When a user casts the first "close as duplicate" vote on a question, an automatic comment saying "Does this answer your question? [duplicate-link]" is posted with the name of the close-voting user next to it.

The first time this happened to me, I was frankly surprised. Silently adding my signature to a text I did not write makes me feel that I am being misrepresented. I would have liked to know this before casting the close vote (I would have cast it anyway).

This question is not to discuss whether there should be an automatic comment (this has been discussed already), and it is also not to discuss the wording of this comment (also already discussed here).

I would just like to request that first-time close voters are made aware of the fact that their close-as-duplicate vote will trigger an automatic comment with their signature, and that the automatic comment will say "Does this answer your question? [duplicate-link]". This way, the close-voter will not feel misrepresented.

Probably the best/easiest way to do this is to just add this information to the privilege page for "cast close and reopen votes". It could also optionally be added as a popup when a user actually votes to close, but the privilege page should be enough.

  • 2
    Or just do away with the auto-comment entirely.
    – Richard
    Jan 5, 2020 at 10:39
  • 3
    Does this answer your question? Duplicate. Refer to "New Post Notices rollout on Stack Overflow": "Please post all new feedback, bugs and feature requests to the new announcement post.".
    – Rob
    Jan 5, 2020 at 10:50
  • 9
    @Rob This issue is tangential to the new post notices rollout. The behaviour has always been like this, only the text was adjusted. Jan 5, 2020 at 11:03
  • 2
    @Rob I do not think this has to do with the new post notices (those blue textboxes on top of closed questions). My question is about automatic comments...
    – wimi
    Jan 5, 2020 at 11:12
  • I can only refer you to what the CM wrote, what you do with the information presented is your responsibility.
    – Rob
    Jan 5, 2020 at 11:15
  • 13
    @Rob - not a duplicate. That feedback post is about the post notices and changes made to the system; this is a request about something that's been part of the system for years.
    – Mithical
    Jan 5, 2020 at 11:21
  • 1
    @wimi I am wondering why you are/were so surprised about that fact. Gaining einough rep to earn the flag/close voting privilege you should have seen such comments on question already, and it should be clear. Also I don't see what harm for the voter should be introduced there. Jan 5, 2020 at 12:31
  • 2
    @πάνταῥεῖ the harm is personal attacks, same way user attack moderators. That's the reason moderator private messages became anonymous. While it usually ends with snarky comments and serial downvoting, it can also escalate and overflow outside Stack Exchange when the user who voted to close has contact info in their profile, or using a unique enough name. It's a real issue. Jan 5, 2020 at 13:13
  • @Sha I am well aware of that. Though personal attacks can be handled by flagging such, or in case of serial DV's by the engine. The fact that the close voters nick appears with the auto generated comment, shouldn't make them afraid to post it. Jan 5, 2020 at 13:16
  • 1
    @πάνταῥεῖ first they have to know about it, that's the main thing here. Then they can decide what to do with it. Jan 5, 2020 at 13:20
  • 1
    @πάνταῥεῖ actually, I had often seen the previous wording "Possible duplicate of ..." but I did not know it was automatic. That wording is simple enough that it could have been written by users on purpose, even many times. I earned the close-vote privilege on a Beta site, which only requires 500 rep, at the same time the wording was changed. It is an unfortunate coincidence, but I still think that such things should be made clear from the beginning, instead of having users guessing.
    – wimi
    Jan 5, 2020 at 14:09
  • 2
    @πάνταῥεῖ I am also not "afraid" of posting as you say, and I still cast close votes even knowing that they will generate the comment. I just want users to know it if a message is going to be signed with their name. I do not think that is an unreasonable request.
    – wimi
    Jan 5, 2020 at 14:10
  • ShadowTheBurningWizard OP wimi clearly said that the question above isn't about if we should have auto comments, nor what they should say. Instead it suggests that the "best" way to make first time reviewers aware is to put it in the Privilege page (where you know they'll be certain to see it). Indeed, both wimi and @Mithical have indicated how best to do things. They responded to the automatic comment, instead of using the Contact Link; their only resort.
    – Rob
    Jan 5, 2020 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


I don’t think putting it in the Help Center is enough: I have been bitten by this misfeature many times even as an experienced user. A clear warning that such a comment is about to be posted should be made part of the vote to close workflow itself.

Another thing to consider is that since the comment is generated by the system rather than written by the user, it should not bear the name of the user; it could be signed by the Community user instead, for example. Alternatively, give the user an opportunity to edit the comment before it is posted.

  • 3
    You can edit it after it is posted, just like a regular comment.
    – Luuklag
    Jan 5, 2020 at 12:47
  • 1
    @Luuklag For that, I’d first need to be aware that such a comment was posted. I often find it out hours later by accident, at which point all I can do is to delete it. Jan 5, 2020 at 12:51
  • 7
    @Luuklag due to a long time bug, the auto comment is not displayed until a full reload is performed. Most people won't reload the page, just move on and switch page, never noticing there is a new comment posted on their behalf. Jan 5, 2020 at 13:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .