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I personally think the "possible duplicate of" comments are a bit too terse, and would like to use a longer comment (see an example here, after a WPSE meta discussion).

I believe there was a time when the auto-generated comment was needed later on, when the question reaches five close votes and the actual redirection takes place. If the comment was removed or changed this could break. Is this still the case?

If not, I could safely change the auto-generated comment and use my longer comment instead. This is not a suggestion to replace the auto-generated comment with a longer text, just an informative question to know whether it is safe to remove or change it.

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    I can confirm the answers you've gotten so far. I frequently edit the auto-inserted comments. Nothing breaks, and they get successfully deleted after the question is closed. Commented May 18, 2011 at 7:35

3 Answers 3

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The "possible duplicate" comments are posted as you, thus are subject to the same rules - you can edit them within 5 minutes of posting.

No, editing them won't break anything; someone from the team might clarify, but I think the "possible duplicate" links are not linked to the comments, and are not parsed from the comments, but rather from wherever you enter them when marking the question as duplicate. Note that we had "mark as duplicate of [_____________]" before this action also started adding comments; also also, the auto-comments "possible duplicate of X" started out as non-editable, then the functionality changed to editable some weeks later.

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  • I know I can edit them, but I don't know whether this will break anything. I believe I read somewhere that the system read the first comment that started with possible duplicate of and used that to generate the duplicate link. If I change the text that would no longer work.
    – Jan Fabry
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 7:30
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    @Jan Fabry: Never happened to me, I usually edit "my" comments on duplicates. Moreover, the closing mechanism already had the "add duplicate link" before it learned to comment :) Commented May 18, 2011 at 7:34
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I do this frequently, and it has always worked fine. The comment gets auto-deleted nevertheless once the question gets closed.

I think it's safe to assume that if changing it would break something, they would not have left the ability to edit it in place.

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  • Concerning "The comment gets auto-deleted nevertheless once the question gets closed": This contradicts a comment on this answer, where Jeff says "I just made it so the comments are not deleted if they have a non-null EditCount (that is, the little pencil icon)". (Maybe that comment is outdated?) Commented May 18, 2011 at 12:42
  • @Hendrik I'm fairly sure the actual behaviour is different now; I'll pay attention next time it happens.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 12:45
  • Did you find out in the meantime? Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 11:12
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If the possible duplicate of comment is created by you then you can just edit it, provided that you do so within the 5 minute window.

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  • I know I can edit them, but I don't know whether this will break anything. I believe I read somewhere that the system read the first comment that started with possible duplicate of and used that to generate the duplicate link. If I change the text that would no longer work.
    – Jan Fabry
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 7:29

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