afif 6 mins ago

Why is that? Shouldn't the OP edit their question to clarify if the duplicate is not suitable?

This comment will probably make us having a discussion about why it's not a duplicate instead of editing the post.

I close many questions each day, I may easily end with a lot a message about all the questions I closed and I won't be able to answer all of them.

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    I also don't like the wording in that comment. The old one wasn't great but I don;t think this is an improvement. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 29 '19 at 12:27
  • If you now close a question as Dupe, you also post an auto comment. But perhaps this could be phrased so that it isn't a question. – Luuklag Oct 29 '19 at 12:27
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    @TheLethalCoder the old one disappear but the new one is added when the question is closed (I have a gold badge by the way) – Temani Afif Oct 29 '19 at 12:28
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    @TemaniAfif Oh it's added after. I don't like that at all in that case. Users can ping close voters, even if it doesn't autocomplete the name. It would be better to make the autocomplete work than post a comment. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 29 '19 at 12:29
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    Absolutely. When I VTC a question, I almost never want to enter into a conversation with the OP about whether their question is a duplicate. Especially in the vast majority of cases, which are unsalvageable zero effort debug-me questions. – Raedwald Oct 29 '19 at 12:56
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    Duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/a/337031/51. We changed the auto-comment language, but bug in the auto-delete when closed – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 14:12
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    I see no value in this change at all other than to make it look less like an automated message and more like I'd actually written it (which I didn't). Please can we stop coddling people at the expense of actual communication :( – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 29 '19 at 16:12
  • @YaakovEllis it seems to be fixed on my side – Temani Afif Oct 31 '19 at 23:20
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    You also get the "Does this answer your question?" when you try to close a question that the same user has posted twice - it doesn't make sense here because I'm not trying to point them to a helpful answer - I'm trying to stop them spamming the same question – DavidW Nov 2 '19 at 12:26
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    Update: the auto-delete logic is fixed for this, so the comment will be deleted when the post is closed. I am not marking this fixed yet, as I need to go back and clean up the comments that should have been deleted but were not while this bug was live over a few days. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 3 '19 at 8:19
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    @DavidW Yep exactly ... was laughing out loud when I first read that "Does this answer your question?" nonsense linking to duplicate of the same user without any answer and sure to be closed soon due to poor quality and total absence of relevant specifics (as it is usual for such cases) – Spektre Nov 19 '19 at 22:20
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    I just noticed this starting to happen (maybe I haven't flagged as dupe in a bit?) and I absolutely hate it. This wording is too passive. I'm not asking the OP if their question is a duplicate, I'm telling them that it is. – Patrick Q Dec 3 '19 at 19:42
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    The logic for this bug was fixed within a day of when it was reported. Marking it as completed now since I finally got around to fixing up the data, and deleting those comments that should have been auto-deleted. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Dec 4 '19 at 6:44
  • No comment, not even the most harmless one, should ever be attributed to someone who didn't write it. What if the wording of the target question is very similar to the one being marked? That comment would look like sarcasm. But that's beside the point. Never, ever make something look like I said it. – Scott Hannen Dec 8 '19 at 3:29

Rationale for status:

One thing that needs to be called out here: there are now three different descriptions for each close reason.

  1. The general public gets a very "firm" reason: "this question is opinion based".

  2. The close voter gets a very nuanced description when voting: "Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise."

  3. And finally, authors / editors / reopen voters get specific instructions on what needs to be fixed: "Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations. This will help others answer the question."

Before, we had only one bit of text that had to fulfill each of these purposes - and generally, none of them were optimal for any one purpose. They were less nuanced than they should've been as guidance for voters, less firm than they should've been as a statement of fact for readers, and... Well, guidance for editors was almost an after-thought.

We don't have to compromise now, so... We're not.

-- Shog9

In the two examples of close banners here, I notice that the wording has become more definitive:

This question is opinion-based

This question is off topic.

Previously these messages said:

Closed as primarily opinion-based

Closed as off topic

Additionally, the old off topic message had a subtext that said that the question appears to be off topic.

This change seems counterintuitive. Wouldn’t it be more jarring to new users to see a definitive statement that their question is objectively “bad” than to see a statement that only says that the subjective opinion of the following five users is that their question is “bad”?

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    This is especially important because on many network sites (if maybe not SO), some degree of "opinion-based" is the norm. Each site needs to draw a line for what's *too*/primarily opinion-based, but closing a question just for being partially opinion-based wouldn't make sense on Philosophy or Literature or Interpersonal Skills. – Rand al'Thor Oct 29 '19 at 12:46
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    Declined: Being more definitive is a deliberate decision here. We want the post author to have clear direction, and for close voters to offer clear and decisive direction. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 18:02
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    @YaakovEllis With the close reason even on SO being primarily opinion-based, wouldn't it at least make sense to have it say This question is primarily opinion-based? See Rand al'Thor's comment for an explanation. – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Oct 29 '19 at 18:44
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    @YaakovEllis "You suck. Sit down and shut up." is definitive and gives the person hearing it clear and decisive directions. That doesn't make it a good phrasing. -- There's probably a way to phrase things such that users get a clear directions on how to improve things, while not implying that they're necessarily objectively wrong if they disagree with the close reason. – R.M. Oct 29 '19 at 21:09
  • @Randal'Thor On the sites you've mentioned, is the opinion-based close reason even relevant? Perhaps that close reason shouldn't be offered at all. If true, then there's nothing wrong with the close reason being definitive where it does apply. – Zev Spitz Oct 29 '19 at 21:56
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    @ZevSpitz Yes, it is. Well, I don't know anything about the Philosophy site, but I've written extensively about this issue on Literature meta. (I even mentioned as an important point that the close reason doesn't say "opinion-based": it says "primarily opinion-based"! Hence my comment above.) – Rand al'Thor Oct 30 '19 at 7:09
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    @YaakovEllis We know it's a deliberate decision, no one is saying otherwise. What we are trying to say is that the change doesn't reflect how other SX sites work, which allow different degrees of subjectivity. If you are going for "being more definitive", you might want to remove that close option all together from those sites, or give an adequate reason that is compatible with each site's dynamic. – Von Huffman Oct 30 '19 at 23:48
  • @YaakovEllis Alternative: each site may set an opinion-based close text, possibly from a set of pre-approved options. Just a few choices would really cover the gamut from the generic "this is a little too opinion-y" to the Law.SE "this is opinion based". – anonymous Nov 2 '19 at 6:56
  • @YaakovEllis, The question can not be opinion-based. “Opinion-based” can be answers to the question. The short phrase doesn’t make sense without clarification “answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions”. The public message should consider novices, who do not know SO jargon. – Michael Freidgeim Dec 5 '19 at 13:58
  • @YaakovEllis, how can I vote on original answer after Shog9 hijack it? Now when I upvote the answer, it looks like that I upvote decline of it. – Michael Freidgeim Dec 5 '19 at 14:08

Hide this blurb and only show it on hover over the stricken-through eye icon:

Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege.

enter image description here

This is meta information that does not need to be present and read every time someone looks at a close banner, but it should be available if they want to read it. I think putting it in a tooltip shown on hover of the "conditionally visible" icon is a good solution for that.

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    Yeah, as it is now I actually read that notice and assumed it meant the post was hidden.. It's just referring to the section of text though, right? – Blorgbeard Oct 29 '19 at 16:37
  • @Blorgbeard I think so, yes. That's a good point; I hadn't considered it could be confused to mean the entire question might be hidden to others. – TylerH Oct 29 '19 at 16:39
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    status-declined: This text will be removed as part of the upcoming project focusing on the Close Ux. We are going to keep it in place until then in order to ensure clarity for this section of the notice (not every user will know to mouse-over the icon). – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 18:00
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    @YaakovEllis Wouldn't that be "status-deferred"? – TylerH Oct 29 '19 at 18:10
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    @TylerH this actual request is declined, because we are probably not going to implement it as requested (mouse-over on the icon). However, the spirit of the request is deferred until the next project. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 18:15
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    @YaakovEllis Ah, I guess it's a miscommunication then; the request was to remove the text; the idea to show it on tooltip was simply a suggestion re: the request implementation details. – TylerH Oct 29 '19 at 18:20
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    @TylerH in that case, the request is still declined. The text is going to stay for the time being. Thanks for the idea. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 18:26
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    The worst thing about the blurb is not that it's shown to users who should already have learned about this and don't need it repeated every time, but that it is a large and bold text in the middle of the box. It's visually attracting my attention to the most irrelevant content inside that box. – Bergi Oct 29 '19 at 23:43
  • @YaakovEllis Except that it fails to ensure clarity as well – Bergi Oct 29 '19 at 23:46
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    This would be made more clear if that period was at least changed to a colon: "Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege: some community members...". Similarly with "Private feedback for you:". Right now it's "Sentence fragment. Sentence that may or may not be related to fragment.". – Blorgbeard Oct 30 '19 at 18:18
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    On MSO, @Cerbrus has made some nice suggestions of how this could be improved, with visual examples – Bergi Nov 1 '19 at 16:36
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    @Bergi provided us (from Cerbrus) with exactly the examples we've been needing to further this discussion. I think there's a compelling case that the UX aspect of the new text is...subpar. – anonymous Nov 2 '19 at 7:00
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    @YaakovEllis: Knowing who can see what is very useful. I lost this ability when I became a mod (I see everything), and since then I've never been entirely sure what people see and do not see. I agree with tylerh: keep the text as a tooltip under the eye. – user102937 Nov 2 '19 at 16:42

I have a small suggestion:

Show the exact reputation requirement on protected questions, even if one has enough reputation.


I, for one, still can't remember how much reputation is required. I think it'd be more informative to show the requirement in the notice:

... Since you have X reputation more than Y reputation, you can answer the question. ...

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    Agreed; I also requested this (along with many other things related to the banner) in my answer here – TylerH Oct 29 '19 at 16:33
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    Agreed. People don't need to be reminded how much reputation they have. That's shown in the topbar on every page (assuming they're using a wide enough screen). When changing this text to "more than Y reputation" it should either be customized for each user, or just be explicit that the requirement is >=10 reputation on the current site, exclusive of the association bonus. Previously, this notice didn't require any data about the user. Now, it requires knowing the user's reputation, which adds additional processing on every affected page, which could be eliminated with different wording. – Makyen Oct 29 '19 at 16:42
  • The problem is that the reputation requirement is variable. A user with 10 reputation probably can answer the question, while a user with 101 reputation probably can't -- it needs to be reputation earned on the site, not reputation from the association bonus. – Mark Oct 30 '19 at 1:40
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    IMHO this message is pointless... if I have enough reputation to answer, nothing has changed, so why tell me about it? I saw it earlier today and was like, "So what?" (I mean, if I didn't have enough to answer it, then sure that gives me some useful info) – Dan Mašek Oct 30 '19 at 1:55
  • As it is now, gives you only a little useful information. It says that you can, or can't, answer, which is good to know. People care about that. But, anyone looking at it doesn't care what their reputation is, or has other sources to know their reputation. If they can answer, then they almost never care about their reputation or the threshold (maybe they would care if they are within a downvote or two of loosing the privilege). If they can't answer, then what they care about is how much more reputation they need in order to answer, which this doesn't currently tell them. – Makyen Oct 30 '19 at 2:20
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    We decided not to show how much is needed because the amount needed is for rep earned on the site, and does not include the association bonus. This distinction can be a complicated one to convey, and just listing the requirement can end up leading to more confusion. We will consider changing the language to be more rep-agnostic, something like "...because you have earned enough rep on this site..." or something like that. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 31 '19 at 12:29
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    @YaakovEllis You're already getting the user's reputation and determining if they are able to post an answer. That means you must also know if they have the association bonus. While, yes, it would be nice to explain what is generally necessary, all you really need to do is tell the user if they can post an answer and/or the amount of rep they need on the site in order to post an answer. It's certainly possible to give a very straight-forward statement to the user as to if they can answer and/or what rep they need to be able to answer. The full nuances wrt. everyone can be in a link. – Makyen Oct 31 '19 at 14:25
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    @makyen yes, I understand. As I said, you make good points and we will consider changing the language of this notice. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 31 '19 at 14:42
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    We have changed the language to no longer list the current user's exact rep. It how says "You have enough reputation to answer this question..." – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 12:29
  • @YaakovEllis now it's not clear for users with the association bonus who didn't earn rep on the site itself. They have 101 reputation but see "Earn 10 reputation" - it's confusing and several years ago was changed to something more clear. Can the message be clear again, e.g. add in brackets "Association bonus does not count"? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Dec 8 '19 at 8:58

It seems that the close vote reasons have been rewritten from scratch, which is only mentioned as an aside on this post.

Here's what "typo/no repro" is now:

"It's caused by a problem that can no longer be reproduced. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a way less likely to help future readers."

This no longer covers typos. We don't want to leave typos open, because they do not help future readers. I'm a bit worried that other subtleties have been missed while rewriting the close reasons. Is there a feedback post where we can suggest alternatives that don't change how moderation has worked for years? I tried finding one but couldn't.

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    I'd assume typos still fall under this umbrella, but it would be helpful for that to be spelled out. e.g. "It's caused by a typo or other problem that can no longer be reproduced." – camille Oct 29 '19 at 13:32
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    @camille i.e. what it said originally? I agree ;) – Andras Deak Oct 29 '19 at 13:59
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    haha I suppose so. I like it being a little more broad, since I often vote to close as typo for things that aren't exactly typos, like not adding a legend and then asking where the legend is, or incorrect syntax, and then I have to explain that it's basically the same as a typo – camille Oct 29 '19 at 15:01
  • "Typos and syntax problems" seem different enough from "unreproducible problem" that you should consider putting them in different categories altogether. – Stop Harming the Community Oct 29 '19 at 17:11
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    @camille a typo can be reproduced. Enter the same wrong code, get the same error. But the point is these are too minor of a thing to help out future people, as the errors are too localised - e.g. somebody wrote "usre" instead of "user". It's unlikely that a future visitor will have the exact same misspelling in exactly the same circumstance. Even if they do, it's not even likely they'll find exactly this post. – VLAZ Oct 29 '19 at 17:11
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    @rockwalrus-stopharmingMonica they are indeed different, but they should be closed for the same reason. We emphasized the "on topic but not helpful for future readers" part of the close reason. We already have a bit too many close choices, I'd rather we didn't proliferate them needlessly. – Andras Deak Oct 29 '19 at 17:19
  • @rockwalrus-stopharmingMonica Syntax wasn't really the right word I suppose. In the R tag, we have tons of questions where someone's making a chart with something that can have both a fill and a color, tells it color = blah, then posts a question asking why the fill didn't change. Well, you didn't tell it to. That isn't a typo exactly, but it falls into the category of you didn't actually write what you meant to write – camille Oct 29 '19 at 17:22
  • As for syntax issues, if a function takes arguments x, y, z and you give it arguments x, z, y, it might not be a typo exactly, but it's definitely not that useful. But there isn't a RTFM close reason – camille Oct 29 '19 at 17:25
  • 22
    Close reason has been changed to: It's caused by a typo or problem that can no longer be reproduced. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a way less likely to help future readers. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 19:19
  • 3
    @YaakovEllis thank you very much for the quick fix! – Andras Deak Oct 29 '19 at 19:21
  • 2
    @camille It sounds like the general category would be something to the effect of "A problem unlikely to be experienced by other readers", with typos and unreproducible problems as examples. – Stop Harming the Community Oct 29 '19 at 19:47
  • FYI "typo" is an informal shortened version of typographical error. – Dharman Oct 29 '19 at 22:38
  • 4
    That gets us back into "Too Localized" territory, which... we were trying to get out of when this reason was originally added, @rockwalrus. There's a danger in making these reasons... Too broad... – Shog9 Oct 31 '19 at 23:42
  • @Shog9: I literally LOLed. – Stop Harming the Community Oct 31 '19 at 23:43

Stating the closure date as "months passed since closure" doesn't seem particularly practical.

enter image description here

For questions closed many years ago, we'd end up saying things like:

Closed 92 months ago by Foobar.

If we are not showing the date as we do now:

Closed as not constructive by Foobar Feb 29 '12 at 17:52

We should at least resolve the duration as years + months:

Closed as not constructive by Foobar 7 years, 8 months ago

  • This is the same as: meta.stackexchange.com/a/337025/361484 – Luuklag Oct 29 '19 at 13:33
  • 1
    Between the answer's formatting and it dealing with more than one issue on the same post, I had missed that. I'll leave this one up because of those reasons. – yivi Oct 29 '19 at 13:34
  • 3
    @yivi thanks, I'll look into this – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 13:35
  • Awesome @Yaakov. That's what I would expect. But I've seen users mentioning values of greater than 12 months in some other answers. – yivi Oct 29 '19 at 13:36
  • 5
    Yeah, I saw that as well, need to look into why (it is supposed to be showing the highest unit that it can) – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 13:38
  • 3
    Relative post close times are now being shown accurately – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 13:03

As Journeyman Geek said, "put on hold" is way better than "closed" because if a question is on hold there is a opportunity to make it better while closed discloses the feeling that the question is closed for good and that takes away the goal of improving a question and just making a new one.

With that said, overall, the design of it and hiding the people who vote-closed it is a great feature. I would like to see a custom message from the people who closed it so the "private feedback" is not some canonical message that everyone is used too on the old version.

Some bugs:

  • My question was closed on August 1st 2019 so it was closed approximately 2.9 months ago (instead of 29 months). While 2.9 is correct I would prefer a y:m:d format or the exact date. (thanks @Luuklag);

  • The tag has an underline on it (for gold badge holders single-close). (thanks @JL2210)

enter image description here


Now it's 0 months!

enter image description here

  • 3
    We went through changing the word from close years ago. As in computing close means lose the current state with no way of getting it back whilst we want the user to come back and edit. See many MSE and I like this answer meta.stackexchange.com/a/222677/136010 – mmmmmm Oct 29 '19 at 13:24
  • 8
    This is definetly a bug, as the question was closed august 1st this year, so 2.9 months ago approximately. I believe a decimal separator is lost along the way. @YaakovEllis – Luuklag Oct 29 '19 at 14:35
  • 6
    Another issue would be the underlining of the tag name. – user474678 Oct 29 '19 at 20:35
  • @JL2210 I for one think that would be a good thing. It is a hyperlink after all, so better style it as one. – Luuklag Oct 30 '19 at 11:30
  • The space between the tag and the period, would be something to fix. – Luuklag Oct 30 '19 at 11:31
  • @Luuklag I didn't catch the space between the tag and the period. I must've assumed it was just a speck of dirt on my screen. – user474678 Oct 30 '19 at 11:43
  • @Luklag Aren't all tags actually hyperlinks in virtually all places across the network, and without underlining? Why should this be any different? – Zev Spitz Oct 30 '19 at 11:47
  • I see a post closed 8 months ago and it says 23 months ago: stackoverflow.com/questions/54613620/… – Dharman Oct 31 '19 at 21:35
  • 4
    "As in computing close means lose the current state with no way of getting it back" Does it? Close has prompted to save (and permitted re-opening) since like 1985.... – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 1 '19 at 14:07
  • 1
    Yep the closure time is quite wrong (i.stack.imgur.com/ZSlcp.png) – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 1 '19 at 14:07
  • 4
    Closure times are now being shown accurately – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 13:02
  • 1
    The second issue reported here - underlines on the gold badge - has been fixed – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 10 '19 at 12:14

Problem: A generic close reason for most users for most questions

I don't always use my account when browsing Stack Overflow, so this message was my first introduction to the new post notices:

Closed. This question is off-topic. It is not currently accepting answers. Learn more.

Want to improve this question? Update the question so it's on-topic for Stack Overflow.

example question

enter image description here

This was very confusing to me, because it wasn't really obvious why the question was closed. Did the close voters just not agree on a reason so none was shown?

The answer is no, it was just one of the "site specific" close reasons like for software recommendation questions. (The other close reasons, like "too broad", or whatever it's called, give some information.)

The detailed information is only shown to the question author and users with 3k+ rep. That leaves 99% of users in the dark. There's not even some trick (short of getting 3k+ rep or switching to the app/API) to get the exact close reason, as the revision history says nothing more.

(Everyone can still see who voted to close the question in the revision history, even though this is almost always less useful than the close reason itself.)

Why was the close reason not shown to me? Was I supposed to go click on the "on-topic" link (not even the link where you think the relevant information would be), research, and deduce what close reason should have been shown? How does this help the people who want an answer to the question?

New users sometimes complain about the closing on Stack Overflow being arbitrary — but that was even before this change. Now I expect this to be an even more frequent complaint, one that I sympathize with.

This also isn't helping future close voters to learn what reason to use.

Please change it back so that everyone can see why exactly a question was closed.

Despite being declined, it looks like this is actually being fixed? Moderators should be able to decide what gets shown to each group of users:

create new close reason dialog

Most (if not all) moderators will be good with putting close information back into the banner, and I expect that Stack Overflow will do it soon (probably after the community discusses what to put there). I’m not sure how fast we’ll see this feature on sites outside Stack Overflow though.

  • 24
    I often suggest that new users take a look at questions that were and were not well received to see learn what is expected of them here. Without this explanatory info, that kind of learning (which is how I learned to be a useful contributor here) would be a lot harder – divibisan Oct 30 '19 at 1:30
  • 2
    At least a link on "off-topic" would be in order. – Bergi Nov 1 '19 at 16:41
  • 3
    Declined: there are legitimate reasons to show close reasons for the public view. However, we are not going to do so at this time. The vast majority of users who will view these (without privileges to reopen) are not going to be acting on it. And we have plans to change the close workflow very soon in ways that will hopefully be more effective in achieving our objectives than this change will. We will be concentrating our efforts there. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 12:13
  • 3
    Yeah, so the difficulty is that mods can’t edit existing close reasons, they can only create new ones. This is because all the existing post notices will change to the edited text, so in most cases, it’s better to start over for anything short of minor edits. So, to add this info, mods either need to create new reasons or ask a CM to add the new field content. As you might expect, even if there’s only an average of two per site, that’s around 350 reasons to edit. 😢 – Catija ModStaff Apr 14 '20 at 14:56

Completion notes: we addressed point #2 below (now "spam and non-answer activity") as well as point #4 (now "you have enough reputation to answer"). More discussion on this in the comments; summary is: this should be used for questions that have had an unusual level of unwanted activity; that it's misused is not something we can readily solve with copy changes. Further reading

Please consider revising the Protected banner to more closely match the meaning of the words that used to be there. Currently, this banner:

Screenshot of banner

Highly active question. Since you have [insert your reputation here if over 10 earned on the site] reputation, you can answer this question. The reputation requirement helps protect this question from spam activity. Learn more.

Only covers one use of the "protected" banner: situations where it was automatically added due to a number of recent answers being added, with some being deleted. This wording is problematic in that it seems exclusionary where the other uses of the feature are concerned:

  1. A question is not necessarily "highly active" (or active at all) while the banner is up. The banner doesn't automatically get removed after some period of inactivity, so at best this wording is only temporarily accurate.

  2. A question can be protected pretty much at any time after the question has been posted. A question could receive 15 answers the day it was asked, and then someone could come by and protect it after one or two users post spam posts six years later. Not exactly "active", considering the actual activity was two posts that never should have occurred in the first place. In fact, I think the automated protection mechanism for deleted answers doesn't care about how closely a series of deleted answers were posted... it just counts the total # of spam/rude deleted answers (correct me if I'm wrong).

  3. A question can be protected without any activity at all. Sure, this is probably not the ideal use for it (and a lot of the use of protection is intended to be temporary, after all), but it often happens that I come across a question with, say, 30 answers, and the last activity was 5 months ago by a then-1-rep user, but the answer is low quality/shouldn't have been added. Well, I will often protect such questions to prevent other unnecessary/low-quality answers from being added. But is the question currently active/highly active? No, not really.

  4. Finally, the wording assumes the question is one I can answer:

    You can answer this question.

    I actually found the screenshot for this answer on a Vim question. I have never used Vim, so I definitely can't answer that question. It would be better to say "may" instead of "can", at least. But I'd also suggest saying, instead of "since you have X reputation" (where X is your actual reputation), just say "since you have earned more than 10 reputation". The live shot at how much reputation is kinda neat, but it's unnecessary since we can see how much reputation we have in the top bar at all times, and the way it's written makes it kind of confusing (for example: "does the site expect me to be able to answer a given question just based on my high reputation?!").

Also, the new banner has no indication that it is related to the "protected" privilege. Maybe a good solution to points 1 thru 3 above would be to simply change "Highly active" to "Protected"?

  • 1
    I agree on point 4. Perhaps a slightly better wording is "You can post an answer", as in "you are allowed to", as opposed to "you have the knowledge to do it". – VLAZ Oct 29 '19 at 17:17
  • 6
    It would also be less confusing if it said "since you have at least [limit] reputation". – OrangeDog Oct 29 '19 at 18:06
  • 2
    @VLAZ The typical wording to avoid that confusion is to replace "can" with "may". "Can" implies ability (ambiguous) whereas "may" implies permission/authorization. – TylerH Oct 29 '19 at 18:12
  • 5
    I find 4. particularly odd. It doesn't even convey you need at least some Y rep, but reads like there is something special about the exact 5 digit number (in our case). – Baum mit Augen Oct 29 '19 at 22:07
  • 4
    Why even show this at all to users above the threshold? "You are allowed to do a thing that you are always allowed to do." – Aaroninus Oct 30 '19 at 14:44
  • 2
    There are several different triggers for Protect status, but they all presume a certain, unusual, level of activity: either a high number of new-user answers in a short time, or new-user answers that necessitated deletion over a longer period. #3 is... Something I'd rather folks stopped doing; it's sometimes appropriate (the question you describe is highly active), but I've seen folks do it on questions with few or no answers, which is bunk. #4 we should probably address; this doesn't read correctly. WRT the privilege: the "learn more" link at the end links directly to the privilege page. – Shog9 Oct 31 '19 at 23:10
  • 1
    @Shog9 A good prereq to handle bunk #3 cases could be 'if no recent activity, the Q has to have over 10 answers already'. Or give 10k users the ability to cast delete votes on answers... people are using it as a tool to stop bad answers because they don't have a better tool to handle those answers. I have some success with users self-deleting such answers when I downvote/comment, but it's just as likely I get a proverbial bird flipped at me and a revenge downvote to go along (or someone just not understanding how their answer repeats existing content [or doesn't address the question]). – TylerH Nov 1 '19 at 13:42
  • 6
    This banner should also be shown near the answer box. I keep seeing this banner when linked from a SERP to a question I want to just read. There's no reason to tell me so prominently I can answer the question when I just want to read it. – pkamb Nov 1 '19 at 16:38
  • @pkamb While that does make sense, it also makes sense to tell you before you spend any time scrolling. – TylerH Nov 1 '19 at 21:24
  • 6
    I agree with @pkamb, I came here because I'm starting to get annoyed with this message telling me what I can do. I'm well aware of how the site works and what abilities are afforded to me by my reputation. Even just a dismiss button would be a big help (even better if it was a permanent "never show" setting) – Hashbrown Nov 4 '19 at 1:39
  • 1
    Addressed: #2 (now "spam and non-answer activity") #4 (now "you have enough reputation to answer"). Marking this complete, because - as I said in my previous comment - "highly active" is the goal here; in the same way that it's possible to close questions for the wrong reason, it's possible to misuse protect. – Shog9 Nov 8 '19 at 23:02

Link text should say what it links to. Generic "read more" and "here" links are considered bad practice and especially harm accessibility (users of screen readers rely heavily on link text).

Closed. This question is off-topic. It is not currently accepting answers. Learn more.

The "Learn more" link is confusing. Does it explain what's on-topic and off-topic? Does it explain why closed questions don't accept answers?

Considering it links to closed-questions, the text should be "Learn more about closed questions" or something like this.

Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege. Edit the question to include desired behavior, a specific problem or error, and the shortest code necessary to reproduce the problem. This will help others answer the question. Learn more. Closed 4 hours ago by Foo, Bar, Baz.

"Learn more" strikes again. This time it links to on-topic, so the text should be something like "Learn more about what is on-topic".

Alternatively, links can be placed naturally, for example:

Closed. This question is off-topic. It is not currently accepting answers.

Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege. Edit the question to include desired behavior, a specific problem or error, and the shortest code necessary to reproduce the problem. This will help others answer the question.


A couple days ago I found a post where two close reasons were listed:

post notice with two close reasons

How are these cases handled with the new post notices? The part of the new post notice reserved for this doesn't seem to adjust to this scenario.

Sadly, it seems I am on the B group, so I can't just visit the question to check it out for myself.

But from the comments to this answer it appears that users below 3k reputation see this:

new post notice multiple close reasons

And users with the close vote privilege see it like this:

enter image description here

  • 1
    I'm in group A, so a link would help and I can tell you – Xnero Oct 29 '19 at 13:02
  • I didn't want to bring undue attention to the question, but there you go. Link included. – yivi Oct 29 '19 at 13:05
  • 4
    @yivi Badly, it handles them badly – user394554 Oct 29 '19 at 13:07
  • 4
    Handles them as follows: i.stack.imgur.com/5YxxG.png – Xnero Oct 29 '19 at 13:08
  • 1
    Im in group A here you go => i.stack.imgur.com/gbkNE.png . Please send help. – Drag and Drop Oct 29 '19 at 13:08
  • 7
    @DragandDrop That's interesting, I see them as this: i.stack.imgur.com/YjIWC.png (and I have CV priv). So you can see more without the CV privilege for posts with multiple OT reasons – user394554 Oct 29 '19 at 13:11
  • Yes, same with Nick A. That's a bit strange. – double-beep Oct 29 '19 at 13:11
  • @Nick Do you have more than 3k on SO? – yivi Oct 29 '19 at 13:13
  • Yes, and the other screenshot users do not – user394554 Oct 29 '19 at 13:13
  • I'll update accordingly. Thanks @Nick. – yivi Oct 29 '19 at 13:14
  • 3
    So there is 2 group: OP, <3k, >3k, >10k, etc.., and the group B – Drag and Drop Oct 29 '19 at 13:14
  • @NickA, thats a bug report right there ;) – Luuklag Oct 29 '19 at 13:15
  • 14
    My biggest bone with this is that I don't immediately see why it is off-topic. What should I focus my editing on to make it on-topic again? – Dharman Oct 29 '19 at 13:23
  • 6
    This is fixed. When there are multiple close reasons (with each receiving at least two votes or with a gold/mod vote) then they are all listed. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 12:29
  • 1
    @YaakovEllis Related to the issue in this post, might you please check out the question here (being discussed here, by the OP who is confused at the lack of an off-topic reason)? It seems pretty likely to have been closed due to being an off-site resource request, but no reason is displayed in the banner. I think it's either a bug, or a pretty odd coincidence (no two close votes agreed on a reason), or it was closed via a custom reason whose comment got deleted (also odd). – CertainPerformance Dec 3 '19 at 6:27

The names of people who have voted to delete/recommended deletion from review aren't shown when an answer has been deleted.

There is a trailing "by ." which is confusing. I'm unsure if names are supposed to be removed, the direction I thought we were heading in, and therefore the by is redundant, or the names are missing.

This post is hidden. This post was deleted from review last year by . Learn more.

Example SO answer

  • 4
    We are now showing the close date on all close notices (and the close users if it is relevant for you based on your privileges) – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 17:20
  • 1
    Thanks for feeding back – user371773 Nov 5 '19 at 17:21

In other places of the site you make use of the serial comma (Oxford comma), for the sake of consistency can we make use of it when listing the people who have closed the question too.


Closed 25 months ago by Yaakov Ellis, Jon Ericson and Shog9


Closed 25 months ago by Yaakov Ellis, Jon Ericson, and Shog9

  • 44
    Yeah. So...that is kind of my fault. I actually edited the image for this one in my dev console in order to get some more names in the list (since all of my testing just had my name by itself). And then I left out the Oxford comma (also the reason why you don't see mod diamonds by our names). So the good news is that the bug is in the screenshot and not in the site, and the Oxford comma is still firmly in place. The bad news is that I got caught. I'll put in a new image shortly. And kudos to you for spotting this. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 12:32
  • 1
    @YaakovEllis after adopting the Oxford comma, anything else just stands out like a sore thumb. – Script47 Oct 29 '19 at 12:34
  • Or remove the comma everywhere, as long as it's consistent. – Mast Oct 29 '19 at 12:39
  • 4
    Update: I have removed the offending image, and have put in a duplicate post notice that meets this requirement – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 12:41
  • 2
    @YaakovEllis The new image also got the second sentence "If these questions don't resolve your question, ask a new one" removed. Was this on purpose? Because like Glorfindel suggested, it should tell the OP to edit the question if it doesn't resolve the question. – Tom Oct 29 '19 at 12:52
  • 1
    @Tom I took the new screenshot off the site an hour ago, so that is what is live. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 13:43
  • If you're going to add that comma, you might as well leave out and. That prevents opponents/proponents of the Oxford comma from arguing as well ;-) – Jan Doggen Oct 31 '19 at 12:22

Another small suggestion: Don't show the large "This post is hidden" notice on other users' deleted posts.


This notice is indeed useful for a hapless newcomer who can't understand what a red background on their post means.

But for a 10k+ user looking at a long chain of deleted answers, this seems to be unnecessarily visually cluttering.

I suggest only showing this prominent notice to the user who owns the deleted post. For other users, a small non-highlighed disclaimer below the post (exactly how it looked before the update) is enough.

Alternatively, show this notice only to users with less than 10k rep. (as suggested by @NathanOliver)

  • 10
    I suggest only showing this prominent notice to the user who owns the deleted post Can we change that to I suggest only showing this prominent notice to the user who owns the deleted post if they have less than 10K rep? – NathanOliver Oct 29 '19 at 16:48
  • This is a more specific version of meta.stackexchange.com/a/337039/361484 So this will be status declined as well probably. – Luuklag Oct 29 '19 at 18:11
  • @Luuklag I think that one is different. It suggests to hide the "Visible to %user_category%" part of some notices, while I suggest hiding a specific notice entirely. – HolyBlackCat Oct 29 '19 at 18:19
  • 3
    While I agree the banner is significantly more visually obvious than what's needed, the banner does contain useful information, which should be presented somewhere. The useful information is who, or what, deleted the post and when it was deleted. The rest of the information that's provided is completely useless, except to someone seeing a deleted post for the first time. Do you have a suggestion for how the useful information should be displayed? – Makyen Oct 30 '19 at 2:12
  • 3
    @Makyen Before the update, we used to have small "deleted by %username%" notices below deleted posts. In the answer, I suggested reverting to that: "For other users, a small non-highlighed disclaimer below the post (exactly how it looked before the update) is enough." – HolyBlackCat Oct 30 '19 at 8:27
  • 5
    Thanks for the suggestion. We are going for consistent messaging for all cases and are going to keep the new deleted notice on top of the post, as-is. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 31 '19 at 12:34
  • 2
    @Makyen It was fine how it was before :( – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 1 '19 at 14:06

The bounty period is not displayed in hours anymore if it ends in less than one day:

enter image description here

I see two problems:

  • It is unclear: Does it mean “no time left” or “less than one day left”? Apparently it is the latter, but that is not obvious.
  • Important information is missing: For a possible answerer it matters whether there is 1 minute or 23 hours left to post an answer (which is eligible for the bounty).

Here is an example of how it looked before (the remaining time was displayed in hours if less than one day, and in minutes if less than one hour):

enter image description here

I suggest to display a more precise remaining time again.

  • 5
    This is now fixed – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 12:30
  • 2
    @Yaakov I can't repro this personally because I'm not seeing the new notices, but this screenshot on MSO suggests there are some lingering text-formatting issues here, causing a very ungrammatical string to be displayed. Can you check this, please? How did that leading "in" get there? – Cody Gray Nov 5 '19 at 18:12
  • 1
    @CodyGray lingering text-formatting issues are fixed – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 6 '19 at 8:23
  • Confirmed, I see “The bounty expires in 6 hours.” now. – Martin R Nov 6 '19 at 8:26

In my opinion the below notice is somewhat unclear what it is referring to. I understand that it is only the second half below the horizontal rule but I feel like it could do with being made a bit clearer.

Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege

Also the icon that is used seems a bit odd to me but I wouldn't know a better choice or even if one is even necessary.

  • agreed (although not the icon bit, that makes sense to me) – user394554 Oct 29 '19 at 12:33
  • 6
    Indeed. I find "private feedback for you" even stranger. What is private feedback for me? Everything? Only the blob of text that follows? It's so robotic, I would make that more personal. "The following is for your eyes only: unicorns, rainbows, lost keys". – Gimby Oct 29 '19 at 12:43
  • 5
    Agreed, this is very unclear/misleading. When I first saw this text today, I thought it was saying that the duplicate question I just closed was only going to be visible to the author and people with open/close privilege. I thought, "wait, we're hiding duplicates now?" – Brian Rogers Oct 29 '19 at 16:51
  • 6
    I thought it's referring to the whole question, as in "This question is removed from the front page now"? – Bergi Oct 29 '19 at 22:02
  • 1
    we have updated the layout of the bottom to hopefully make this distinction clearer – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 13:38
  • @YaakovEllis Thanks, but personally I don't see much improvement. The misleading eye icon is still there. The text doesn't specify what is visible only to 3k. If you would like to keep that sentence there, can it say that the names of people who voted are shown only to users >3k? And can you remove the eye icon? Comparing it to the deleted post banner one can really get the idea this icon means the whole post is hidden. – Dharman Nov 5 '19 at 20:01
  • 2
    I would definitely challenge the status-completed on this. It was definitely [status:changed-in-some-way] but the change doesn't really fix the problem at all. I understand now that the text means "the text in the blue box below the horizontal rule" but it still doesn't say anything like that. It took me approx a week (admittedly, very low intensity effort) to figure it out, and I don't see how this changes the required amount of effort really. – tripleee Nov 6 '19 at 7:36

No bug report, no rant, just a simple:

Thank you.

(plus suggestions how to continue from here, see further below)

Seriously, it is great to see that Stack Exchange Inc. actually did put in serious efforts to improve this core aspect of quality control. And albeit many "quality control users" complained for years about lack of support, within a few days, there is plenty of helpful, precise feedback.

So, please continue on this path! And note: even in the midst of that storm that is shaking the whole community, the community users are obviously willing to work with you.

And my direct feedback regarding the UI itself: it really looks/feels "fresh", and I hope that it won't take long to incorporate the reasonable feedback, and to roll this change permanently.

Then, to underline what you already mentioned: this goes way beyond "just the close reasons". Close reasons relate to queues, and most importantly: follow up actions. And oh boy, there is work waiting for you. So, what you seriously need to look into:

  • The overall workflow. As explained in the aforementioned link: the triage queue on SO is a nightmare. Fix that.
  • One way to get there: improved education. You could prepare an education package that includes 50 or 100 questions for people to train with. Hand selected questions, with manually written explanations for each one of them!

The one thing I ask you folks to remember: stay agile! Don't wait too long in order to release the perfect thing. Rather roll early, but be around to constantly fix bugs and improve features frequently!

  • 5
    Thanks you very much! My response – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 3 '19 at 12:31
  • 4
    @YaakovEllis Thank you very much. Your tweets are truly inspiring, I am really glad that you liked my answer here, and I really appreciate you took the time to respond like that! – GhostCat Nov 3 '19 at 18:28
  • 3
    I'm tardy, but I also wanted to say thanks for this answer @GhostCatsaysReinstateMonica. I echo the sentiments Yaakov linked. <3 – Meg Risdal Nov 6 '19 at 6:14

We used to flag "this post is not written in English on English Stack Overflow" as "unclear what you're asking."

The new verbiage doesn't really allow for that interpretation:

Needs details or clarity

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

Not sure if we want to touch this/what we should do here.

  • Maybe it would be better to always do a custom close reason for non-English posts. "Unclear what you're asking" was a bit ambiguous anyway. – wjandrea Oct 29 '19 at 15:08
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    The issue is that you can't do a custom close flag. And the last time someone did generic moderator flags, they were declined which makes sense (the community should be able to handle it without mod intervention). – yhyrcanus Oct 29 '19 at 15:23
  • You can do a custom close reason under "Off-topic" > "Other" – wjandrea Oct 29 '19 at 15:41
  • I think that's a 3k (or maybe 10k) rep thing. I can't flag for that with the 15 rep benefit. – yhyrcanus Oct 29 '19 at 15:44
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    Re "written in not-English": Did it really say that? Or was it "not written in English"? Or "written in not English"? "written in non-English"? – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Oct 29 '19 at 16:08
  • @yhyrcanus oh you're right, I'm talking about close votes, but you're talking about flags – wjandrea Oct 29 '19 at 17:00
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    Declined: we think that this can now be tagged as "needs details or clarity". Alternatively, a custom close reason can be used: "I'm voting to close this question because it is not in English". – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 18:18
  • @YaakovEllis "we think that this can now be tagged as "needs detail or clarity"". The question may be written in flawless Italian with an MCVE, research, links to related questions, and a witty pun, but it's still in Italian, not English. I'm not being snarky, but pointing out the irony given that the text described is inaccurate. – anonymous Nov 2 '19 at 8:18
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    @JonHarper "Clarity: the quality of being coherent and intelligible." I think that if it is written in the wrong language for the site, it is most definitely lacking in clarity (even if it is perfectly written in whatever language). – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 3 '19 at 8:23

When doing a closing vote for a duplicate, there was a comment added, such as "Possible duplicate of Link-To-the-Dupe".
If the question was closed for a dupe, this comment was removed.

With the new post notice system the comments are changed to : "Does this answer your question? Link-To-the-Dupe".
When the question is closed, the comment remains

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    Thanks, we just noticed that as well. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 13:42
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    Duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/a/337019/51 above as well – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Oct 29 '19 at 14:13
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    The logic for this bug was fixed within a day of when it was reported. Marking it as completed now since I finally got around to fixing up the data, and deleting those comments that should have been auto-deleted. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Dec 4 '19 at 6:43
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    Thank you @YaakovEllis – Cid Dec 4 '19 at 9:13

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Two things:

  1. "deleted from review" is awkward phrasing. "Deleted via Review" or "Deleted as a result of the Review process" or similar would be better. Hopefully with a hyperlink to the Review itself.

  2. deleted "by ." - name missing for some reason? DUPLICATE


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  • "converted to a comment review" ...? Should be "converted to a comment"?



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Note that in the 2 above original bugs, your fixes changed "post" to "answer" in the 2nd part of the question. But that change didn't happen in other notices such as the new one above. The originals also both have "post" AND "answer" in the same notice.

  • Probably meant to be "reviewed 7 years ago". I would say it's a typo. – user474678 Nov 1 '19 at 11:04
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    Both issues raised here have been fixed – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 12:33
  • @YaakovEllis great, thanks! I added a related tweak to the bottom re: "post" vs. "answer". – pkamb Nov 5 '19 at 17:21
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    All notices are now internally consistent with use of post/answer (some of the notices are reused for questions and answers - thus the usage of "post") – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 6 '19 at 8:19

I like the idea of rephrasing the close types, but I really think you should bring back the "Too-broad" closure type. It has been replaced with "Need more focus", which to me means something different than too-broad. The message in the notice says:

At the same time the message when closing he question says: enter image description here

Here are my problems with it:

  1. Why do people who vote to close see more explanation than is displayed in the notice?
  2. Why is the "How to ask" link not in the notice?
  3. Why does it say "Needs more focus" in one place and "needs to be more focused" in the other? There is slight, but significant difference in my opinion.
  4. What does it exactly mean that the question needs to be more focused? Take for example this question Please Help I need Your Experience Screenshot for <10k
    How could anyone edit it be more focused? What should I focus on when editing this? For me this is not a real question. It doesn't ask any question, it is just begging for help and free codez. If I wanted to close this question I would hesitate to use this closure type.

The text IMHO is even less welcoming than before. I would suggest we improve the blue notice along the lines of:

On-hold. This question is not about any specific problem. It must be edited before it can accept more answers.

Want to improve this question? Edit the question, so it focuses on a single problem only. See How to ask to learn more about asking good questions.

  • A small note: I think the current text should say: "It is currently not accepting answers." instead of "It is not currently accepting answers.". I believe it sounds more correct in English. – Dharman Nov 5 '19 at 20:05
  • Per the suggestion in your comment, the latter (the current wording) sounds more natural to me than the former. – V2Blast Nov 7 '19 at 6:49
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    IMO, this answer, unfortunately, includes too many different issues, rather than focusing individually on the three (or four) issues which you are addressing. It would have been better to have one answer which focused on the change to using only "closed", rather than "on hold", a separate question addressing some of your nubmered wording issues and then either an additional answer (or two) which focused on your request/proposal to switch back to using "too broad" and "unclear". Separating them into different answers would have made your issues more clear and allowed focused discussion. – Makyen Nov 8 '19 at 2:16

When a question is closed for a typographical error, the display message stating so (that it is closed due to a typographical error) is only displayed to those with close/open privileges: enter image description here

If, however, you don't have those privileges you get this message:

enter image description here

This asks the user to update the question to make it on-topic. If the question, however, is closed due to typographical reasons then it can't be made on-topic. Therefore users without the close/reopen privilege shouldn't really be asked to try to improve it; as it can't be.

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    We will be addressing this as part of the upcoming Close UX project – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 13:32

On mobile the gold badge is not displayed properly on duplicate questions closed with a hammer.

enter image description here

  • I actually sort of noticed that too, but didn't think anything of it. – Chipster Oct 29 '19 at 17:17

This doesn't sound good:

  1. What's "..."? Clicking (more) doesn't show anything. So, the question is a duplicate of what? IMO, the "of..." is useless.

  2. Should "Duplicate" start with capital?

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    Can you please leave a link to the question? – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 3 '19 at 12:08
  • @YaakovEllis it appears groups were switched and I no longer see the new UI. However, if you go to reopen review queue, you will (hopefully) reproduce that. – double-beep Nov 3 '19 at 12:57
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    Thanks, I see it now. Queued... – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 3 '19 at 13:01
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    [More] shows the options beneath. Nothing changed there. I have however added in the off topic reasons and their descriptions in a way that is hopefully a bit clearer. In this case "Duplicate of..." is the name of the off-topic category, and is appearing as intended. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 12:28

Questions closed as "off-site resource request" do not show the reason they were closed. They say only "off-topic".

  • Link to example question
  • Image of question with post notice that says only "off-topic": Question closed as a resource request showing only "off topic" as the reason
  • SE API query: To verify the close reason, look at the description in the closed_details. You actually have to look through the HTML, but that HTML renders as:
    This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
  • "Questions asking us to recommend or find a book, tool, software library, tutorial or other off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it." – Machavity, JL2210, Makyen, tripleee, Vadim Kotov
  • All of the other off-topic reasons state which reason it is in the post notice, except custom reasons. So, I'm assuming that the intent is to have this reason displayed in the post notice.
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    The API is still pulling the v1 reasons. This will be more consistent once the changes roll out network-wide – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 25 '19 at 13:17
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    @YaakovEllis The issue isn't that the SE API is still providing the V1 reasons. The issue is that the new notices don't say why the post was closed, other than just "off-topic". This is a reduction in information provided to the OP, and is inconsistent with other notices. The "off-site resource" close reason is the only current, stock, off-topic reason for which the new post notices don't say the actual off-topic reason. The SE API info is in this answer because it's the only current way for someone to determine the actual reason the question was closed, not because the SE API should change. – Makyen Nov 25 '19 at 16:19
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    @YaakovEllis - The network wide roll out did not improve the situation. Off topic (sub topic) is still simply referred to as Off topic with no reason given. – Travis J Dec 19 '19 at 22:26
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    If you have more concerns about this, please open a new question. This one is a bit dated and I would like to move the conversation elsewhere – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Dec 19 '19 at 22:40
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    I have just noticed this issue, having collaborated with SO CVR to close it, and the OP is now asking why the question was closed. The old notices would have notified of the close reason(s). – halfer Jan 24 '20 at 22:45

A gold badge holder isn't "some community members":

This could possible be:

Or even better, "A trusted community member".

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    A trusted user is a user with over 20k reputation. You do not need to be over 20k to be a gold badger (although it certainly helps). "A community member" is good enough, unless a someone can provide nice, easily understood copy to explain "a gold badger". – yivi Oct 30 '19 at 13:36
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    Fixed. The language now changes based on whether there is one closing users or more than one closing user. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 12:34

Since you will be rolling this out network wide and you've said:

We feel that in order to properly evaluate the changes to presentation, language and functionality, the changes need to be seen in the context of the site, by users who encounter them through normal site usage.

Will you be doing a similar test period for sites other than Stack Overflow? For example, the automatic comments for duplicates ("Does this answer your question? [link]") doesn't really make much sense on Code-Golf due to it not being a standard Q&A site. There's also been talk about how the phrasing of some notices would be inaccurate on other sites.

If you aren't, will sites at least be able to edit the phrasing of notices that don't make as much sense in the context of their sites?

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    We are not planning a wider test before releasing to the entire network. And we don't have definite plans at this time to allow customization of notice language on a per-site basis (though we are considering variations on this). We will take this feedback into account. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 18 '19 at 17:34
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    @YaakovEllis Since you can obviously rollout on just SO, is it possible to hold off on implementing it across all sites until you're sure that it won't have negative effects on other sites? – Jo King Nov 28 '19 at 7:57

The new version of the bounty notification doesn't provide a specific start and end date when hovering over the "vague" expiring information, like "tomorrow". The old message provided it:

Old version

But the new one only provides the ending date when hovering over the bounty amount, but not for the word "tomorrow".

New version

I guess it is a bug, that the popup now shows on hovering over the bounty value, but if that was done on purpose, then I would like to request the feature to do that on the usual spot instead. It is much more intuitive to do it there and matches the usual behaviour on SE sites (hovering dates or similar words provide a detailed timestamp).

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    Good catch. Date hover will move to the time left. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 25 '19 at 12:05
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    This is now fixed. Hover on time left and you should now see the end date of the bounty. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 25 '19 at 21:58
  • @YaakovEllis Thank you for the fix. One question though, why doesn't it also include the start time anymore? – Tom Nov 26 '19 at 20:04
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    The expanded hover tool tip that was used to show both start and end dates is not included in our design system Stacks. And as the start date is not essential information here, not going to add it back in with new popovers in Stacks. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 27 '19 at 7:41

As a power user with close/reopen privileges, I would expect to always see the details of the closure on all closed questions. However, this is not the case on my own closed questions for old (deactivated) close reasons!

I am especially concerned about not even being able to view the date of closure, like on this old question of mine. It just shows up like this:

question screenshot

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    I imagine you already know, but it was closed as "non constructive", which is not a part of the currently active close reasons. I guess this is not hidden to you because you are the question author, but because support for this legacy close-reasons has not been implemented (yet?). – yivi Oct 30 '19 at 11:04
  • @yivi Tbh I forgot about the "non constructive" close reason, thanks for reminding me! I knew the text looked unfamiliar, but I thought it was because it was the "author view". So it's good that the bug might occur only on inactive close reasons and it works as expected on contemporary closures, but imo it's a bug nonetheless. – Bergi Oct 30 '19 at 13:25
  • Of course, not disagreeing in that it's a bug. Only trying to get the precise details for the bug. It's not about who sees the post notice, but about the close reason for the post notice. – yivi Oct 30 '19 at 13:26
  • @yivi So you can confirm that the questions looks the same for you as a non-author? Good to know. – Bergi Oct 30 '19 at 13:31
  • I saw it like that yesterday... now for some reason I've been pushed to the B group, again. So I have to rely on my memory. – yivi Oct 30 '19 at 13:33
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    Yes, this is indeed caused by issues with legacy reasons not always having the data in the place that we are expecting it to be (or we weren't recording it in a reliable way). That said, I have added this to the list of things to look into – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 3 '19 at 11:13
  • @YaakovEllis Close votes were not recorded in the past? And not even the timestamp of the closure? – Bergi Nov 3 '19 at 15:05
  • They were recorded, but the ways in which some types of data was recorded has changed over time, as the tooling has changed. We always try to catch up the legacy data into the new structures when this happens. But sometimes things can be missed. In any event, it requires some attention. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 3 '19 at 15:08
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    We are now showing the close dates for all close notices, to all users. – Yaakov Ellis ModStaff Nov 5 '19 at 13:13

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