Sometimes questions get marked as a possible duplicate and they get closed before the OP has a chance to explain how their question is different from others that seem to be similar. Currently when the first user issues a Vote to Close as Duplicate, a comment like this is auto-generated:

Does this answer your question? What is a generic question?

At this stage it is not immediately obvious that any kind of moderative action is being taken on their question. New users may not be aware that their question will be closed if not corrected based on votes by community members, nor that they have an opportunity at this point to intervene and prevent this.

I would suggest enhancing this auto-generated comment to be something like the following blurb would be a more user-friendly way to inform new users of how the site functions, and give them opportunity to intervene sooner:

This question has been marked as a possible duplicate. Please show how your question differs from those already asked or it could be closed based on votes by the community. Does this answer your question? (link to similar question)

What is the procedure for evaluating and instituting such a change?

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    They can fix the question once it is closed. Nothing changes for the user asking the question; they're still told to edit and add more information after it is closed, if they disagree with it being a duplicate.
    – Nij
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 5:02
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    @Nij Thanks for that warm welcome, Lol! I think it would be a more welcoming experience for a new user to be given the opportunity to keep their question open by making some adjustments rather than go through the hassle of getting the votes to reopen. Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 5:34
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    It's unlikely new users would know what closed actually means. They only need to edit it if they haven't got useful answers but your text doesn't say that it suggests that whatever happens they need to edit it to avoid some outcome that's implied to be bad. Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 6:11
  • Thanks for the response @RobertLongson. I have heard from users who said they felt unwelcomed and discouraged when their first attempt to ask a question was closed without warning. Sure, they have a lot to learn about the site, but to at least give them a heads up seems a little more friendly. I think it would be an improvement but some might disagree. The other part of the question is by what process those auto-generated messages can be altered. Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 6:22
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    They do get a heads up. They get a comment that says Does this answer your question? <link> and then they get the option to say yes in which case the question is closed or no in which case they are encouraged to edit it. Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 6:23
  • Thanks for the helpful info @RobertLongson. I wasn't suggesting that they take out the link, just provide a little more guidance for new users who can feel a little lost at first. Maybe I'll edit the question to make that more clear. We'll see where it goes. Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 6:34
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    @MartinHemsley - The exact nature of your request wasn't totally clear, so I've proposed an Edit to help you out with this. Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


It's not currently configurable

On discussion with @JNat who is currently assigned as a community moderator for our site election, he does not believe that the auto-generated Comment from a VTC as Duplicate is configurable per-site, so either this would need to be changed globally for SE or would have to be added as a site-configurable feature.


In my opinion this would be hugely beneficial for the new-user experience for every SE site, as it can be very off-putting for somebody with a question to find their question 'Closed', and because the decision was made without any clear notice, it can make this initial impression unnecessarily blunt, even hostile.

Alternatively if this were not possible and could otherwise be configurable per-community we would love to have this feature over on Hermeneutics.SE to improve the new user experience.

  • Thanks, Steve, for going to bat on this. I think it is a great idea that moderators have the ability to configure those messages so they can be tailored to each individual site in a timely manner. The current process seems a little cumbersome. First answer messages could be more welcoming as well. Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 2:33

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