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For many years now, anonymous users who access a link to a question with no answers that's closed as a duplicate have been redirected to the duplicate target (so long as there's only one target). Currently, there's no indication that a user's being redirected.

However, this can leave a user confused as to why they were directed to a question that's different from the one they thought they were trying to access. The most common case I can think of is if someone's Google searching and finds a Stack Exchange question that's directly related to the thing they're looking for, only to be linked to a question that doesn't contain any of the content that the Google preview showed it as containing. I've been confused by this several times when using private browsing as well as in my main session when going to a site on which I don't have a profile.

Also, if an unanswered duplicate's target is deleted (while this is restricted for users and mods, it is not restricted for the Roomba), users will be redirected to a 404 page when following a link to a clearly non-deleted question, which can cause confusion.

When an anonymous user follows a link to an unanswered duplicate question and gets redirected to the target, can a toast notification indicating the redirect please be shown? Example:

You have been redirected from [Title of previous question](question link with
?noredirect=1 to stop redirect
), a duplicate of this question with no answers.

1
  • I agree with the general sentiment of "inform users they've been redirected". I just don't want to limit this to just toasts. Maybe there could be a banner. Or a friendly leprechaun materialising from the monitor and telling you that. I'd rather leave the implementation details to the devs. – VLAZ Jun 11 at 6:36
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This is a great idea! I know that I personally run into annoying redirects every so often. It would be nice to have a clear notification which links back to the question I was redirected from.

However, I would quibble with the wording. In the current draft-form, I see an easy misunderstanding with how to parse the sentence. I believe the intent is:

You have been redirected from [Title of previous question](question link with ?noredirect=1 to stop redirect), {a duplicate of this question} with no answers.

Especially for an anonymous visitor who won’t be familiar with our terminology, it might not be obvious that “a duplicate of this question” is a single grammatical unit. They may instead misread the sentence as:

You have been redirected from [Title of previous question](question link with ?noredirect=1 to stop redirect), a duplicate of {this question with no answers}.

The question they’re being redirected to hopefully has answers - that’s why they were redirected in the first place. Therefore applying “with no answers” to “this question” (the most obvious thing to do, given that they’re next to each other) would lead to confusion.

I propose a slightly altered wording:

You have been redirected from [Title of previous question](question link with ?noredirect=1 to stop redirect), a duplicate (which has no answers) of this question.

Or,

You have been redirected from [Title of previous question](question link with ?noredirect=1 to stop redirect), an unanswered duplicate of this question.

I think this would make it more immediately clear which question has no answers. It may also be worth making “duplicate” link to /help/duplicates

Of course, this may not matter for a little toast notification which most will dismiss without reading. Please tell me if I’m using the answer section on meta in an appropriate way - this was a bit too long for a comment.

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  • 2
    I like your second version. The meaning is perfectly clear there. – 41686d6564 Jun 11 at 0:37
  • Here on Meta, it's perfectly acceptable to use answers the way you did. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jun 11 at 1:10

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