We have stopped showing to users who voted to close a question*, and yet for duplicates, we still advertise it with a (now brand new and even longer!) autocomment. We should start attributing these comments to the Community user instead. It is already used to post review comments depending on the situation, so this wouldn't be that big of a change. This would also help low-rep users for whom comments are automatically generated on flagging, but they lack the privilege to edit them.

If the poster isn't permitted to start arguing with a random user about a vote to close as unclear or too broad or any of the site specific reasons, then why do we grant them this ability for duplicates via this autocomment? Being able to possibly, maybe, perhaps convince a single user retract their vote is definitely not that important, if the same doesn't apply for other votes. That this "ability" evolved as a side effect of the workaround used for a deficiency in the system doesn't in anyway make it an actual necessity, or even the defining reason why it existed in the first place. It definitely doesn't justify keeping this "ability" around just for duplicates. If anything, duplicates are the most helpful of the close reasons and this misfeature makes it the one most likely to cause headaches for the close voter trying to help.

* I know they can still find out who reviewed their post.

  • The only way it becomes public, is when the question gets actually closed. Until then, in the flag/vote was cast directly and not via review, there's no way to know that a specific user voted or flagged to close a specfic question. The auto comment is unique and annoying exception. Commented Jun 28 at 16:30
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    This would create more work for me. The main site I participate on is here, and per policy, questions can be closed as duplicates of more general questions such as faq posts and other canonical posts. I generally go an extra mile and edit the automatic comment to point out or quote the exact part of the target post that answers a question, and if the comment is posted by the Community user, it would not be editable by the voter or flagger, and in my case I'd have to post another comment to not only do the above, but also clarify the automatic text. Commented Jun 28 at 17:24
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    This question is similar to: Is a new comment format for duplicate votes being tested?. If you believe it’s different, please edit the question, make it clear how it’s different and/or how the answers on that question are not helpful for your problem. Commented Jun 28 at 18:34
  • @KarlKnechtel see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/401000/… as to why this was posted again
    – muru
    Commented Jun 29 at 1:48
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog out of curiosity, do you know if it's possible to find out what fraction of such autocomments are edited at all?
    – muru
    Commented Jun 29 at 2:00
  • I get that, but I think it would have been better to list the separate proposals as answers on that question, rather than as separate question posts. Commented Jun 29 at 3:35
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    @KarlKnechtel I disagree. this is a proper usage of the meta framework. if that "parent"/originating question was tagged discussion... maybe, but it's not. it's just a support question.
    – starball
    Commented Jun 29 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


A user applies their judgement to cast a duplicate-question close vote. As far as I know, other than the automatic comment posted under the close-voter's account, until the post closes, there is no other indication of which user first applied their judgement to cast that first duplicate-question close vote. If I disagree with that judgement, the auto-comment left by them provides me a mechanism to @notify them in a comment explaining why I disagree- especially in the case that I don't think the question needs further clarifying (yes, there are cases when this happens). Being able to ping that user means they get a chance to see a different application of judgement, which may lead them to retract their close vote.

Canned comments in many review queues are left under the name/account of the reviewer, providing the same benefit. Editors are pingable in comments. See also How do comment @replies work?.

Also, having a duplicate-question comment posted under myself when I cast the first duplicate-question close vote allows me to edit the comment.

  • Whatever you say is true for all other close votes, why are duplicates particularly special? Just because when they started this autocomment business because they had no better options, you got this side benefit ?
    – muru
    Commented Jun 29 at 7:42
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    The more I consider this, the less this angle makes sense. The original close voter is just one person, you have to make your case for everybody else who reviews the post, so any such comment should be generally addressed and not targeting a specific user, which just encourages piling on that user.
    – muru
    Commented Jun 29 at 7:46
  • as I said, duplicates are not particularly special. take a look at canned comments in LQA, for example. yes, I know some canned comments in other queues and by other mechanisms are left by the community user, but duplicates are not unique.
    – starball
    Commented Jun 29 at 7:53
  • Sorry, I must be missing something - nowhere in the answer do you say duplicates are not unique or special - you do write an entire paragraph singling out duplicate votes and then have a closing line comparing them to other review queues. Again: why are they particularly special when it comes to close votes in particular? As far as I know the only other close vote that leaves a comment is the on where the user writes out a reason themselves. At least that is understandable because the user is saying something specific that won't otherwise be made apparent to the poster.
    – muru
    Commented Jun 29 at 7:59
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    @muru Because the "possibly duplicate of x" comment informs the OP they might find an answer in the linked question, and allows them to edit their post to differentiate it from the proposed duplicate. Having a unique username, the OP can address them to react to how a proposed dupe is not actually a dupe, what details are missing, or whether an edit they made solves the problem, in which case that initial close-voter can retract their vote.
    – Joachim
    Commented Jun 29 at 11:11
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    @Joachim as I said earlier, but why only duplicates and not the other close reasons? If the poster isn't permitted to start arguing with a random user about a vote to close as unclear or too broad or any of the site specific reasons, then why duplicates? Having a single user retract their vote is definitely not that important, if that doesn't apply for other votes. Just because this "ability" evolved out of an accidental deficiency in the system - and the workaround they used then - doesn't in anyway make it an actual necessity, or even the defining reason why it existed in the first place.
    – muru
    Commented Jun 29 at 11:28

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